There are some brands that stay with us for decades. The main reason is that they have retained their quality over the years. And the other is the unquestioned stamp of approval given to them by our mother and other elder women who used them. Let me share a few of my favourites with you.
When I was about six, I had fallen seriously ill and the only food I was allowed was a diluted version of Horlicks. Had it been today, I might have been hooked up to IV fluids in a hospital ward, but thankfully I was at home, surrounded by my loving family, who kept me cheerful under the circumstances. The amazing beverage did duty as food + IV fluid for nearly two months! Is it any wonder then that it is my first choice as a supplement during convalescence even today?
Some brands have become generic names over the years — like Dalda. Thanks to its popularity as a ghee substitute, any hydrogenated fat that came into the market after it got labelled as Dalda. Hydrogenated fats might have been banished by nutritionists today, but for so many of my mother’s generation, Dalda had been a boon.
Time was when pickles were made with fresh homemade masalas by mother. But one day she found Bedekar’s readymade pickle masala and pickle making was never the same again. Years passed, brands came, some stayed on, some vanished, but Bedekar has endured. It brings back fond memories every time I eat it. The other day when I wanted to make some amla pickle, guess which brand I turned to?
How can I forget the delicious Milkmaid? The packing has only changed slightly and the taste
not a bit, over the half century and more that I have eaten it. We used it like a spread on our chapatis and of course ate spoonsful of it just like that too! Mother used it for tea when there was no milk, which I thought was a sheer waste of such a yummy thing! I don’t remember her using it for making sweets at all, except adding it to kheer occasionally.
And then there was the Brown and Polson custard powder. It is now available in single flavour packs, but we got a six-flavour pack back then. There were small paper sachets of different flavours. We got to know the flavour and taste of raspberry and strawberry only through Brown and Polson custard! Mother used them for making ice cream during summers. (But that story will have to wait for later). It is still my preferred brand.
Have you heard of Ravalgaon Sweets? No? Okay, do Pan Pasand, Coffee Bite, Mango Mood…ring a bell? The candies and toffees of this company were what made out schooldays sweet, though there were no fancy names for them back then. Later on, Nutrine came on the scene, but when I think of toffee I remember the large tins with the Ravalgaon stickers that mother used to store grains and atta in.
There are other brands too which I am loyal even today. Pears soap remains my best bet for gentle cleansing, despite the availability of hundreds of brands flaunting their glycerin content. Likewise when it comes to a headache pill, it is Anacin or Saridon and not one of those new pills. For sniffles it is always the gentle Vicks Vaporub. There are many more brands, but this column would turn into a book if I started listing them all! I am sure you must all have your favourite brands too. How about sharing them with me?
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
The author is your regular neighborhood granny. Loves cooking, feeding her friends and family, telling tales and reading children’s books among others — on her Kindle. She is comfortable with people her age, older than her and of course all youngsters right down to infants. And oh, she is in tune with the times too. She has seen the telegram transform into Twitter and telephone into WhatsApp. You could call her Gadget Granny Seeta, if you like. She loves saying that the tip of her tongue is in the fingers on her keyboard!