Pasta in Nasta

Sunita Giri 10:22 PM |

I may know the name of the dish now as Pasta, but then we used to call this noodles. Noodles was not on our regular menu of daytime snacks, but living in Bal Mandir while growing up meant that we do have occasional change of menu on our weekly snacks, just like that. I really don't know, not even today where it came from. Its is not easy for me to guess from which country this must have entered in the Bal Mandir. I know that it was not Maggi or Wai Wai. Besides, even if I have read that package by now I would have forgotten.  seeing the bad memory power and my past experience tells me that, there are things which I have done about 1000 times when I was in Bal Mandir, yet when I really have to try to remember I can't retrieve it from my memory bank. It may sound strange to you, but at the same time its true also.

However, something tells me that it must have been from either Japan or from Korea, may be I remember some hard to read language that is associated with Japanese or Korean language or the taste of the spices. But then again, this is just my wild guess as there are always good hearted people, who kept donating foods and goods whenever and wherever they can.

Because there is no such thing as industrial packaging when it comes to noodles and pasta, and its normally packed for individual consumption rather than for group consumption. So, when Bal Mandir got the donation of pasta along with came its ready made masala also, it created confusion in the makers who never had it in their life or made it before.

It was early ‘80 Nepal and before that we never had this snacks.  Here people always made things that was our traditional snacks. All they needed to do it, to make it in bulk. Unlike other snacks, which we used to consume on regular basis, this food needed maids or anyone to read instructions from the package which was not usual.

One thing for sure, it can be understood that, the one who used to make food could not read what was written in those packages but then the one who could read was not the one who was making it. Its was the responsibility of housemothers to know it and then instruct it to those all illiterate maids who used to prepare us daytime snacks also. Just to be sure housemother[s] have tried it separately as per the instruction mentioned on the package and then tasted it also. They liked the food if cooked for small portion but when it was made in bulk it lost all its taste.

In Bal Mandir people are used to of making foods for 200 people straight away at a time. So, when the many cartoons of noodles with individual packets needed to be prepared as a daytime snacks, then it sure was not easy for any of the woman who used to make our daytime snacks. May be it was easy to headcount and then add the package accordingly but then when it came to adding water with that of said in the package it created more confusion and the ready made product just surprised the maker as well as, we young eaters. There was also no idea of adding exact amount of salt, therefore some times it used to be over seasoning and sometimes it used to be less seasoning. One week we used to eat almost full cup, then in another week the other didi used to serve us almost half cup. That just teased our hunger pangs only. Its not easy which didi [room maids] managed to learn it fast and serve it better than the other.

One of the reason which teased our hunger pang is that it was totally new food and we liked it regardless of half cup or full cup, or less salt or more salt. We may have had this for more than a month on weekly basis but then first it was spoiled taste on trial and error basis and then once when we really started liking it really, the food finished one day before they really mastered how to make it correctly.

I am sure this was not a noodle because it was small in size and had a hole on it. Tasty spices used to go inside the small hole making this dish tasty and delicious but then may be they say this food pasta in Italy. But when I was in Bal Mandir we used to say it noodles and ate it, presuming it was noodles.

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