One is supposed to eat all kind of colours on a daily basis to remain fit and healthy and quite good looking, green, red, orange, yellow, and whatever colours there are in vegetables and fruit. With red, I don’t have the slightest problem (see previous post), but sometimes I wonder whether my supply of anything green might in any way be questionable. For instance, I hate Granny Smith apples. Horrid specimen of green little helpers! They look like they came right out of a chemical lab from outer space, just the kind of apple Mr. Spock would love to have for a snack. But I keep digressing, anyway, just to kill two birds with one stone, I put all my eggs in one basket, meaning I made a stew out of some fine ever so organic beef bouillon, green peas, even greener beans, red peppers, orange carrots, and as I didn’t have anything yellow to add, I had to substitute some colourless cabbage for the health benefits any kind of yellow stuff would have let one profit from. Poor me. However, it tasted so fine that I ate it all up and should survive to a hundred and five.
Actually, it’s a very common dessert in most Greek restaurants, but lately I found out that for somebody into Swiss müeslis it’s also very nice a dish when served for breakfast. Yoghurt, nuts and honey—what more could you ask for to stay slim and fit? I’m pretty sure all these nutrients on a daily basis is what turned Greek people into gods and goddesses. As for my version, it’s a politically most absurd blend of origins: the yoghurt’s Greek, the walnuts are from California, and the chestnut honey is produce of Turkish bees. The country who first came up with democracy blended with two others that have been mocking it ever since their current leaders came into power. But I was talking health benefits, not politics…
In the summer of 1999, I remember the date vividly, it was the year I was having the best lunchbreaks ever with my colleague and friend Andrea, our agency was wildly overstaffed, so from Monday to Friday, we had lavish, long extended luncheons all over town, our lunch budget was always overdrawn by Tuesday, but we didn’t care at all, anyway, it was also the summer, blueberry producers from all over the world published the result of some health research, claiming the blue colouring of blueberries was extremely healthy a stuff. Something in the chemical composition seemed to protect you from all sorts of diseases, conveying the impression blueberries made you live happily for hundreds of years. I was immediately sold. So, for the last twenty years I’ve been eating lots and lots of blueberries, muffins mostly, but also lots and lots of blueberry müeslis, and haven’t aged at all (so my doctor tells me). I added some raspberries for colour, though…
Sugar is the most opposed achievement in modern society, when you admit putting sugar in your coffee, you’re as politically suspect as if you opposed putting taxes on the rich. So, unless you’re already wearing a t-shirt that says Save the Rich, don’t ever quit sugar! You might lose what life’s all about, where there’s nothing sweet to experience, there’s only bitterness to endure, so believe you me, you don’t want to live without any contrasts, you need them just as much as the day needs the night, and the week its weekend, and whatever they tell you about the danger of sugar or carbohydrates altogether, slow or fast, think of what you’d have to give up once you’ve renounced sugar: the rigid bitterness of orange marmalade, mine is imported from a weekly market in Versailles and amère as hell, needs some sweetness to soothe your tastebuds, otherwise you end up with a twisted tongue. And if this necessity doesn’t convince you, just think of that: citrus fruit and sugar cane have the same origin, God—and you don’t want to contradict God, do you?
Lately, I started to eat oranges as a refreshing snack after dinner because I don’t drink them anymore for breakfast. Instead, I have a bloodbath. You see, pomegranates make the best juice, but pressing them demands a certain amount of precision, the fruit is easily cut in half, just like an orange, but don’t get fooled, the seeds are highly explosive, you don’t want to put to much pressure on the skin or they spatter everything from top to floor with their thick red juice and you end up renovating your kitchen on a daily basis and coming in late to work. And nobody, absolutely nobody wants to hear your excuse. But once you’ve developed some technique, you are rewarded with great taste and enough vitamins, flavonoids, antioxidants, minerals, and other healthy stuff to easily turn 100. Or even older. 107, for instance. Depends on how much you drink, I guess.
