'Laughter is brightest where food is best!'
                                                      -an Irish proverb
Food forms an essential part of our lives. It is not just about survival, nutrition or calories; food has incorporated itself into our culture. It is central to socialising; it is the most important determinant of how good and well catered an event is. Food is an area in budget that is uncompromised on in weddings. We meet friends over coffee, we conduct business meetings over lunch and go out on dates over dinner. Food is, as you can see, highly important and if the food is good, it brings an added charm to any event.
In our country, we attach all the more importance to food. Recipes are handed down generations of a family and in majority of the households, women of the house cook food. The culinary expertise of a girl therefore is of huge merit in the marital age. I got married in the Army, a world where perfection is the minimum requirement in everything, even cooking. Being a working woman, it was difficult for me to match the standards. I love cooking but finding time for it has always been troublesome. When my status changed from working woman to a working mother, it became a seemingly impossible task to juggle work, kitchen and baby all at once. I was left expecting a miracle to endow me with super-powers.
My daughter was just a couple of months old when she was invited to a child's birthday. I of course had to tag along. I was pleasantly surprised to see smiley faced snacks being served and was soon eyeing the lady of the house with jealousy, wondering how she managed to carve out potatoes with such accuracy. But then, army wives are known to be amazing cooks. I sighed and dared to ask her for the recipe. She laughed. I felt insulted.
'Oh you are so innocent. These are McCain Smiles. You just need to fry them. Come I will show you!' She led me to the kitchen where an open packet of the same was lying.

As I checked out the packet, she saw the curiosity in my eyes.
'Oh and yes, it is trans-fat and cholesterol free, so you don't need to worry doc.' I looked at her and smiled. It was a 'eureka' moment for me.
'Are there any other items?' I asked.
'The options are endless. You will get all of them in the store next to Canteen. Do go check them out!'
I went there the very next day and discovered French fries, chilli potato bites, potato cheese shotz, aloo tikka,wedges, veggie nuggets and what not?

It was like an answer to my prayers! It seemed so easy now to treat the 'fauji' guests in my house with no stress of thinking up and preparing exotic snacks; they could be easily stored now in the freezer, ready to cook whenever needed. I never knew one could do use potatoes in so many interesting recipes.
As if reading my mind, there was a poster on display in the store:
Since that day, I haven't had to worry myself over snacks, leaving me with more time on my hands to cook great meals. No doubt compliments have been pouring in. McCain snacks feel empowering!

Now that my daughter is six years old, McCain still remains my best friend and my freezer is never bereft of it. For the sudden pangs of hunger that visit my daughter, I always have an answer and never the same one too. McCain Smiles are my Princess' favourite. I don't know what it is with children and potatoes- the love never fades! Thinking of it, I realise potatoes are almost everyone's favourite-in one way or the other. I read somewhere

'What I say is that, if a fellow really likes potatoes,he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow!'

Last week, my daughter told me pack Smiles for her school tiffin. I refused saying it is a snack, not a meal and she was upset. I did not want to break her heart. I decided to convert the snack into a wholesome meal and sat to search the internet for it. McCain came to my rescue again. I came across its website which is truly amazing for it harbours a number of innovative recipes to zest up all the snacks. I found exactly what I was looking for-a fun sandwich with Smiles.

It involves buttering one bread slice, applying tomato mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and cheese slice before adding a layer of Smiles and covering with another buttered bread.
The sandwich looks and sounds yummy!
I plan on sending this in my darling's tiffin tomorrow. I can only imagine the surprised look in her eyes and the smile on her face.
From the day when I first discovered McCain and smiled with a sense of relief to the smiles on the faces of the guests I have entertained over the years and now the smile that it shall bring on my little one's face, McCain has been a smile-bearer. This harbinger of happiness remains as my magic wand that I proudly flaunt and use whenever I need to curve up someone's lips.

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