Friday, August 6, 2010

“Amma, shall I throw out this dish that has been lying in the fridge for the past 3 days” asked the daughter.
“No dear, don’t” replied the mother.
“Why ma?” continued the daughter. It has been lying in the fridge for past 3 days. None of us want to eat it. That apart it seems to smell a little stale.”
“That is ok. We can give it to the watchman or the maidservant tomorrow. Food is so expensive nowadays we just cannot afford to throw it away. It is a sin.” said the mother.
“But Ma, the watchman has his dinner by 8 pm. Now it is already past 9.30. Even if you give it to him, he will only use it tomorrow. And the maidservant is expected only in the late hours of the morning. By then this dish would be spoilt completely. How can they eat it?”Asked the daughter?
“There is nothing wrong in that. They are a little poor. They would never mind if the food is a little stale or old. They would gladly accept whatever we give them, needy that they are” replied the mother.
Very familiar situation and happens in most houses.

As I opened the kitchen shelves to clean, I noticed a jam bottle lying behind. Oh god I thought, not remembering about the jam available I had bought new bottles. I noticed the date. Thank god it had not expired. I took out the bottle and decided I would give it to the apartment maid. And then it just struck me, I am giving away this bottle mainly because I hesitate to use it as it is slightly older than the one I had bought recently. I just did not feel it right. Keeping the bottle in the fridge, I took out the newer one. And taking some fruits I called the maid and handed it over to her. It sure does not matter for them, how old the stock is. All that they see is an item that they find very expensive to buy has been given to them for free. And they take it happily. Manufacturing date and expiry date is something that they never bother about. But educated and literates that we are, sure know about what to use and what not to. How could we do otherwise?
My mother’s way of doing things in this regard is so different from others. The food that we have (hot and fresh) is what is offered to the maid. There were many times that my mother came to my home in the mornings and left in the evenings. These days, before leaving for my home she used to cook rice just for the maid servant.
I am not saying we should not give leftovers to others. But at least we could check and ensure that what we give is edible and not spoilt, right?


Destiny's child... said...

I completely agree with you on this one. We wouldn't want anyone to give us old, stale stuff, so we shouldn't even think about doing it to others. They might not care about the expiry date, but we must.
Do unto others what you want others do unto you.

KParthasarathi said...

No cooked food shd be stored beyond 24 hours in the fridge and it is always a laudable policy to give them to the needy.Many keep them for days together only throw in garbage paricularly in festival times when sweets are received in plenty.A generous mind like author's mom is what is needed

arvind said...

your mother
the other soul
that much..

they lived
their life
as a
sign post..
which we
time to read..

for reminding
her's soft soul..

Samvedna said...

I have also felt the same whenevr I see people giving theses things....even my MIl never wants to give any good thing, only stale ones, but I never let it be done, myself and my sis both give the better things to our maids thinking that we may partake everything many times, but they hardly get the chance..thats the reason all my maids have always loved me so much.

surjit said...

All I can say is that every human is equal and treated accordingly.....
A nice post.

deeps said...

Ohhh I think such happenings are part of kitchen activity … not generalizing but my limited experience tells me, mothers somehow have this uncanny knack of preserving food items beyond the permitted time limit …and the result? That will end up in the tub of birds or dogs or cats obviously because it s no more edible for human beings….

Saras said...

Our elders have always believed in nobility. All their acts are selfless, noble and educative. My mother always used to first feed the maid help prior to making her do the dishes saying that she needs to feel happy doing the job. Thanks for sharing this.

Ellen said...

The principle is 'one shouldn't give what one would not use for himself'. Regardless of who the intended receiver is the idea is to help in the truest and genuine sense of the word. Further, if for instance the tables were turned and suddenly one is at the receiving end of such same generosity, do you think receiving the spoils of another would be a joyous occasion? Giving is not giving if it will or may cause harm or illness or discomfort to its recipient. It destroys the original noble intent and value of helping, don't you think so?

You have nudged a thought or two from your readers. Your piece makes one think. Blessings to you and your family.

Dr.Antony said...

You reminded me of many things at home.We have a very large refrigerator,which is overstocked all the time.Newer containers are brought and kept in front of others already sleeping there for days.I do the clean up once in a while,when I remove lots of outdated food.many things are left forgotten.
The contents of our fridge show how we care about eating.
In my younger days,we didn't have a fridge.My Amma used to cook just enough for the day,and never had food to throw around.Our maid used to eat first,because she had to leave earlier.
Times have changed,and so have,attitudes.

sm said...

very well narrated.
like your points they happen in each home.
i agree with you
regarding sin also Indians are ignorant,
when Dan is given to any one and regarding food dan it is said that before we start to eat the first food should be given to beggar for blessings.

A New Beginning said...

Hey Lakshmi, I dont know how I missed your posts, have not been regular lately :) but youre right with what youve pointed out here, it happens in every home and we do not realise that if poor people fall ill with the slate food or expired bottles of eatables that we give them, they wont even have enough money for treatment...wont then the sin fall on us!!!!