As we all move forward in this brave new era of increasingly visible South Asian influence in America (an era henceforth referred to as Post-Sepia, or Post-Sepiaism), I would like to point out the kudzu-like ubiquity of Deep Brand foods. In the last 2-3 years in particular this stuff has just exploded. In the early 80s South Asian Americans were relegated to going to the lone Indian store in town when they wanted to get their samosa or “Hot Mix” on. Now this stuff is everywhere. I dare any of you to find a reasonably sized grocery store that doesn’t have multiple lines of Deep branded food. Hot Pockets, shhmott pockets. Why not Babu pockets? Yes, I know I am going to hell for pointing people to processed packaged food that I myself will hardly ever touch. Still, there is something comforting knowing that in the future “Abhi junior’ will have the option of having a Babu pocket as an after school, pre-dinner snack. Deep Brand in particular (among all other brands of packaged Indian food) bares mention as it seems to be aggressively cornering its market in the U.S. It is also a rather interesting success story:
Deep Foods, Inc. is a family-owned and operated manufacturer of authentic all natural Indian cuisine since 1977
In the early ’70s Mrs. Bhagwati Amin’s passion for good authentic cuisine gave birth to a hobby. Mrs. Amin had a passion for sharing the cuisine and culture from her homeland. She served up delicious food to friends and neighbors. Soon, small Indian storeowners sought her abilities. As she worked in a clothing mill on weekdays, she would work nights and weekends to satisfy her desire to make and serve high quality foods for the community. Many advised her to open a restaurant. She knew that the time required to run a restaurant would detract her from the family’s need. For this reason, she opted not to start a restaurant.
In a short time her products became popular. Mrs. Amin’s husband, working as an accountant in AT&T at the time, was always eagerly supporting her endeavors. In 1977, he helped Mrs. Amin Incorporate her hobby into a fledgling business.
As the business grew, she never lost sight of producing authentic, quality products. No short cuts were taken that would compromise the quality of the products. Her concern and personal interest for the well being of all her employees earned a great deal of respect from them…
From the humble beginnings of a home kitchen, to the state-of-the-art production facilities and multiple distribution centers, Mrs. Amin has adhered to the original principles of quality and authenticity following a traditional family code of ethics. Today, Deep Foods Group has approximately 1800 employees through its seven locations and over 500,000 square feet of production and distribution space. The company follows her philosophy and believes that there can be no compromise between people, quality, and innovation. Staying within the roots of why Mrs. Amin formed the company, she and her husband Arvind have formed a Non Profit Foundation in India. Out of the success of Deep Foods has grown a foundation that helps the children of India to obtain an education where it would not be possible without their help. Deep Foods, Inc. produces the finest quality foods seeking to provide authentic taste experiences for customers while providing a sound environment and growth opportunities for its employees. [Link]
Maybe the big boys are starting to notice. I learned this past week (perhaps way after most of you) that Costco sells a 30 pack of uncooked whole wheat roti. Just fire up the pan and serve up fresh roti. Can’t be as good as my mom’s but with my long working hours I won’t complain too hard. Have any of you tried it? Is it any good? Pillsbury has been serving up this stuff for a while now.
And now for the fun part. It is time once again to share your Indian packaged food hacks. Take one part packaged food and one part home cooking and tell me about a dish I should be occasionally serving.
Sepia Surgeon General’s Warning: Abhi strongly advises against buying too much packaged food. Never let more than 15% of your weekly grocery bill be attributed to food that comes in a package. Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other ailments are rising too quickly in our community.