Culinar-literar: Amelie Nothomb – „O forma de viata”

Filed under: FRAGMENTE DIN CARTI SI BLOGURI,FRUMOS — afractalus @ 21:10
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   Am mâncat pâine cu miere. Mă dau în vânt după gustul mierii. Cuvântul „sincer”, care azi e atât de la modă, ei i se datorează, etimologic vorbind: „sine cera”, literal, „fără ceară”, desemna mierea purificată, de calitate – în vreme ce şarlatanul vindea un amestec jenant de miere şi ceară.



Michael Krondl – „The Rise and Fall of the Three Great Cities of Spice” – 3

Venetians not only tried to dress like the Byzantines, they aped their eating habits, too. Not that every Eastern culinary innovation was immediately embraced. The imported fork, for example, was initially demonized as “an instrument of the devil.” When the doge’s son Giovanni Orseolo returned from Constantinople around 1004 with his Byzantine bride, Maria, she immediately elicited gossip not least because of the highly suspect implements in her trousseau. “She did not touch food with her hands,” wrote a scandalized reporter years after the event, “but the food was cut up into small pieces by her servants and she would pick up these tidbits, tasting them using a golden fork with two tines.”

The city at the gates of the Bosporus had always been a magnet for people from across eastern Europe and western Asia. A Western Crusader described Constantinople’s melting pot in 1096: “Greeks, Bulgarians…Italians, Venetians, Romanians [the contemporary term for mainland Greece], Dacians [from today’s Romania], English, Amalfitans, even Turks; many heathen peoples, Jews and proselytes, Cretans, Arabs and people of all nations come together here.” Not surprisingly, the local culture was inflected by all these foreign accents and the city’s cuisine seasoned by flavors from across the empire.


Michael Krondl – „The Rise and Fall of the Three Great Cities of Spice” – 2

  1. „By some estimates, the percentage of spices that reached the European market was never much more than about a quarter of what Asia produced.”
  2. „Merchants from Malacca to Marseilles built fabulous fortunes in the spice business. Monarchs in Cairo and Calicut financed their armies from their cut of the pepper trade. London, Antwerp, Genoa, Constantinople, Mecca, Jakarta, and even Quanzhou could attribute at least some of their wealth to the passage of the spice-scented ships. But nowhere were the Asian condiments the lifeblood of prosperity as in the great entrepôts of Venice, Lisbon, and Amsterdam. Each took her turn as one of the world’s great cities, ruling over an empire of spice.”
  3. „Venice prospered longest, until Vasco da Gama’s arrival in India rechanneled the flow of Asian seasoning. Then Lisbon had her hundred years of wealth and glory. Finally, Amsterdam seized the perfumed prize and ruthlessly controlled the spice trade in the century historians call the city’s golden age.”
  4. „The origins of globalization can be traced directly to the spice trade.”
  5. „It is often assumed that people’s taste preferences are conservative, and while this may be true for a particular individual, the cuisines of societies are regularly transformed within a generation or two. The fondness that many adult Americans exhibit for that sugary mélange of Crisco and cocoa powder called Oreos was most surely not shared by their parents. Italians as a whole were not obsessive pasta eaters until after the Second World War.”
  6. „The membership of I Antichi ranges from street sweepers to multimillionaires, from butchers to poets. They come together for the many official festivals that mark the Venetian calendar: for the Festa della Salute, which commemorates the end of the plague of 1631, when a third of Venice perished; for the Festa di Redentore, another party in memory of an epidemic; for the Festa della Sensa, when Venice recalls a time when the doge, the elected Venetian leader, would symbolically marry the sea; and, of course, for Carnevale, the pre-Lenten festival that overruns Venice and can seem as execrable as a plague when the narrow alleys swarm with the tourist hordes.”
  7. „While there’s no way to know just how the food of the past tasted (the meat, the wine, even the onions, were different from what we have today), the spiced mutton served at the festival of the Madonna della Salute probably comes the closest in flavor to the food eaten by Shakespeare’s merchants of Venice. Preparations for the November holiday begin in the spring, when the meat is prepared by curing a castrated ram with salt, pepper, and cloves before it is smoked and then air-dried for several months. It is still exported from Dalmatia (better known today as the countries of Albania and Croatia), as it would have been when the ancient republic used the preserved meat to feed her sailors. The flavor is strong and complex—and anachronistic.”
  8. „When Venetians found out that the Portuguese had arrived in India, at the very source of the pepper that made the city’s economy hum, many panicked. The loss of the spice trade “would be like the loss of milk and nourishment to an infant,” wrote the spice dealer Girolamo Priuli in his journal in July 1501.”


