Daily Prompt: Where’s the aromat?

Veg on offer in greegrocers Dagenham Heathway

I was not on a journey to Asia, but just visiting my late dad in London and taking a few photos. This was Dagenham Heathway, not the high street in Bombay, but the selection was very similar. The world has become smaller and our taste for something completely different has been encouraged. I am sure my mum would have classified this selection as foreign stuff. I remember a visit of my parents to Switzerland. We were in the Bernese Overland and stopped for a meal, I think it was Interlaken, you couldn’t get more Swiss if you wanted to. Anyhow the menu had a few basic items and as mum and dad were always lost abroad without fish and chips or meat pie, they always selected the same as we had from the menu to play safe.

The food arrived and my dad’s comments was “they like that sort of thing”, “they” being me and Mr. Swiss and the kids. It was then I realised that I did like that sort of thing, and I absolutely did not miss english food. On the other hand I had to get used to being married to a Swiss and his tastes. You can always recognise someone Swiss as they will not travel to another country with their Aromat.

Maggi and Aromat

and if necessary Maggi, which is a brown liquid, spicy and vegetarian. Mr. Maggi never tells his secrets, but a maggi plant does exist, so it is probably used in the manufacture.

Aromat is Swiss and no Swiss would be without it. When we travelled to another country on holiday, the aromat came as well. It is a yellow powder, salty, but has its own taste and is most probably about 150% glutamat, its healthy properties can be discussed. The Swiss have a remarkable way of eating a fried egg. The cooked egg is smothered in aromat and maggi and eaten, no problem, but the actual taste of the egg disappears somewhere between brown liquid and yellow powder. Our aromat has accompanied us to Mallorca, Marrakesh, New York and a few other foreign parts, including London of course. Luckily London has discovered the wonderful properties of Aromat in the meanwhile, so you can even buy it in Tesco.

As I lived with a Swiss-Pakistani family in my first two years in Switzerland, I got used to eating spicy. I discovered that there was more to life than just salt and pepper and a sprinkling of vineagar on the french fries, and Asian food is usually accompanied by rice in any case. Romantic names such as turmeric, cardamom, cumin, coriander, tarragon etc. etc. were a normal part of spicing the food. I tried out various mixtures when I began to cook for Mr. Swiss and he quite liked the Asian style of spice, but always added a sprinkling of aromat somewhere. I must admit that I always add some aromat to a finished pot of pasta, although Mr. Swiss likes to add maggi as well, but that is an individual Swiss choice.

So summing it all up, if you ever visit Switzerland, you will know you are there when the restaurants have a pot of aromat on the table. If you ever go to a restaurant in your own country and notice someone reaching with shaking hands into their pocket and breathing a sigh of relief when they realise they did remember to bring their aromat with them to sprinkle on the meal, you realise he must be Swiss.

Daily Prompt: Where’s the aromat?

10 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Where’s the aromat?

  1. I always wonder about people who travel abroad, but refuse to eat local food. What’s the point in eating at MacDonald’s when you are in Germany or Switzerland or England? i always thought the different food was the best part of the experience … that and the photographs and sometimes, great clothing 🙂

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    • Moving into Switzerland was for me clear that if you are living in the country, than live Swiss, although I must say we have travelled quite a bit in Europe, but MacDonalds is always a good alternative. We even have one at the local main station. My Indian food days were experienced in Switzerland because the family cooked Indian and I loved it. I noticed that some of my acquaintences back in England seem to have a slight pity for me having to put up with the Swiss way of life.

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  2. There is a very funny episode in one of Rafik Schami’s books. He grew up in the Christian quarter of Damascus and many of his stories take place there. This one is about the a kebab cook who is admired by all who have tasted his kebabs. He considers himself an artist with meat and is full of pride when some American tourists stumble upon his little shop. He uses all his talent to cook the best kebab and when he serves it to them he notices that they take out little plastic packets and squeeze a red paste onto the meat. He ask Rafik, the young boy who is the only one around who speaks English, what they are doing and when he hears that they put ketchup on his perfect kebabs, he grabs the plates from them and chases them away brandishing his big butcher’s knife. The impertinence!!

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      • I think it is quite similar. I can’t stand the stuff. It smells vile but some Aussies can’t leave home without it. Marmite was already on sale when an Australian company produced Vegemite. It was originally know as Parwill. As in “Marmite but Parwill.”

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