08 April 2009

On Digestion, Fresh Breath and Snake Bites

So how did the merchants, maharajahs, and anyone else who cared a little (and had some money), freshen their breath after an inevitably rich Indian meal in centuries gone by? There must be an answer and my guess is that Indian history may have taken a different course had there been no way to freshen the breath or clear up the digestive system. Mumtaz Mahal would have died or run away from Shah Jahan long before the Taj Mahal was built and there may have been a few chapters missing from the Kama Sutra.

And the remedy one presumes was the basic fennel seed (Saunf), which today many of us see in little bowls parked at our table or at the reception of Indian restaurants. Some(most)times they are mixed with colourful sweet supari to liven up the taste. The seeds' ability to freshen breath and help the digestive system have long been known. Unlike mints, the seeds are natural and not overly sweet, if at all. There is something inherently proportional about the way they tackle bad breath. Or to put it differently, unlike mints, they do not disable the mouth from doing something else once digested. And if these advantages were not enough, fennel seeds are also understood to help with snake bites. However there is a problem of marketing. I mean presented as they are today, in abundance in faux indian pots, they hardly inspire confidence for the uninitiated. Put simply, seeds are not fashionable, unless they are pumpkin and served as lovely exotic toppings in cool(ish) salad bars. 

Mooli's can re-launch the Saunf to the wider world, and do very well in the process. Whatever lovely dishes are served at Mooli's, S&M will need to show some commitment to their customers' post-Mooli's experience. And the Saunf, with its advantages over mints, can do exactly that. However presentation is key, not least for the Mooli's brand itself. Here my suggestion would be to have a few seeds, rather than many as are found in packets today (I say 3 but it depends on their strength), in a nice small packet served with every edible item. How this would look will need some design input I imagine, but I would, as a starting idea, put forward a plain coloured packet with the words: "For Fresh Breath + Digestion + Snake Bites". 


Anonymous said...

TAB - why the caps? i like the idea.
why not call it Mooli Breath. I'm joking.


Anonymous said...

i like the idea - but here is my suggestion; take a few seeds put it in a wrapper so that it looks like a condom packet.

then you can have it say something funny.

1) mooli madly deeply

2) better safe than sorry

3) may cause pregnancy


anon nyc

Anonymous said...


3) better saunf than sorry

sorry couldn't resist :)

anon nyc

Anonymous said...

call it schmooli schmoozy

sameer said...

to go with first anon's first idea. TAB - drop the fucking caps. there, i said it.

having said it, very nice idea. i suspect an ulterior motive - with pecks on cheeks and i suspect you have moved on from Meesri....

Anonymous said...

Give a paying customer three seeds of saunf in a pretty little packet and Mooli's can aspire to become the world's pissiest little airline catering service. I cannot believe TAB is serious about his estimate here, and I beseech you not to yuppie up your joint with crap like single-serving saunf: decency demands certain limits to branding and packaging shenanigans.

Anonymous said...

In addition to its other sterling properties, saunf is also a diuretic; but perhaps you'd prefer not to mention this on the little packets TAB proposed.

But now: is the proposed saunf going to be the classic, lovable mix of straightforward seeds and rainbow-coloured sugar-coated ones? Please say yes.

VxD said...

Some Mooli has got TAB's creative juices flowing!

Redefining and relaunching Saunf is a great idea waiting to happen.

Unfortunately, in most places (even in India), ones comes across the over-ripened saunf seeds that don't have a distinctive sweet & fresh taste of the younger & greener saunf seeds, also called Lucknavi saunf. try it.

VxD said...

sugar coated candy saunf is for kiddies