Daily Prompt: Ingredients

What’s the one item in your kitchen you can’t possibly cook without? A spice, your grandma’s measuring cup, instant ramen — what’s your magic ingredient, and why?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us KITCHEN.

Maggi and Aromat

Personally there is not anything I could not cook without. If I forget something, I just adapt, do not forget I am a female widget, a multi tasker and have carried the responsibility of feeding the family over many years, even the felines, although they are happy with a tin of tuna or vitamin pellets.

My mother could not cook. She cooked as her mother cooked, but reciples from the mid 20th century were not my thing and I have a suspicion that my departed grandmother, who I never actually knew, could also not cook. There are some English master cooks I know, but my mum was not one. Asking what she could not do without in the kitchen, I would say salt and pepper, cooking fat and greens (large green leaves relating to a cabbage plant). However I survived.

I moved to Switzerland and spent my first two years working for an Indian boss and living-in with his family. His wife was Swiss, but mainly cooked Indian. I quite liked Indian food and learnt a few tricks of the trade.

After leaving my Indian-Swiss cooking experience I moved on and met Mr. Swiss. This was when my cooking experience made a turning in the Swiss direction. My mother-in-law would invite now and again. It was then that I learned to appreciate the Swiss cooking. It seems the Sunday dish always had a cream white wine sauce, the Sunday meat mainly being veal.

I remember cooking my first meals for myself, the kids and Mr. Swiss. The English accompany everything with potato, (boiled, fried, chipped etc. etc.). I was glad to discover that the Swiss had a choice of pasta, rice, rösti (a sort of flat fried chopped potato flan) and normal potatoes as an accompniment. The first problem arose when serving pasta. We were all sitting at the table ready to go and Mr. Swiss was a little troubled.

“Is there something?” I asked

“Err, yes, where’s the Aromat?”

“The Aromat?”

He arose from the table and searched in the cupboard and produced a small metal holder with the word “Aromat” emblazoned on the metal in large letters. I then remembered we had Aromat. It sort of arrived with the wedding ring. Was Mr. Swiss happy? Almost.

“Do we have any Maggi?” (prounounced Majji). Even this bottle was tucked away between the salt and pepper: a brown liquid.

So Mr. Swiss sprinkled Aromat and poured Maggi over his pasta. This was just the beginning. I noticed a Swiss never eats a normal fried egg, sunny side up, without smothering the normal egg taste in Aromat and Maggi. With time I realised then when cooking pasta, before serving it should must be mixed with a large spraying of Aromat. I soon discovered that Aromat was a tasty thing, but I never could accustom myself to drench my pasta in Maggi. Time passed, the children were growing and developing into Aromat and Maggi addicts.

Then came the day when we visited my parents in England. We were staying with my mum and dad and poor Mr. Swiss would be subjected to the intricacies of the English kitchen, although I would say he was quite partial to beans on toast and fish and chips. We were packing for the departure and he put a supply of Aromat into the case. He decided he would abstain from taking the Maggi as this was a liquid and could cause problems in the case on the flight. He was worried that the reputation of Aromat had not yet reached England. At this time his worries were almost justified as Aromat had only just entered the English food realm. The English were still happy to coat their Frenchfries/chips with salt, pepper and vineager.

So to sum up, I can cook with anything, but I have to be sure there is Aromat in the kitchen – you never know. I am quite partial to putting garlic in everything, but there I have to consider the others. Mr. Swiss is not keen on garlic in the salad sauce, but this is no problem. As long as I put Aromat in the salad sauce he is a happy Swiss.

Daily Prompt: Ingredients

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