One day, it must have been spring, I decided to lose some weight. You have to be slim for slim cut shirts. So, I had to find a way to eat less, at least for dessert, I had tried to have no dessert at all, but this didn’t work out well, it just made me cranky, and so, in order to keep some of my friends, I tried to eat just half of my crème brûlée or my panna cotta or whatever I was having for dessert, but this didn’t work out either. You cannot stop in the middle of something, can you? What idiotic concept is this? I then tried tiny portions. For instance, these ridiculously small things from Sprüngli. They made me burst out into tears. They seemed to mock me. So I gave up desserts altogether. Cold turkey. Now, I’m unbearably cranky, but quite slim.
Yoghurt is said to be responsible for the long lives of the Greek, and it’s recommended after taking antibiotics, so obviously it has a lot of healthy qualities, but eaten pure it lacks a bit of, well, a lot. It’s a bit dreary. Yoghurt needs something special to bring out its flavour, some contrast, some refinement, just like Cinderella needed all that glitter to make that prince fall in love with her. I like yoghurt best with raspberries, lots of raspberries, the frozen ones are suited best, because they develop a beautiful red juice when defrosting that compliments the whiteness of the yoghurt—by the way, the richer, thicker and creamier a yoghurt, the better. Sugar, some minced apples and a generous serving of calvados, all mixed together are great, too. I invented that dessert when I was eleven but wasn’t allowed to eat it until I turned eighteen. And then, there is yoghurt with walnuts and honey, which brings us back to the Greek and their long lives filled with great desserts. Having said that, I’m really glad about the grexit no longer being an issue.
An apple a day is supposed to keep the doctor away, but with the current cases of influenza the news keep talking about, I felt two apples were more reliable to do the trick than just one, or yet even more, trust is good, overdosing is better, and so I pelt, cored and sliced lots of apples, lots, an awful lot, actually, laid them out on some yeast dough, quite fatless a dough, I once read when you feel like having some cake, if you really, really need to have some, you are to have yeast cake as it is much less sinful a cake, much less calories, but we’re talking influenza prevention, not dieting, anyway, with some calvados sprinkled on it and dusted in vast amounts of cinnamon – cinnamon, by the way, is quite healthy, too, I forgot what good it actually does, but you can’t have enough of it, believe you me – it looked and smelled very yummy before I put it in the oven, and even yummier when it came out. As I’ve had several pieces, I think I had enough apples today to declaim in full health (and with kind of a Shakespearian accent): Influenza, where is thy sting?
To me, rucola is a very touchy pizza topping, in fact, rucola is the touchiest food I know. Why? It all started with its name. To English people, rucola is known as rocket or arugula, in German, it’s called Rauke. But in Germany, Rauke was never really popular a lettuce plant, it only came into fashion in the 1990s, at a time when German cuisine was regarded as dull, out of date and simply pathetic, no stylish restaurant would dare to have anything remotely traditionally German on their menus, and so every single leaf of Rauke, whether sprinkled on pasta or part of a salad, was henceforth called rucola, or as nouns are capitalised in German, Rucola. Now, some people are stupid enough to not have realised this, even though Rucola was being put mostly on everything Italian, no pizza or pasta without some Rucola on it, as we Germans love to demonstrate how very worldly we are, but still, some people don’t get anything, some people being my ex-boyfriend’s best friend—let’s call him Justin. Justin, I hated. He’s the stupidest person on this planet. And when he was the third wheel on a trip to Italy, his stupidity would drive me crazy from dusk till dawn, from Milan to Rome and back, and to me, it all culminated in one singularly stupid question, asked in a restaurant in Florence: “What is rucola called in Italian?”—Aaaaaaarrrgh!—Since this day, I can’t look at rucola without thinking of him, and since I ordered pizza with extra rucola today, I think I have developed some masochistic tendencies…
All of a sudden, I felt like having a snack; my fridge, however, was empty, and so I took a bus to my nearest grocery store (it was way too windy and rainy to walk) where I got myself some gravad lax, you know, the kind of salmon that Scandinavians put six feet under with some salt and spices for three days or more to make it 1) last longer and 2) taste better, the indispensable matching hovmästassås aka dill-mustard sauce, and some gluten-free wholemeal bread—and so my afternoon snack turned out to be a very fine one, so fine, actually, that I’d like to propose a toast to all Vikings and to all the fish they’ve put into an early grave: Skål!