Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A's Neighbourhood

A’s neighbourhood in London is mixed: mixed race, mixed class, mixed established/trendy. About half the corners in her street are occupied by newsagents-cum-local stores, invariably run by South Asians. They sell a lot of sweets and potato chips, cigarettes, liquor, an occasional apple or onion, and watery milk. It is a miracle they survive, but they do have a clientele.
Around the station the level of yuppiness rises: a French delicatessen, selling wine, croissants, cheeses, and rillettes in glass jars. The shop across from it is harder to place: fresh espresso in paper cups, meat, tinned vegetables, and fresh bread. I don’t get it. What’s their formula?
But hey! Who cares, if they offer good bread. . . .
From there we go to the shop on the hill, which caters for the environmentally conscious. Next to it an Indian restaurant with Formica tables, and further down a supplier of household goods – brooms and light bulbs –, and another of faucets, or television screens.
Thank goodness for the yuppie quasi supermarket, that has fresh local produce, eggs, good coffee, and all the other daily necessities. It also offers espresso in paper cups.
But hey! Who cares!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Chanterelles on Toast

Last night we had not enough left-over sauerkraut for a whole meal, so I added an appetizer:

Fry some finely chopped shallots in butter with a little oil.
Add cleaned (with a brush) and chopped chanterelles and cook for a few minutes on a high heat.
Stir in some crème fraîche or double cream, loads of chopped parsley, salt and lots of pepper.
Serve immediately on freshly toasted slices of whole grain bread.

To me this brings back wet autumnal walks, looking for mushrooms. Then bringing home their woody smell and cooking them for lunch.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Meat Maffia

Meat is the norm. Wherever one goes for a meal, there is meat on the menu. Or fish for that matter. Vegetarian? Sometimes, for the nerdies, the weird people who whine about animal rights etc.
In an article in the NRC by Dr. H.M. Prast, she argues that our enormous meat consumption is leading to hunger. She suggests that this mentality could be changed by giving people a choice: meat, fish of neither. She tells how at a dinner she was offered a choice, and that her very selection gave her the opportunity to explain why she chose not to eat meat or fish. In itself proof of her theory that meat is the norm.

And so it is. When ordering sandwiches for a meeting, they automatically include lunch meats. Would anybody complain, if they were offered a vegetarian lunch?

Good vegetarian meals are delicious. But even I, when I cook for a crowd, cave in, and offer an animal.

Right! So that is a thing of the past. From now on I will invite the discussion by making non-animal the norm at my table. Even for carnivores!

I’m not weird, just trying to change a mentality.