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Baker's Dozen

Bought a packet of popcorn from the cafeteria and brought it home after work. Santosh was missing and since I felt unusually famished, I helped myself to all of it with only a passing sense of guilt. Eating is hardly enough to keep me occupied and I consequently helped myself to reading what was on the cover. It went like this:

Freshly made
Just for you !!

Manufactured By
4th Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore-560011
Unit Price : Rs. 10-00
Ingredients: Corn, Veg.Oil
Chilli Powder, Salt.

Spelling mistakes are common in India, even Pune University proudly flaunted a signboard with a rather glaring spelling error for years. In fact, it was still there the last time I saw it! Anyway, I'll forgive the bakery for inventing a new spelling. However, what's not so pardonable is the fact that the net weight (which is compulsory according to Indian law) is not mentioned anywhere. Yet another proof that we treat our laws like cheap whores.

I couldn't help thinking of a law in medieval England that has brought a phrase (Baker's Dozen) into common parlance. Since the world knows better, I'll quote Wikipedia instead of offering my own explanation:
The oldest known source and most probable origin for the expression "bakers dozen" dates to the 13th century in one of the earliest English statutes, instituted during the reign of Henry III (r. 1216-1272), called the Assize of Bread and Ale. Bakers who were found to have short-changed customers could be liable to severe punishment. To guard against the crude punishment of losing a hand to an axe, a baker would give 13 for the price of 12, to be certain of not being known as a cheat. Specifically, the practice of baking 13 items for an intended dozen was to prevent "short measure", on the basis that one of the 13 could be lost, eaten, burnt or ruined in some way, leaving the baker with the original dozen.

So what would Henry III have done with Mayura Bakery? Far from offering more than is stated, it doesn't even mention the amount in the first place!! I guess we would merit ad hoc rules to deal with our unparalleled dishonesty.

Addendum: Mayura Bakery has the ingenuity to use NBC's peacock logo as its own, only it's completely pink!


Anonymous said…
Haha I used to get such a kick out of reading food labels in India! Not only are spelling errors and weight omissions common, but some just had the most bizarre statements. I remember one Imli label in particular. "Ingredients: tamarind, sugar, spices, etc." What the heck is "etc."???? Is it even legal to say that?
Deepanjan said…
etc is de facto in India! We use it extensively to hide our dark secrets!

Food labels are a favorite with me too since they are a great source of free entertainment!!
Anonymous said…
Etc means--
Snips, Snails & Puppy Dog Tails.

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