Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - is a psychiatric anxiety disorder most commonly characterized by a subject's obsessive, distressing, intrusive thoughts and related compulsions (tasks or "rituals") which attempt to neutralize the obsessions.
The phrase "obsessive-compulsive" has worked its way into the wider English lexicon, and is often used in an offhand manner to describe someone who is meticulous or absorbed in a cause (see "anal retentive"). Such casual references should not be confused with obsessive-compulsive disorder; see clinomorphism. It is also important to distinguish OCD from other types of anxiety, including the routine tension and stress that appear throughout life. Although these signs are often present in OCD, a person who shows signs of infatuation or fixation with a subject/object, or displays traits such as perfectionism, does not necessarily have OCD, a specific and well-defined condition.
Yes, but I know I have OCD for sure and I am proud of it. Just refer to the picture above. Yesterday, I got an email from Wandering Chopsticks concerning a VERY IMPORTANT matter: the main difference between all the various Maggi seasoning sauces from different parts of the world – which inspires me to write this posting. On a side note, before I went to Mexico, I thought all Maggi sauces tasted the same. And I couldn't be more wrong. I'm sure my fellow foodies, Steamy Kitchen and Guilty Carnivore, would also agree!
First a little history about this sauce that most people incorrectly refer to as a variation of soy sauce – its wheat. Maggi is a Swiss company well known for producing dehydrated stock cubes, instant noodles and soups since 1872. The Maggi family sold most of its products to factory workers who were too poor, occupied by long hours of work and for people that weren't getting enough nutrition in their food. They made headlines with the invention of the bouillon cube. For the impoverished, a simple soup could be made with leftover vegetables, some water and 2-3 cubes of Maggi's bouillon cubes. And today, the most popular product is the seasoning sauce, which is sold in a dark brown bottle with a thick, yellow cap. A few dashes in your soup, steak or eggs, and you're food is taken to another level. Is it healthy? Probably not. Even the bottle warns you to 'add just a few drops'. They aren't kidding because you're dealing with some serious sodium levels. For sure it has monosodium glutamate, but damn, it's good. My favorite way of eating this is over fried eggs with a few dashes of Sriracha. In fact, I'll have some now...
Ok, I'm back from eating my Maggi eggs. *Sigh* So good. Anyway, I just wanted to share with everyone one of the many outlets for my OCD. I started collecting Maggi seasonings after I had lunch with a Chicago-based foodie of Polish descent. We met for lunch at Mien Nghia one day in Chinatown, and as a gift, he brought me a bottle of Polish Maggi. You could imagine my surprise when I learned that Asians weren't the only ones to share this lovely sauce. The label was printed completely in Polish and the only thing that I understood was the distinctly shaped red cap w/ the pinpoint spout and dark brown glass. I asked if I could open it and try it out. I ripped off the seal and used my fingernail to pry open the tiny cap. I looked at the tiny spout, meant for minimal dashing upon food, and dabbed a little on my finger. I then took a whiff expecting it to smell familiar – but it was different... almost stronger and more sour. I brought my finger to my mouth and tasted it. Wow. Delicious and completely different than the sauce that sat in the kitchen of my parents' house since the day I was born. Right then, I knew that I wanted to try all of the Maggi seasonings of the world. Refer back to the definition of OCD at the top of the posting if you've suddenly forgotten what this posting is about.
The Maggi Family Portrait, from Left to Right
A. Maggi Inglesa from Mexico - tastes like a dumbed-down version of Worcestershire Sauce. I don't recommend it, go with Worcestershire Sauce.
B. Maggi Garlic Seasoning from Manila - probably my 2nd favorite Maggi that I own. Has a great garlic punch that I've used on fried eggs and food revived by the microwave oven. I bought this at the filipino market, Seafood City. I highly recommend!
C. Grandpa Maggi from My Mom's House - that is the largest size allowed by the FDA because of its potency. Anything larger than that can be categorized as a weapon of mass destruction to your kidneys. It takes a LONG time to use up this Costco-sized Maggi. If you've used up more than 5 of those in your lifetime, you're probably already dead and have somehow managed to catch free wireless in heaven to read this posting. This is the version you'll find at any Chinese/Vietnamese/Thai market. I don't think Koreans or Japanese use this sauce – it's a Southeast Asian thing. Even my relatives with the worst English comprehension know the word Maggi – pronounced "mack-key". Overall, it's very light in color and taste compared to its international cousins.
D. Maggi Jugo from Mexico (Spicy) - jugo is spanish for 'juice', or in this context, 'sauce'. I was overjoyed when I saw the icon of a chili pepper on this mini Maggi bottle. It definitely has a little spice to it, but I could use about 10x more picante. In Latin American cooking, Maggi is used mostly with soups (caldos) and braised stews such as posole, caldo de mariscos and machaca shredded beef. Mexican Maggi is WAY different than any Maggi sauce I have tasted – it is extremely thick, rich and dark. It's as dark as oil from a car that's 8,000 miles behind on an oil change – like mine. We put 2 drops on a tortilla chip, and the taste sustained for a few seconds. Awesome.
E. Maggi Jugo from Mexico (Plain) - this one has an icon of a pan boiling some food. I don't know what to infer from it? Again, it is thick and rich but not as good as the spicy version.
F. Maggi Jugo from Mexico (Soy Sauce) - this one had an icon of a sushi roll and it is what it is – soy sauce. Tastes like Kikkoman.
G. Maggi from Germany - at nearly $20 a bottle, this is the bourdeaux of Maggi Sauces. Freaking expensive but worth the money – it tastes better than Asian Maggi. I would trade this for a bottle of Mexican Maggi.
H. Maggi Jugo from Mexico (Lime) - it is what it is, Maggi with a dash of lime. Think of it as Maggi Sauce on vacation in Mexico, drinking a Corona on a white sand beach. If you don't have limes to go with your Mexican soup, this would do just fine. Tastes great on tortilla chips too!
I. Maggi from Poland - Poland gets the Silver Medal in the Maggi Olympics, closely behind Mexico and with a good lead ahead of Manila's Garlic Maggi. Sharp and pungent, this is a lapdance for your tongue. Love it, thanks again to ErikM. I use this SPARINGLY.
J. Maggi from France (Not Pictured) - this isn't pictured for a simple reason... I have it at work! Many coworkers give me the "WTF" look when I pull this out and douse my food with it. J gave me this as a gift and I love that she wants to destroy my kidneys. The French version is a little more concentrated than the Asian Maggi and has more taste in my opinion than the German version.
Here at Eat, Drink & Be Merry, we only discuss SERIOUS global issues like this. If you've tried an international version of Maggi, share your thoughts on this destructive yet delicious sauce. I've heard that Ethiopian cuisine employs a lot of Maggi Sauce, yummy. By the way, more evidence of the Maggi brand in other countries. Tonight, J & I watched the Jamaica episode of No Reservations and guess what we see in the background...