Michael Krondl – „The Rise and Fall of the Three Great Cities of Spice” – 1

Filed under: FRAGMENTE DIN CARTI SI BLOGURI — afractalus @ 11:52
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   „For an upper-caste Brahmin to eat food that is forbidden or inappropriately prepared is to disrupt the order of the universe”.

„When Saint Benedict set up his monastic communities in the early sixth century, he specified just what his monks could eat and when. (It wasn’t much and it wasn’t too often.) Every Catholic had to conform to the religious calendar, but within that generalized scheme, each social stratum had different rules. The Italian preacher Savonarola, best known for castigating Renaissance Florentines for their ungodly ways, also had opinions on the appropriate dining habits of various castes. “Hare is not a meat for Lords,” he writes. “Fava beans are a food for peasants.” Beef was apparently okay for artisans with robust stomachs but could be consumed by lords and ladies only if corrected with appropriate condiments”.
„The idea that you might reach paradise by traveling east has a certain logic to it, given the times. We are so accustomed to thinking of European civilization as the vanguard of the world that we forget that for much of human history, the European peninsula was at the receiving end of the miracles of the East. Over the millennia, innovations such as Mesopotamian agriculture, the Phoenician alphabet, Greek philosophy, and Arab bookkeeping all flowed from east to west. Both Christianity and Islam followed the same route. So did wheat, olives, sugar, and spices. The historian Norman Pounds has depicted this flow of technological and cultural innovation from the Middle East as a “cultural gradient” that was tilted down toward Europe throughout the greater part of human history”.
„The pepper grown in the hills of India’s Malabar Coast could change hands a dozen times before reaching the shops run by the pepperers guild in Mandeville’s England. And each time the pepper changed hands, passed a customs checkpoint, or was subject to taxes, its price shot up. According to one study of the fifteenth-century trade, the Indian grower might be paid one to two grams of silver for a kilo of pepper; when it reached Egypt’s main port of Alexandria, the price had shot up to ten to fourteen grams; the traders at Venice’s spice market on the Rialto were charging fourteen to eighteen; and by the time it was offered to London’s gentry, the price had increased to some twenty to thirty grams of silver”.
„And once the Portuguese, and later the Dutch, entered the Asiatic trade, their profits could be even more spectacular. In the sixteenth century, the Portuguese could earn net profits of 150 percent or more from the pepper they bought in South India and sold in Lisbon. Nutmeg could fetch a hundred times in Europe what it cost in Malabar. The margin was even greater when it was purchased at its source in the Spice Islands of today’s Indonesia”.


Culinar-literar: Rani Manicka – „Zeita orezului”

   – Added on Sunday, November 06, 2016, 07:53 PM : “Comandase din vreme totul, plătind în rate mici cu mult înainte de ziua de naștere a mamei. Toată familia stătea în jurul unei mese mari, rotunde. Mai întâi au sosit crabi cu chili , apoi carnea de oaie gătită în lapte de capră, tăieței laksa cu smântână, fructele de mare picante char kueh teow, calamarul iuțit cu sambal, având un iz puternic de belacan10, codul negru în pastă de ghimbir, bastonașele de trestie-de-zahăr glazurate în pastă de creveți și câte și mai câte până când toată masa era acoperită de mâncare aburindă”.

