Fruit salad for dessert is a really joyous occasion. It’s so healthy! Full of all sorts of fruits from all over the world: pears, bananas, kiwis, apples, oranges, and, well, take whatever fruit you like. And then there are some very energetic rum raisins in it… They, along with the fresh-pressed-orange-and-lemon-juice-and-williams-pear-schnapps-dressing, take away the fear you might lead the miserable life of a health-absorbed puritan. Bon appétit and cheers!
Today, with all that sunshine in November, while working on my novel, I felt like a fish in the sea. Happy and content. Ironically, for dinner, I had fish who must have felt literally like out of water. And some mussels, prawns, and scallops to join them in that hapless situation also known as bouillabaisse. The world is an unfair place, I guess. If you ever have to face the truth about life like me, I recommend a great wine to smooth the edges, my 2017 Kerner from Saale-Unstrut, the former GDR’s highly esteemed winegrowing region, is the best to reconcile you with anything, and if there’s nothing to reconcile you with in the first place, all the better. Prost!
I admit it. I love to eat while watching TV. The thing is, it’s completely unhandy to use a knife while half-lying in your chair, it’s almost as unpractical as serving steaks when there’s no place to sit (Mr. Geller is my authority on this, you know, Ross and Monica’s father from Long Island, the one who bought a Porsche to help him cope with his midlife-crisis and walked in on Rachel when she was changing in Monica’s room). Anyway, my point is, you just have to prepare stuff you can eat with either a spoon or a fork. Greek salad, for instance. It’s really healthy, too, so you can even tell tour mum or your nutritionist about it, the most demanding group of people ever. Make a lot of everything, too. In this binge-watching age, one never knows for how long a series really ties one down, and one wouldn’t want to pause in the middle of everything just to prevent oneself from starving, would one?
On September 6th, 2018, at 10:17 p.m., I ordered pizza. Autumn was somewhat near, and something called “Early Leaves” seemed appropriate. The leaves were made of bresaola, something I have always loved, and so I ate the three leaves, accompanied by some roasted pine nuts, first, after taking a picture of course, and then something quite peculiar happened. For some inexplicable reason, I didn’t finish the rest and left over most of it; I got distracted, I suppose, but by whom? By what? The next morning, I forgot to put it in the fridge and so the maid disposed of it. Why I am telling you this? Because this is an untold crime story, a most foul one, as there’s no crime more sinful, more inexcusable, more unforgivable than Italian food waste. A crime of which I’m guilty of in the first degree. Please save a prayer for me…
“My dear Bambi, I am utterly sorry my uncle shot your mother, but to hell with sympathy, it was totally worth it. I’ll help you find you a good therapist to cope with your situation.”, thus I could start a letter to this deer’s kid. I’m aware of the fact that I blame my dear Uncle Karl for killing it rather than myself for eating it, but have you ever had game from your family’s forests? It’s the best! It’s so yummy! I am also aware that I won’t ever come into these woods, my dear uncle has sons of his own to bequest his property to, so I have to enjoy the place in a different way, by having “Deer Bourguignon” for example, and even if you and Bambi might judge me, call me a cartoon’s murderer’s accomplice or worse, Julia Child would have been most delighted and proud.
88 degrees Fahrenheit in May, or wait, it’s June now, anyway, 88 degrees Fahrenheit this time of year are, well, what are they? My mind has gone blank, that’s for sure. I can’t think straight. This heat is killing me. Totally. Gotta face the facts. So, for my last supper before extinction I decided to have insalata caprese, my own version of it at least, it’s kind of a messy version, very messy, I mix it all up, the mozzarella, the basil, the tomatoes, il Tricolore in a bowl, so to say. With some olive oil from Sicily and crushed pepper from some place else. Anyway, as you can’t have water with an Italian dinner—food iconoclasm, I say!—I opened a bottle of wine, a fine wine at that, admittedly not from Italy, no Chianti or Brunello di Montalcino, but a fine wine from Bordeaux, a claret as the Brits say, a 2005 St.Émilion Grand Cru, some Château Peyreau—or was it Peyraux, or Peyreaux? Who knows, it’s pronounced all the same anyway—just to cherish summer in spring, high spirits for high temperatures—I’ve told you, my brain has gone soft. Anyway, cheers and buon appetito for now, and as soon as temperatures drop, I’m back. Promise.
