Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ode to the Tiffin

I've been reading a lot lately about the evil that plastic does. In India, there is a traditional container called a "tiffin", made of steel, typically comprising two or three, even four separate containers, that stack above each other, encased in metal springloaded arms that also feature a handle. These containers are getting used less and less as plastic, thermos-like products emerge in the local stores. The original steel containers are typically less than half the cost of the new plastic ones and extremely durable. I've seen these costing anywhere from 200 rupees (less than US$ 5.00) and up.

I like the old tiffins. I also like the steel cups and plates that are traditionally used here. Perhaps it's because plastic and glass are so prevalent in the U.S., that you can't GET them there. I've only seen decent steel cups and glasses in very high end department stores and designer showrooms at home. We also have marble floors here in India, so if you drop something made of glass, it shatters on impact, therefore, with son and dog in the house, glass products have nearly as short a shelflife as the ubiquitous Starbucks takeout coffee container.

When I go back to the States next time, I will be bringing along enough steel to set up a new home as gifts for friends and family. They can't get it, it's green, and it's fairly affordable. All good things, in my mind.


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