– Added on Sunday, November 13, 2016, 11:15 AM : “Îmi spun că ar trebui măcar să-mi amintesc cum o ajutam pe Mohini să pună murături. Îndesând sare gemă în cincizeci de lămâi verzi până când pocneau și le puneam într-un vas lucios, bine strâns la gură, sub bancă, timp de trei zile până când arătau ca niște inimi sfârtecate. Apoi cum le luam și le aranjam cu grijă pe frunze mari curbate de nuci areca să se usuce la soare până când se făceau galbene-maronii și tari ca piatra”.

Added on Sunday, November 13, 2016, 11:34 AM : “Bucătăreasa pregătise felul de mâncare preferat al stăpânului, carne de câine, în trei variante diferite. Într-unul pusese dinte de tigru măcinat, să-i dea vigoare necontenită, în altul – corn de rinocer pisat, pentru vitalitate sexuală, și în al treilea – rădăcini aromatice, pentru sănătate nezdruncinată. Făcuseră tăieței lungi speciali ca să-i ureze viață lungă stăpânului. Aveau un purceluș de lapte rumenit, ce ținea în gură o portocală stoarsă. Și mai era și un fel de mâncare din porc mistreț. Pentru început erau două tipuri de supă – din aripioare de rechin și din cuib de pasăre.

Added on Sunday, November 13, 2016, 02:11 PM : “…am alergat la bucătărie să ajut la tăiatul prăjiturilor din nucă de cocos pe care aveam să le servesc mai târziu oaspeților noștri. Era o rețetă foarte simplă, dar cu un ingredient secret, care o făcea să aibă gust mai bun decât prăjiturile obișnuite din nucă de cocos. Flori de ghimbir!”.

Added on Sunday, November 13, 2016, 04:09 PM : “Când ne așezam la masă, ne servea găluște în stil chinezesc, mici, fierte, umplute cu carne de porc dulce sau pește de râu, împănate cu limetă, cardamom și semințe de chimen. Îi plăcea să dea aromă orezului cu esență de kewra înainte de a-l tine la abur în interiorul tijelor albe de bambus golite și să gătească dovlecei cu tamarind și steluțe de anason, încât aveau gust de zahăr caramelizat. Știa cum să pună la cuptor carnea de pui în interiorul nucilor de cocos verzi și cunoștea gustul secret al florilor de banane picante gătite cu coajă rasă de pomelo. Opărea ore întregi mugurii de bambus până când le cădeau toți perișori și rămâneau cu ce era mai bun ca garnitură pentru piureul de vinete delicios pe care-l făcea. Afuma ciuperci, sota orhidee și ne oferea pește sărat, garnisit cu pastă cremoasă, picantă de durian”.

Added on Sunday, November 13, 2016, 08:17 PM : “Mă întrebam ce mâncase ea ieri. Tort, orez cu carne de pui, tăieței lați, nasi lemak, satay, mee goreng sau carne de porc rumenită în miere. Posibilitățile erau nesfârșite, varietatea de preparate malaysiene fi nd înnebunitoare”.



Wiesław Myśliwski – „Piatră peste piatră”

