Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Milkmaid in our Kitchen

One of the things that we used to love as children was the tin of Nestle's Milkmaid Condensed Milk.
My mother had a ritual around it. Must have been a combination of economy, recycling and small treats for her family all rolled into one.

So the Milkmaid would rest on our kitchen counter and mother would make two small gashes. Small is operative here because it was about controlling the flow. The gashes were made  parallely to let in air and help the flow. Kitchen physics.

The tin was then placed on a saucer of water which soon had hapless and ambitious ants floating on their watery grave.

Mother was clear. Milkmaid was for making her amazing cups of tea. A concoction of fresh ginger , Assam tea  and the thick creamy milk. No sugar needed.

On Sundays she would make some rice pudding ( sometimes) and the gashes were made bigger with the kitchen knife being pounded with the "bellan" ( rolling pin).

But what gave my sister and me great joy was sneaking into the kitchen, tilting the Milkmaid and gulping the milk directly from the tin. The tin was held just above our open mouth and we waited for the slow thick trickle.

Years went by and Milkmaid now had recipes printed on its label.
Mother carefully cut them out and we had a Milkmaid recipe book- kheer, cakes etc.

Don't remember her baking so much but do remember the recipes.

Without us realising it, one day the Milkmaid  disappeared from our lives.
Maybe we started having more of black tea.
Father had diabetes so no desserts or cakes.

And Life weaned us off Milkmaid.

I miss the lady with her buckets , on the kitchen shelf.
Think it is time to get her back.