Tuesday, July 01, 2008


When I was a wee lassie I was taught not to waste food. Thanks to that early lesson I try really hard to finish everything on my plate and in my cup. Sometimes I will even overeat just to clean the dishes.

But America has skewed its sizes and now I'm struggling to marry good habits to good health.

Here's what I mean. I'm trying to write a travel piece right now but I don't know if it should be a travel piece or a piece on culture and whether its tone should be serious or funny. To clear such cerebral fogs I always need a cup of coffee. It is the fuel that drives a stalling brain.

However, I just want enough of it to recharge but not so much that I'm up for the next twelve hours. But there seem to be no options for those with smaller stomachs. The smallest size looks like a jug compared to a regular cup of coffee in India. Starbucks even calls its smallest size 'Tall'.

If I throw away half I waste food, or drink in this case, and money, but if I drink it all up I get over caffeineated. Theres no way I'm saving the other half because the only thing worse than stale coffee is perhaps stale tea. Why must I be confronted with ethical questions in this simple act of buying coffee? Curses.

With food I always bring a doggie bag home but I can't eat hardening ravioli or darkening lettuce leaves for another three meals. So I invariably have to trash that as well after one meal at home.

There are ways to get around the problem. Maybe I should just tell the guys making my coffee to fill only half the cup although I will have to pay full price. I will also stoically suffer their 'is-she-a-lunatic' expressions. Or I could buy a coffee-maker and brew my own little muggies. But why can't there just be smaller quantities available?

Till I establish why sizes have been skewed let me just say that there is a discernible bias against small stomachs. Don't think we don't get it.

In fact, I'm marking my protest here.


Sathej said...

Oh, the pictures are quite frightening :) Such jars for coffee? Surely, there is a marked bias against small stomachs :)
Yes, you could perhaps brew your own little muggies. As an offbeat suggestion, why not divide the coffee and share? :) But then, I guess, its not like someone is there nearby whenever you feel like having a mug!

Alaphia Zoyab said...

Yes Sathej. I don't always have another stomach handy when I want to share so now I'm just trying to kick the caffeine addiction.

'Tis a beautiful life! said...

oh man! don't even get me started on serving sizes in this ridiculous country!
i dont think i've been able to finish a single meal ordered outside since i moved here. yesterday i ordered a HALF order of pasta - and could barely even finish half of that!!

i always worry that with every meal i will be able to eat that little bit more till i can actually finish that portion. so good habits be damned - i've started to separate out what seems to me a reasonable portion before hand. else before i know it i will start rolling into the restaurant getting a double order of pasta.

and the stupid country complains of the growing epidemic of obesity

Sathej said...

Taking into consideration all this, looks like a lot would go wasted over there. And to think, that Bush made a comment to the effect that the over-eating habits of Indians drives inflation!

Alaphia Zoyab said...

oncloud9, I know your fear. I feel it too. I am so afraid that I will actually start eating more because I don't want to waste food. Now I'm trying abstinence. Will let you know how it goes!

Neodawn said...

The smallest is actually a secret "Short"... :)

"The cheapest cup of coffee on the Starbucks menu costs about three times what you would pay around the corner in McDonald's. But curiously, you can pay less at Starbucks, if you know what to ask for – only they don't want too many people to know. Starbucks devised a brilliant solution to the classic retailers' dilemma – those who undercharge lose money, while those who overcharge lose customers. It is called the Starbucks "Short". The "Short" is an eight-ounce cup – quite enough for most people, but only two-thirds the volume of the cheapest item on the menu, the 12oz Starbucks "Tall", and correspondingly cheaper. When someone orders it, the staff don't shout out the order, as normal, but pass on the message quietly so that other people do not start asking what a "Short" is. This secret item is not only cheaper, but is said to be stronger and tastier than anything on the printed menu. It keeps the knowing customers coming back, while the casual visitors who automatically ask for the cheapest item on the menu are served the more expensive "Tall"."
Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/the-big-question-is-the-global-domination-of-starbucks-finally-on-the-wane-859045.html

Now you can make 'short' visits to your local Starbucks. ;)

Alaphia Zoyab said...

OMG Neodawn, This sounds awsome! I'm going to try it.

Neodawn said...

Nice to hear the information helped. I make a few visits a month to the local Starbucks here in Appleton,WI. But I need at least a "Tall" for a real coffee experience. :)

Ezhil said...

I know :-)) I had to face the same! After getting used to our Nair Kadai Tea which wouldn't last for more than 5-6 sips, these mugs were too heavy on me, I wasted a lot to save my tank from over-filling.

Alaphia Zoyab said...

Ezhil - now that I am drinking more coffee than ever it will take me a while to get used to the siezes at Nair Kadai now.