Filed under: FRAGMENTE DIN CARTI SI BLOGURI — afractalus @ 12:07

– Highlight Loc. 1341-43 : Dar ce varză ştia să gătească! Tăia ridichi, usturoi, ceapă, punea puţin chimion, la care mai punea nişte slănină sau şorici. Şi după ce o fierbea bine, o scotea afară în ger. Şi acolo rămânea peste noapte. Iar a doua zi iarăşi făcea focul şi băga varza în cuptor. Mâncam câte o săptămână.
– Highlight Loc. 2358-62 : Căci nimeni nu ştie ce-l aşteaptă la bătrâneţe. În faţa morţii şi învăţatul e numai om, şi inginerul e numai om. Cum cad toamna frunzele de pe copaci aşa se dezgoleşte omul în faţa morţii de tot ce a adunat în viaţă, de rămâne golaş ca un trunchi de copac. Şi atunci, nu-ţi mai vine să pleci în lume, ci să te întorci la pământul în care te-ai născut, în care ai crescut, căci ăsta-i singurul pământ pe care-l avem pe lume. În pământul ăsta chiar şi mormântul îi ca o casă părintească.
– Highlight Loc. 2670-72 : Şi nici pe el nu se vedea că l-ar fi chinuit ceva, în afară de bătrâneţe. Deşi câteodată se întâmplă ca dorinţa asta puternică de viaţă să vină din disperare. Şi poate că de aceea omul uneori trăieşte mai mult decât l-ar fi lăsat vârsta sau decât singur ar fi vrut.
– Highlight Loc. 2680-86 : Era într-o joi, iar sâmbăta s-a dus la popă ca să-l miruiască cu untdelemn sfinţit, căci s-a hotărât să moară duminica, după prânz, şi n-ar fi vrut să-l obosească pe popă, să vină la el tocmai de la marginea cealaltă a satului. Apoi s-ar fi putut întâmpla ca popa să lipsească de-acasă. Şi-a pregătit din vreme un sicriu de stejar, haine negre, ghete, cămaşă, cravată. De dimineaţă s-a dus şi a dat de mâncare la vite, la câine, la pisică, a măturat odaia, a gonit muştele, a turnat laptele în săculeţul de brânză. Apoi s-a spălat, s-a bărbierit şi l-a chemat pe Strugała să-i aprindă lumânarea. Ultimele lui cuvinte au fost: — Testamentul, Stasiu, este după icoana lui Hristos. Acolo am scris totul, ce şi cui, iar brânza, când s-o scurge, s-o iei pentru tine.
– Highlight Loc. 2789-92 : M-am trântit pe pat, încercând să-mi adun gândurile. Deşi e uşor de zis, să-ţi aduni gândurile. Căci sunt clipe când omul şi-ar goni gândurile în cele patru zări. Şi s-ar schimba în masă sau scaun. Şi ar sta ca masa sau scaunul până când i-ar trece gândurile. Căci gândurile sunt ca nisipul când îl prefiri dintr-o mână în alta, fără sfârşit. Şi chiar dacă l-ai lăsa să curgă toată viaţa, tot nu poţi să faci din el un bici. Şi chiar dacă l-ai face, la ce ţi-ar sluji?
– Highlight Loc. 3384-89 : Mama se înfuria uneori că tot o întrerupe şi îi spunea să zică, dacă vrea să se roage, în gând rugăciunile pe care le ştie pe de rost, căci ce rugăciune e asta, dacă nu ştii ce scrie. Iar el se apăra zicând că rugăciunile i se amestecă în cap cu alte gânduri şi Dumnezeu se pierde în aceste gânduri că nu mai poate să-l găsească. Şi nu băga în seamă mânia mamei, căci şi mânia ei nu era o mânie adevărată. Poate că doar se făceau că se ceartă în loc să ofteze şi să se jeluiască că au rămas singuri. Sau poate că nu mai aveau despre ce să mai vorbească, căci ce să mai vorbească când şi-au spus de-acuma totul. Şi încă să mai vorbeşti cu aceleaşi cuvinte pe care de mii de ori le-ai spus într-o viaţă, care şi aşa s-a întors împotriva cuvintelor pe care le-ai spus?
– Highlight Loc. 4507-10 : Căci nici plânsetul nu slujeşte la nimic. Poţi să plângi cât ai plânge. Deşi, uneori, lacrimile te fac să înţelegi mai bine decât mintea. În tot cazul e mult mai uşor când plângi, decât atunci când înţelegi. Căci numai prin lacrimi poţi să stai lângă cineva, atunci când ţi-e dat să stai cu el în veci.
– Highlight Loc. 7659-66 : Din pământ ţâşnesc izvoarele şi în pământ se duce sudoarea omenească. Şi pe pământul ăsta, nu pe altul, se nasc oamenii. Mai ţii minte, când pleca cineva, în lume, îşi lua totdeauna un bulgăre de pământ în traistă. Iar marinarii, când văd pământul undeva departe, departe, strigă, pământ! Pământ! Ai avut odată o carte, în care strigau, pământ! Şi Dumnezeu a coborât pe pământ. Şi omul, când moare, este îngropat în pământ. O să dormim şi noi în pământ. Mă gândesc să fac un mormânt. Să-l fac cu opt locuri, ca să intrăm cu toţii. Poate că şi Antek, Stasiek o să vrea să-şi doarmă somnul de veci împreună cu noi. Se spune, fie-i ţărâna uşoară. Aşa că unde ar putea să le fie mai uşoară? Doar se spune că pământul în care te-ai născut este leagănul tău. Iar moartea doar te aşază din nou în acest leagăn. Şi te leagănă, te leagănă, până când din nou devii nenăscut, nezămislit.


