It was late evening and we felt like eating something light, healthy and nutritious. So we chose Pizza Hut in Adyar. And guess what, they were having a World Food Festival. I was seriously looking forward to Lebanese, Russian, Italian and American fare. I love Pizzas and I love Geography. Things just couldn’t have been better.
That was till I saw their “World” Menu.
So if you are a multi-billion dollar food giant and wanted to conduct a “World Food Festival”, how would you do it?
Hire chefs from around the world and create a truly eclectic pizza menu to satiate diverse tastes? NO
Train existing chefs in diverse cuisines and create a truly eclectic pizza menu to satiate diverse tastes? NO
Reword the menu by the intelligent use of ethnic sounding words which incidentally happen to be ingredients in the existing pizzas anyway, to create an illusion of global cuisine diversity, thus exploiting the public’s curiosity while not spending anything more than the cost of printing a new glossy menu? BINGO
Don’t believe me? Here is proof.
Original Menu (indicative sample)
World Food Festival Menu (heavy Jilpa filters applied)
Veggie Exotica from Mexico (Why? The cunning use of Jalapenos provides a Mexican passport, visa and citizenship to this pizza. The rest of the ingredients – the same. You know what’s interesting? The original Exotica had jalapenos in the first place. The world food festival version simply decided to use that as an excuse to call it Mexican.)
Lebanese Chicken Pizza (The chicken in the original pizza has been conferred the honorary title of “Lebanese” through the intelligent use of Garam Masala. None of the other ingredients have changed)
Pepperoni Pizza from USA (He he. Pizza hut already had an American dish on their menu. They didn’t have to do anything new. They just put the “USA” stamp next to it)
Pasta Stroganoff (How does one make a quintessentially Italian dish Russian? By sending it to the Gulag?No. By Putin in to it, a glass of vodka?No. By the subtle addition of a sauce named after a Russian nobleman? Yes)
You know what? If Pizza hut can conduct a “World Food Festival”, so can Murugan Idli Store. Here is how they should, taking a leaf (and a branch, actually, the whole tree might be useful) out of the Pizza hut book.
Mediterranean Idli – uses olive oil in the idli podi (a.k.a Gunpowder in North India)
McVada – shove Medu vada in between 2 slices of bun smeared with chutney.
Simon and Garfpongal – Pongal seasoned with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. It once was a true love of mine
Oothapizza – regular oothappam, but get dhoti wearing waiter to come to each table with a humongous piece of Parmesan cheese and a grater and ask customers “Would you like some Parmesan with your oothapizza?”