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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39 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Ingredients

  1. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Ingredients | A Day In The Life

  2. Pingback: MORNING IN THE KITCHEN | SERENDIPITY

  3. Ugh…

    If I were writing a post about the one ingredient I could never quite stomach when I was in Europe, the maggi would be a serious contender.

    But I did like Swiss food, so maybe I just never learned to use it correctly.

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    • Don’t worry, I don’t like it either, the Swiss seem to grow up with it. I just put it on the table. I do not even know if there is a correct way to use it. I only know the pasta is submerged in Maggi. there is even a maggi herb which I have had in the garden, and I believe it is made from that. It is not a meat product, but vegetable.

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  4. Pingback: Bialetti! Gotta’ have it/Daily Prompt | I'm a Writer, Yes I Am

  5. My favorite food in Switzerland is bratwurst mit burli at Sternen in Zürich, mit senf. Some how your post reminds me of when Asterix and Obelix go to England…

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      • I have that comic in French. Outside every restaurant is a sign saying, “Boiled Beef.” Asterix says to someone (I don’t remember which character) “We have to do something about the cuisine.” I like Kalbsbratwurst with Rösti, too. In fact, my grandmother was descended from Swiss people, Mennonites. Her whole family for 6 generations was the same group of Swiss immigrants. I was in Appenzell and ordered Applermagaroni and it was my grandmother’s recipe. At that time I didn’t know about her ancestry; that was my first clue. Later, I tried other “country” dishes (ham, new potatoes and green beans, for example) and it was like being back in my grandmother’s kitchen. That’s what spurred my (limited) interest in genealogy. I just wanted to know WHY she cooked like that. Since my friends in Switzerland were from Italy, I didn’t eat much Swiss home cooking.

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        • Now and again I might cook something english, but very rarely. I basically cook as the natives cook. Sounds like a Berner platte with the ham, potatoes and beans, although we also do it with bacon, saucisso and perhaps cooked red cabbage.

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          • Entirely likely. It was really cool, though, especially since in my experience my grandmother’s cooking was unique and I had not eaten it since I was 10. It brought tears to my eyes. I felt like I was back in her little house in Montana.

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  9. I suspect that Aromat is some persuasion of what we call Mrs. Dash™. I can’t imagine what Maggi is, but now I wonder whether I could find them on Amazon . . . I tried Vegemite™ once, got a whole jar of it – and I know in Britain their thing is supposed to be Marmite, and I think its about the same thing, a briny brown paste of brewer’s yeast, but it turned out to be pretty good once I got a taste for it. Plus it makes a great substitute for Worcestershire sauce in soup bases. So yes, a question – how would you describe the taste of Maggi?

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  11. You know the English is not well know for dietary splendor food but I like some especially Fish and “Fries” Chips. i like to put malt vinegar on my fish and everyone things this is very weird. . Aromat is such an interesting mix. Salt, maizeflour, monosodium glutamate, yeast extract, flavourants, partially hydrogenated vegetable fat, anticaking agent (E551), flavour enhancer (E631, E627), vegetables, spices, herbs, soya lecithin, garlic.

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  19. We love maggi, I don’t know if the American version is different from the Swiss version. Maggi seasoning sauce is what my bottle says and in our house we use it in place of soy sauce. Sushi dipped in Maggi is the best! My daughter (4) loves her meats and rice dipped in it. I usually use it for marinating, salmon or pork.

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    • It must be the same Maggi. Glad you enjoy it, although I am not a fan. I had a Maggi plant in the garden once, and used it now and again for flavouring.

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  20. Hello. I read your blog a lot, and enjoy it very mich. I notice that you normally “ping back” to many other blog posts. How were you able to pingback to so many?
    I pingback to the Daily Prompt when I answer prompts (by linking to the original prompt). Do you do that for each blog you pingback to? Or is there an easier method?

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    • Basically I just copy past all the links on the Daily Prompt list. As the list grows I add the links to those I already have. I would add I did a web assitant course and know my was with html codes, which symplifies addiing further links.

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  21. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Ingredients – the spice of a Swiss life | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

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