Jack Seward – „Hara-Kiri” 2

Filed under: FRAGMENTE DIN CARTI SI BLOGURI — afractalus @ 16:57
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   – Highlight Loc. 649-50 : The standard length of the knife for seppuku was 0.95 shaku, or about eleven and a half inches. It was wrapped in two folds of a Japanese tissue paper called sugihara paper, leaving the point exposed slightly over half an inch.
– Highlight Loc. 661-64 : As soon as the seppuku performer opened his kimono, he stretched out his right hand to seize the knife. Without allowing a moment’s delay, he cut into his abdomen from left to right. It was counted more courageous to make a slight cut upwards at the end, which was called the jumonji or crosswise cut. The exact moment of decapitation was arranged beforehand and the assistant had to know whether or not the condemned would make a crosswise or straight cut.
– Highlight Loc. 671-74 : It was considered expert not to cut the head completely off in one stroke, but to leave a portion of uncut skin at the throat, so that the head would not roll away but would hang down, concealing the face. This technique was called daki-kubi or „retaining the head,” and was taken as proof of excellent swordsmanship. The kaishaku-nin would later make the last separation at leisure, either with the same long sword or with his short knife.
– Highlight Loc. 858-60 : Confucianism teaches, „The male and female shalt not sit together even at the seventh year.” The whole relation between men and women was colored with this concept. Under the iron rule of feudalism, it was unalterable. Romance or elopement could mean death by fire or crucifixion.
   – Highlight Loc. 861-70 : In Tale of the Genji written by Lady Murasaki a thousand years ago, there were numerous stories of romance enjoyed by the Japanese of those days before the influence of Confucianism began to be felt. But, in the Edo Period, the only place where one could have free contact with women were the officially licensed gay quarters called yukaku, wherein the women were owned by the establishment or „house” and could be visited after payment of a fee. Even in such quarters, only sex—not love—was allowed. However, it sometimes did happen that men and women fell in love, even in houses of ill-fame. When such girls fell in love, they secretly sent letters protesting their devotions to their sweethearts or tried to demonstrate their feelings by avoiding carnal intercourse with other guests or even sometimes cutting off their little fingers and sending them as tokens of their love. Sometimes, when their love was thwarted at every turn, the lovers resorted to suicide to „reveal the heart.” Properly, the word was shinju-shi, but shi, meaning „death,” came to be omitted. This manner of suicide spread among the townspeople very quickly, and the latter part of the Edo Period came to be characterized by this phenomenon.
– Highlight Loc. 889-91 : Whereas seppuku could be described as the crowning culmination of Bushido and perhaps of the feudal society from which it grew, shinju arose as a form of desperate resistance and opposition to a civilization that negated humanity.
   – Highlight Loc. 966-69 : Opposition to this suppression of the freedom to love whom one pleased was expressed by shinju, where the lovers put themselves beyond the control of society. Not only was shinju a denial of feudal authority, but, when it was done by a samurai and a woman, it also meant a significant change in basic attitudes. In the Japanese code of Bushido, there is the inherent disdain of women (an influence of Confucianism) which is quite different from European chivalry.
– Highlight Loc. 1173-76 : Oddly enough, Bushido reached its zenith, in a sense, after feudalism was abolished at the start of the Meiji Restoration. Main factors contributing to this were the concentration of loyalty on the Emperor, the enactment of the conscription law (leveling the difference between samurai and chonin), and the Imperial Rescript to Military Men which helped to strengthen the code of Bushido among soldiers and sailors.


