Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gotta Get the Dood.

What seems like the simplest of tasks can actually be a bit more complicated in India. Drinking milk is a great example. Because there isn't a guaranteed 24 hour power supply in most places here, the concept of buying fresh, refrigerated milk in the grocery store doesn't really exist. But, as with all things here, there are always unique alternatives.

The most expensive option is to buy milk in a box. Essentially "irradiated" milk, it comes in whole or skim varieties and the brands range from Nestle to our local Amul. I have to say though, that because it can sit on the shelf at room temperature (read as anywhere from 50 degrees to 120 degrees Fahrenheit) the taste is less than spectacular. When chilled though, Audrey and Evan seem to like it despite the altered taste.
The second option (and least expensive ) is having a guy deliver your milk at your doorstep each morning. This stuff is straight from the cow. It's still warm and carried in a classic aluminum milk jug. He ladles it out from the jug and into your container of choice. Probably costs about 20 cents for a quart (litre) of milk. Because we aren't sure where this milk actually comes from and how its collected we haven't tried it out.
Here at ATS, the best option for buying milk has materialized in the form or Mr. Tyagi. Or "Tyagi-ji, the "Doodha-Walla." "Dood" is the Hindi word for milk. As I've noted before, the word "walla" means, "seller of." In this case, Tyagi-ji is a seller of milk.
He is set up in our complex every morning at about 6am with milk crates filled with varieties of fresh, homogenized milk. The milk is cold and has been sealed in 500ml plastic bags. Skim Milk, toned milk, double toned milk and milk with vitamins A and D added are all available. The word "tone" has to do with the fat content of the milk.
Each bag costs 13 to 15 rupees (about 30 cents) depending on the kind you want. Although it is supposedly processed for safety, everyone here boils their milk and serves it hot. Even breakfast cereals, many of which are the same as what we get back in the US, exclaim: "Goes great with hot milk!" We chill the remains of the boiled milk in our refrigerator so the kids can have a little cold milk the following morning.
It's a lot to go through for a glass of milk, but Lesa will be the first to tell you that freshly brewed coffee with fresh, boiled milk delivers the best morning cuppa- joe you'll ever have.
My only only complaint about this whole "Dood-thing" is the boiling of the milk. It's normally my job to do it each morning and I tend to get sidetracked... Boiled-over milk is a mess to clean up.

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