Learning From A Label

When I was a kid, I used to religiously read the backs of cereal boxes while spooning down my breakfast. The Wheaties and Frosted Flakes boxes usually had some pretty interesting information on the back, and besides–what was I supposed to do instead? Engage in meaningful conversations with members of my family?

I fell out of the habit of reading product labels and boxes, but lately I’ve tried to reengage with that practice, in hopes of broadening my base of walking-around knowledge. You never know what you might learn.

Consider, for example, this jar of 24 Mantra “organic curry powder,” with its description on the side of the jar of the “24 Mantra Advantage.” It raises some interesting points, and questions, too. For example, is it even possible for curry powder to be inorganic? After all, curry powder is made from a variety of ground up leaves, roots, and chilis. Isn’t everything that comes from a plant organic? Has someone created chemically based, laboratory-created curry powder and tried to foist it on an unsuspecting public? It makes you wonder.

The “24 Mantra Advantage” is one of those vague statements of purpose you see on some product labels these days. I’m not sure why this is so, but it’s interesting to see what companies decide to feature. The 24 Mantra Advantage statement says: “In our Mantra we have integrated the ancient wisdom ‘Tvam Bhumir Apo Analo Anilo Nabha‘ (You alone are Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether).” The “fire” part is encouraging if, like me, you like your curry at the high end of the spice scale, but I’m not sure that ether, for example, has much relevance to good curry. The label goes on to say that the company works with a lot of farmers, and states that one aspect of the “24 Mantra Advantage” is that you can “enjoy food adhering to international standards.” You wouldn’t think that last part really needed to be stated, but I suppose it’s nice to have that confirmation, in writing.

I’m going to have to think about establishing my own mantra.