Jack Seward – „Hara-Kiri” 1

   – Highlight Loc. 112-15 :Bushido had become firmly established in Japan as the Way of the Warrior by the beginning of the long and successful reign of the Tokugawa Clan (1603-1867). Within its framework, seppuku was not only meted out as an honorable sentence of death to violators of certain of the Tokugawa laws but also was practiced to demonstrate and emphasize resistance, remonstrance, loyalty, and affirmation of the correctness of one’s position.
– Highlight Loc. 121-24 :In Japanese society today, the accepted rule is to render official terms in the on or Japanese way of pronouncing the original Chinese character, and such is the case with seppuku. The same two characters, in reverse order, can also be read hara-kiri in the kun or native Japanese style of pronunciation. The word hara-kiri is used only in conversation, and not for official purposes or in formal speech or writing.
– Highlight Loc. 243-46 :The ancients, therefore, put huge stones on the burial spot so that the spirit would not come out to haunt the living in a dream or in the shape of a ghost. The custom of immolation originated at such a stage in civilization. Beloved wives, concubines, servants, and even horses were buried with the deceased, so that he might keep on „living” peacefully and comfortably in the nether world, which was called in Shintoism, yomi.
– Highlight Loc. 317-20 :The word hara or abdomen has a common root with the word hari which means tension. Ancient Japanese associated tension in the abdomen with the soul. The abdomen is the place where the soul resides; the more vital the action, the greater the tension. At the same time, it is the physical center of the body; hence they were led to look upon the abdomen as the cradle of one’s will, thought, generosity, boldness, spirit, anger, enmity, etc.
   – Highlight Loc. 344-46 :According to Zen doctrine, Buddha-hood is achieved only after acts of austere self-mortification. It is a state that must be actively pursued and won by the individual. Thus, the ordeal of seppuku would give high merit toward the attainment of Buddha-hood.
– Highlight Loc. 348-50 :Finally, the samurai attached great importance to the manner of dying and to the moment of death. According to their code, the death sentence of simple decapitation brought eternal shame to the memory of the warrior. In seppuku, however, the samurai died of his own accord, at least in the ritual sense, and this was a fitting end to a valiant life.
– Highlight Loc. 444-49 :a moving example of junshi: On the eve of Shimizu’s seppuku, his favorite vassal Shirai sent a request that Shimizu visit his room. When Shimizu arrived, Shirai apologized for having his master visit his humble quarters and explained that he had wanted to reassure his master that seppuku was not difficult and that he, Shimizu, should not be concerned about what he would have to do on the morrow. So saying, Shirai bared his abdomen to show that he himself had completed the act of seppuku only a moment before Shimizu’s arrival. Shimizu gave Shirai his deepest thanks for his loyal devotion and assisted him in kaishaku, i.e., he beheaded him with his sword.
– Highlight Loc. 450-52 : the Buddhist custom to place a corpse with its head to the north. This ceremonial custom derives from the belief that Buddha entered Nirvana facing the west with his head to the north and his right arm underneath his head.
– Highlight Loc. 468-72 :Under the Tokugawa Shogunate, there were about 60 feudal lords, great and small, throughout the country. These lords were not permitted to live permanently in their own fiefs but had to maintain mansions and spend much of their time in Edo. They could not stay in their own fiefs longer than one year at a time and, even then, they had to leave their wives and children in Edo during their absence from the capital. This strategy on the part of the Shogun had certain controlling effects: Each lord could not stay in his own fief long enough to adequately prepare for and foment rebellion; his family were hostages in the Shogun’s capital;
   – Highlight Loc. 515-21: The kenshi’s next function was to pronounce the sentence. He began with the following announcement: „I hereby pronounce the supreme command of the Shogunate.” Thereafter, he would read the sentence: „Considering the charge that [name of the condemned] did [the offense for which he is to be punished], the subject is herewith commanded to commit seppuku.” Thereupon, the person ordered to commit seppuku bowed and uttered briefly but respectfully a few words of gratitude for having been given this honor. Then the seppuku rite itself began,
– Highlight Loc. 627-29 : The farewell greetings were all so ceremonialized and stereotyped that they served as some relief at such a doleful time. In reply to the command to commit seppuku, the condemned man would answer, „My crime should have deserved a more severe punishment, whereas I have been allowed to commit seppuku, for which my gratitude is boundless,”
– Highlight Loc. 646-47 : The seppuku knife was not long. In the first place, a long knife would be dangerous. It might happen that the condemned man would suddenly change his mind and decide not to die.


