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The Kasimir's feast

The Kasimir's feast



In 1948, the Swiss hotelier Ueli Prager opened the first Mövenpick restaurant in Zurich. His restaurant concept, based on simplicity, innovation, willingness to serve, and a passion for culinary and gastronomic perfection, revolutionized Swiss gastronomy. In 1952, Ueli Prager put “Riz Casimir” (the rice of the Casimir in French) on the menu. A dish of shredded veal, cream curry sauce, pieces of banana, pineapple and peach, garnished with roasted almond slivers and red pepper strips as a splash of color and served in a ring made of long grain rice. Prager's creation hit the taste buds of the guests with pinpoint accuracy. Foreign things like curry, pineapple and bananas, combined with familiar things like veal and cream, that was heaven on earth for Switzerland in the post-war period. It reflected the increasing prosperity of Switzerland and the wanderlust of the population.

Ueli Prager, who had traveled widely, probably wanted to serve the people of Zurich a rice dish from Kashmir, a curry. Today “Riz Casimir” would never qualify as a curry, but in the 1950s nobody knew what a curry was. The dish made of white rice with its cheesy yellow, spicy cream sauce of turmeric and sweet fruits had a touch of the exotic. People liked that at the time. “Riz Casimir” became the standard in Mövenpick cuisine. In 2002, 80,000 servings of "Riz Casimir" are said to have been sold at Mövenpick. Today it is a specialty of the house on the menus of Mövenpick restaurants around the world.

The achievements of the food industry and the constantly growing range of retailers made the recipe part of everyday life in Swiss cuisine. In 1960 the parboild rice came on the market and cooking rice became child's play, always succeeded. Maggi and Knorr recognized the trend and developed the right ready-made sauces out of the bag. This made the production of "Riz Casimir" possible for everyone, as most households at that time would hardly have had access to curry spices. Thanks to the success of the major distributor Migros, canned fruit became affordable. Over time, the fruit went straight into the sauce and replaced the meat. The cheapest recipe replaced canned fruits with boiled apples and bananas. This resulted in inexpensive meals for the whole family. Sweet fruits in a squeaky yellow sauce with white rice. With the bag sauce, the fresh or canned fruit, the parboild rice cooked only with salt, the dish always tasted the same and was sure to be a success, which guaranteed the housewife satisfied eater. Prager's glamorous “Riz Casimir” became “Riis Kaasimir” in households. And it still brings back childhood memories of around 70 years.

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