We ate all day. From 11 am on, we had everything one could ask for, I spent most of the time between 11:15 and 12:29 passing sliced duck breast on a bed of rocket with a very mustardy vinaigrette, tasting slighty Japanese, then there was none left, and people started asking why, why is that so good and why did you make so little, by that insulting and praising at the same time the life and death of the two ducks whose breasts had been sacrificed for our Easter brunch, but I at least was left alone then, at my end of the table were only the jugs with water, lemoned and pepperminted, and some of the minor salads, they weren’t paid much attention to, politics and a collectively hated friend, let’s call her Madame X, provided enough distraction anyway, at least until, very late in the afternoon, a lentil curry was served, prepared with none other than lentilles vertes du Puy, cumin, coconut milk, mustard seeds, red onions, chillies and coriander leaves, all of it interacted heavenly, creating something so good, everybody lost track of the conversation, time stood still, and those ducks, well, the poor bastards and their breasts, however good, had obviously died in vain, as they had already fallen into complete oblivion.
I once bought these, these being knife rests, I got them at Aux Arts du Feu, my favourite shop in Zurich, they have everything that comes out of the fire, silver, crystal and porcelain, they still had them in stock, from a time when Royal Copenhagen still made fine porcelain, handpainted, handpainted in Denmark, that is, and not the dishwasher safe stuff they produce today, in Thailand, where work is cheap, cheap and deprived of a porcelain painter’s personal handwriting, anyway, I was thinking, with these knife rests my life would be finally perfect, for we all know, life without knife rests isn’t worth living, it shows so much finesse, so much refined taste, a real eye for detail, tablesetting at its most elegant, and what can I tell you, my life hasn’t changed at all, it still isn’t perfect, as a matter of fact, it’s still a mess as I haven’t used them yet, not once, and now, as there’s still time for new year’s resolutions, or not, as most of you have probably already thrown them overboard, but it just so happens I’m always late, at everything, but that’s actually another story, anyway, I wonder if a) I should start using them in 2018, or b) stop buying things nobody needs. I haven’t made my mind up yet.
For family dinners, I’m always in charge of dessert. Today, it’s going to be raspberries with cream. It’s easily prepared, I open the fridge for the cream and the freezer for the raspberries, and I’m done. And then, all while sipping Chardonnay, I witness the rest of the meal being prepared, artichokes are being cooked, a vinaigrette is being composed, lots of French mustard and Italian olive oil form a beautiful entente cordiale, parsley from the garden is being “haché-menu”-ed, ever so fresh chanterelles are being cut, not from the garden but from the grocer, the table is being set, by whom actually, my father, I suppose, gee, that Chardonnay is really drinkable, and all of a sudden, I’m the last one missing at the table, I better join them, hey, they’re are having red wine, okay, fine with me, bon appétit.
Think pink. That’s what we learned from Funny Face’s Quality magazine’s editor-in-chief Maggie Prescott – Hollywood’s version of Diana Vreeland. Think pink. That’s what I learned from my mother. My life is quite unthinkable without her Pink Camilla china service, designed by Spode in the late 1700s. I grew up with it, took parts of it to my very first apartment, bought additional pieces myself, smashed dozens of cups and plates, some teapots, too, replaced it all, well, not all, only the pieces I smashed after making my own living, after turning 27, so to speak, I still have tea from a broken bouillon cup, its handle broke years and years ago, my doing of course, never anybody else’s, why that is I don’t know, I’m not that clumsy, believe you me, anyway, I had my cornflakes in it right before school and vichyssoise, game and charlotte russe on Christmas eve, lamb was served on it at Easter and strawberry extravaganzas on my birthday, it witnessed tears and laughter, the entertaining of dear friends and social obligation dinners, small talk and passed on top secret information, all over breakfast, lunch and dinner, over coffee, tea, wine and champagne, in summer and winter, in the kitchen, in the dining room, in the garden, in a nutshell, this china is part of my life, and however much I love my own Royal Copenhagen, Pink Camilla will always represent my home, my parents, my background. God bless her.
So, here’s a potpourri of pictures I took over my years on Instagram.