Culinar-literar: Kate Christensen – „How to Cook a Moose”

Filed under: Culinar-literar,FRAGMENTE DIN CARTI SI BLOGURI — afractalus @ 12:09

Kate Christensen - How To Cook A Moose

Kate Christensen – How To Cook A Moose

   – Highlight Loc. 149-58 :In 1942, the great food writer M. F. K. Fisher published a treatise on how to survive poverty and hardship called How to Cook a Wolf. Written during the wartime era of rations, shortages, and scrimping, the title refers to the proverbial beast with open jaws that shows up, slavering with hunger, in times of need and poverty, privation and sacrifice. To keep the wolf from the door means to have enough money, barely, to eat and live. Throughout the book, Fisher provides techniques and recipes with limited ingredients for surviving the lean times the country had fallen into in the 1930s and early ’40s. These recipes have humble names like Quick Potato Soup, War Cake, Addie’s Quick Bucket-Bread; there’s also a very basic but serviceable Boeuf Tartare. Chapter headings include “How to Keep Alive,” “How to Comfort Sorrow,” and “How to Be Content with Vegetable Love.” It’s an unusually (for Fisher) straightforward, didactic book about “living as decently as possible with the ration cards and blackouts and like miseries of World War II.” But her tone is anything but grim, or rather, any grimness it contains is undergirded with humor. In the introduction, Fisher writes, “War is a beastly business, it is true, but one proof that we are human is our ability to learn, even from it, how better to exist.”

– Highlight Loc. 162-66 : In one of the book’s final lines, Fisher writes, “I believe that one of the most dignified ways we are capable of, to assert and then reassert our dignity in the face of poverty and war’s fears and pains, is to nourish ourselves with all possible skill, delicacy, and ever-increasing enjoyment.” This last sentence echoes one of my own most deeply held convictions: that eating both well and wholesomely, insofar as it can be done within one’s budget and means, with elegant balance and the occasional indulgent luxury, is an expression of hope and dignity as well as a cause of happiness.

– Highlight Loc. 623-34 : Buckwheat Blini with Crème Fraîche and Salmon Roe Acadians in northern Maine and Canada have a long tradition of eating crepe-like buckwheat pancakes called ployes. Every Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, I make blini for breakfast. I use Acadian buckwheat flour fine-milled by Bouchard Family Farms in Acadia, all the salmon roe I can afford to buy from Browne’s Trading Company on Commercial Street in Portland, and thick, buttery crème fraîche that comes in a little pink tub. I serve these crepes with mimosas made of cava and blood-orange juice. They are festive and delicious, filling but light, the perfect kickoff to a day of occasional eating, and a tip of the hat to Maine tradition. 2/3 cup buckwheat flour 1/3 cup gluten-free baking flour 1/4 tsp baking soda 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp salt 1 1/2 cups buttermilk 2 egg yolks 2 egg whites, beaten till stiff 1 T melted butter Combine the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the buttermilk and egg yolks and stir until it’s a smooth batter. Fold in the egg whites, then stir in the melted butter.

