The extract “Wonderful Waste” introduces children to a new concept: repurposing vegetable peels and waste. It’s a morally enlightening chapter since it instils kitchen etiquette. The cook in the narrative was challenged by the Maharaja not to waste food and instead come up with an innovative method to use it, therefore the chapter may also be used to help with problem solving.
Vegetable Waste? Let’s Make Avial!
The Maharaja of Travancore once organized a lavish banquet for his court. While the dinner dishes were being cooked, the Maharaja decided to have a stroll around the kitchen and see what was being done for the feast. Maharaja noticed vegetable leftovers on the table and proceeded to ask the cook a few questions. He inquired about the cook’s intentions for the vegetable waste. The chef merely replied that he will get rid of it. The Maharaja dismissed the idea and instructed the cook to find a way to put them to good use.
When the cook heard this, he became anxious and continued glancing at the vegetable leftovers. His thoughts suddenly sparked with an idea. He gathered all of the vegetable scraps, washed it, and thoroughly cleaned it. Then he carefully chopped them into a suitable shape. He put them in a big saucepan and set them on the stove to cook, along with a paste of freshly ground coconuts, green chilies, and garlic.
This preparation produced a wonderful aroma. And voila! It was time to serve a fresh meal. This dish was given the name ‘avial’ by the chef. Avial became a popular dish at Kerala feasts. The catch is that it was made from scratch with only a basket of waste.