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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

I got rid of Herman, poor thing. It was developing an unhealthy ammount of alcohol, and I became tired of not knowing what to do. Perhaps one day I’ll get a bread book in order to find out what went wrong. In the meantime, I believe that buying a ready-made loaf of leaven bread is actually cheaper than making my own. Not to speak of the fact that I don’t even have a proper oven to work with… So Herman is dead, and I’m alone again, waiting to find out what my next passion will be. Sea horses perhaps? To begin with, I’d like to know what defines male vs. female when the female inserts eggs into the male who later gives birth himself. Then I’ll decide whether they’re worth giving up leaven for.

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Leaven trials

Over a year ago, someone offered me a voucher for a class on leaven and bread-making. I finally decided to use it, and now flour, dough, and old village ovens shouldn’t have any secrets for me. Except that (perhaps predictably), things never work out in my life as written matters say they should. That’s fine with me as far as the esoteric narrative used during the class – about the search for authenticity, the boiling life present in the dough, or the convergence of the four elements within bread – is concerned, but when it comes to my own cooking, I would expect it to be, at the very least, edible. Unfortunately, the leaven I have brought to life has failed to be thankful so far, and as we are both turning out to be very stubborn, it’s hard to tell at this point who will finally take the upper hand.

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When I see the gift ideas that are advertised for girls and women before Christmas, I’m always amazed at how limited/limiting they are. Even as a child I was more into Lego than Barbie (I had one, but a friend’s brother ate her hand… it’s hard to rehabilitate a disfigured Barbie). Fortunately for me, there is more variety in my family’s Christmas than in ads. What is more, because my birthday is on the 31st, I can often combine gifts to have a more interesting one (hence the snowshoes). On the 25th, my extended family offered home-made edible gifts to one another as we’re all foodies, and it seems that men and women alike prepare and receive those gifts. It’s encouraging to see that my male cousins are more likely to do this than my uncles – and that good food is still a strong “family value”!

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Last spring, I became so enthusiastic about this fabric-and-plastic device that I persuaded some of my housemates to make a group order from the United States. One of them even chose the eco-print, which is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen – and I am attracted to ridiculous things. The concept is (brace yourself) to have a re-usable, washable sandwich wrapper which, by a simple yet ingenious process, doubles as a table mat once you open it. It does look slightly tacky, and your grandmother could easily make one for you, but my own Wrap-N-Mat unexpectedly became an essential commodity when I started to work in an office and was, at first, completely broke. It’s actually nice to take your own sandwich to work without sprinkling crumbs all over the place. The only condition for it to become your new green friend is not to be too hungry. Or else, just buy several.

P.S. Wrap-N-Mat do not sponsor me, but perhaps they should.

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Page52Souvenirs are strange objects indeed. You try to find comfort in stereotypical representations of the place you’re visiting, in spite of their having very little to do with your own experience of the place, or that of the people who live there, for that matter. And yet, they do say something about local culture, or an ideal version of it. So I say, who wouldn’t like a country where you can buy tiny miniature cakes? They’re absolutely useless and, I have to say, quite ridiculous, but I like these cakes. They remind me of the little details I loved as a child when I first discovered England and, well… I just wish I could eat them.

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Page42Having been in Switzerland for a month, it was time for me to find some interest again in local stories. You may know that Suchard used to be made in Neuchâtel, and for a town this size it’s an important historical element. Which is why the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire and the university organized an exhibition which is very agreeable to visit, and I’m tempted to brag about the famous Neuchâtelois family business. Only, to be honest, I’ve never really been a Suchard person. I don’t like Milka, and apart from Suchard Express (and Sugus) I’m not very familiar with the products; I prefer Camille Bloch, Villars, Lindt, Caillers. But now I’ve fallen in love with some of Suchard’s retro ads, and that alone is interesting enough.

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page41I’ve been swallowing these pills daily for nine months now, and in spite of their pretty pink colour, they’re not very agreeable to take. While I can’t say that my iron defficiency comes directly from the overall small amount of meat I eat, it certainly plays a role in my current reflections on meat and the animal market. Red meat, and liver in particular have a very high iron content which can be difficult to reach with other foods. I’ve learned to cook liver in butter with some shallot, then add some white wine, a tiny bit of chicken stock, cream and chives and have it on bread. You can add bacon as well, it’s delicious. This alone is a good reason to give offal a try, plus it will cost you very little.

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