– Highlight Loc. 634-37 : Drop spoonfuls of batter into very hot butter in a skillet to make small, thick, round pancakes. As soon as you drop the dough in, turn the heat down to low and let the pancakes sit until they bubble on top, then turn and cook them till browned. Slather crème fraîche on top and garnish with plenty of salmon roe and chopped chives. Serve them 3 to a plate. Serves 4, with a few blini left over for snacking on later with cheese.


Culinar-literar: Jan Martenson – „Natura moarta pentru flasneta mecanica”

Natura moarta pentru flasneta mecanica

Natura moarta pentru flasneta mecanica

   – Highlight Loc. 719-21 : Valetul cu mănuşi albe apăru discret, îmbrăcat în vesta sa vărgată, şi ne servi desertul. Masa fusese în armonie cu casa. De la sufleurile cu moluşte, până la cotletele de miel condimentate cu usturoi şi până la şerbetul răcoritor de ananas. Cu un intermezzo de brânzeturi şi pere zemoase.

– Highlight Loc. 1021-23 : Ar trebui să vezi. Texasul. Locuiesc în apropierea unei ferme de şaizeci de mii de acri. Se numeşte X.O. şi a împlinit de curând o sută de ani: erau două mii şapte sute de oaspeţi în smoking şi cizme. Gazda a venit călare pe un taur cu coarne lungi în vârful cărora avea legate bile de alamă. Am mâncat antilopă, omletă de struţ, crotal şi multe altele.

– Highlight Loc. 1027-31 : Pe lista mare de bucate din hârtie groasă, nu figurau hamburgeri, în schimb exista păstrăv. Deşi aici se numea Omble Chevalier du lac braisée au vin rouge. Dar m-am abţinut. Drumul lui a fost la fel de lung ca şi al meu pentru a ajunge aici pe malul lacului Geneva şi am preferat păstrăv dintr-o sursă mai apropiată. Am început cu o supă uşoară de broaşte. Sună ciudat? în suedeză poate, dar numele din lista de bucate suna mai atrăgător: Consomme val de Grenouilles Cressonette. Supa era verde de condimente, uşoară şi ademenitoare. Avea de fapt gust de pui. Felul principal a fost Escalopes de Turbot nappées à la Glace de Moules parfumée à l’écorce d’orange.

– Highlight Loc. 2874-81 : — Supă de homar? Şi, mă rog, cum ai fi pregătit-o? — În primul rând te-aş fi servit cu peşte. L-aş fi fiert înăbuşit după care l-aş fi pus pe farfurii şi aş fi ras deasupra mult parmezan, după care aş fi adăugat o bucăţică de unt proaspăt. Aş fi pus farfuriile la cuptor câteva minute până când parmezanul ar fi căpătat o culoare rumenie. — Parmezan adevărat? Am dat din cap afirmativ. — Apoi, aş lua homarii fierţi şi aş face un amestec din patru linguriţe de unt, doi căţei de usturoi pisaţi, puţin piper alb, mult pătrunjel tocat mărunt, un vârf de cuţit de curry şi o lingură de sherry. Aş fi amestecat totul punând deasupra crutoane de pâine. După toate astea, aş fi băgat compoziţia la cuptor timp de cinci minute. Se serveşte imediat.

– Highlight Loc. 2882-85 : O tartă cu brânză. Hai să-ţi spun cum aş fi făcut-o. Aş fi tăiat brânza rotundă în două jumătăţi, după care părţile interioare, mai cremoase, se acoperă cu bucăţele de nuci măcinate. Ai mai fi primit şi o pară, probabil, ca să nu mai spun c-ai fi băut la supă un vin Sancerre, iar la tarta de brânză Château Smith Haut Lafite 1961.

– Highlight Loc. 3128-30 : În mijlocul mesei erau castroane mici de argint pline cu unt, omletă cu ciuperci, chifteluţe şi pâine. Mai erau şi pateuri cu castraveţi muraţi mici. În două frapiere mari se răsfăţa o sticlă de Herrgárd şi o butelie de Loitens linjeakvavit, ambele în spatele unui cub mare de gheaţă.

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