soft bread, the smooth sauce soaking through all of it

These urban wanderings are punctuated by brief pauses in the cafés of Neukölln to down a quick beer; prolonged pauses in the lines outside kebab shops at lunchtime, long queues…there are more kebab shops here than McDonald’s. Mauro will taste more than thirty during his stay, finally deciding on his favorite—made in a van at the Mehringdamm U-Bahn station. Crunchy slices of meat, sweet grilled onions, crisp fries, soft bread, the smooth sauce soaking through all of it, and hot, hot, hot: the perfect fuel.

~ Maylis de KerangalThe Cook (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, March 26, 2019)


Photo: geschmacks of Döner Kebab Groß

Miracle. All of it. (60 Sec)

 


Notes:

  • Image Credit: via Paper Ghosts
  • Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.

Don’t eye the basket of bread; just take it off the table

bread-basket-food

Pamela Druckerman interviews Walter Mischel, a professor of psychology at Columbia, in Learning How to Exert Self-Control:

…Self-control can be taught. Grown-ups can use it to tackle the burning issues of modern middle-class life: how to go to bed earlier, not check email obsessively, stop yelling at our children and spouses, and eat less bread. Poor kids need self-control skills if they’re going to catch up at school.

…Adults can use similar methods of distraction and distancing, he says. Don’t eye the basket of bread; just take it off the table. In moments of emotional distress, imagine that you’re viewing yourself from outside, or consider what someone else would do in your place. When a waiter offers chocolate mousse, imagine that a cockroach has just crawled across it. “If you change how you think about it, its impact on what you feel and do changes,” Mr. Mischel writes.

…He explains that there are two warring parts of the brain: a hot part demanding immediate gratification (the limbic system), and a cool, goal-oriented part (the prefrontal cortex). The secret of self-control, he says, is to train the prefrontal cortex to kick in first.

…Self-control alone doesn’t guarantee success. People also need a “burning goal” that gives them a reason to activate these skills

Read the rest of Druckerman’s column here: Learning How to Exert Self-Control

Find Mischel’s new book at Amazon here: The Marshmellow Test: Mastering Self-Control.


Image Source: Foodspotting

My Zen. Is My Zen.

donuts,bread,sweet,dessert,

It’s Saturday, late afternoon.
Dinner out? Or eat in?
I take inventory of the fridge. Eyes pan from the top shelf to bottom. Not feeling it here.
I take inventory: Sweat pants. Shower-less. Shave-less. Matted hair.
Eat in.
I grab a pencil to scribble out my wish list.  I’m about to hand it off.

No chance. You’re coming.
Why?
I’m not listening to you complain that I didn’t get you what you wanted.
Oh, come on.

The K’s are in the car.
You could have put a hat on.
I could have stayed home.
(Silence)
[Read more…]

MMMmmmm Marmalade

Orange-Marmalade-Cake

I tripped into this recipe catching up on the week’s papers. My eyes locked in on Marmalade. And I HAD to have it.  The NY Times piece by Melissa Clark was titled: Sweetness is Found In a Slice. The recipe was for British Marmalade Cake. (Who knew the Brits could bake?)

“This beautiful, tender, citrus-scented loaf cake filled with bits of candied orange peel is everything you want with your afternoon tea. The key is finding the right marmalade; it needs to be the thick-cut (also known as coarse-cut) marmalade made with bitter oranges, which will be laden with big pieces of peel. Look for the British brands in the international section of your supermarket if the jam aisle lets you down. (And not give up and use the neon orange marmalade that’s more like jelly.) Your reward is a fine-grained, not-too-sweet cake that will last for days well-wrapped and stored at room temperature (if you can manage not to eat it up all at once).”

Bottom Line: Skip the tea. (Sacrilegious for you Brits, I know). Grab a fork, a glass of cold milk and belly up. THIS IS BLOODY GOOD.

See Recipe below: [Read more…]

And so it has taken me all of sixty years to understand

Taha Muhammad Ali

Neither music,
fame, nor wealth,
not even poetry itself,
could provide consolation
for life’s brevity,
or the fact that King Lear
is a mere eighty pages long and comes to an end
and for the thought that one might suffer greatly
on account of a rebellious child…

And so
it has taken me
all of sixty years
to understand
that water is the finest drink,
and bread the most delicious food,
and that art is worthless
unless it plants
a measure of splendor in people’s hearts.

After we die,
and the weary heart
has lowered its final eyelid
on all that we’ve done,
and on all that we longed for,
on all that we’ve dreamt of,
all we’ve desired
or felt,
hate will be
the first thing
to putrefy
within us.

–Taha Muhammad Ali, Excerpt from the poem “Twigs in “So What, New and Selected Poems


About the Author:

Taha Muhammad Ali, (1931-2011), was a leading Arab poet.  He was born in Galilee and fled with his family to Lebanon after their village came under heavy bombardment during the 1948 war. In the 1950s and 1960s, he sold souvenirs during the day to Christian pilgrims and self-studied poetry at night. His formal education ended after fourth grade. Despite his spare output and lack of formal education, Ali has become one of the most widely admired Palestinian poets.  Ali’s vivid free verse conveys the moody resilience of his personality in treatments of the national grief of occupation, exile and the Palestinian Arabs’ “endless migration.” Often informed by symbols and structures from Arab tradition, Ali’s ironies stand alongside easily grasped, even universal, versions of lament: “We did not know/ at the moment of parting/ that it was a moment of parting.” Ali transmits humor, his way with a tale and his deep roots in “fatigue, hunger, vagrancy,/ debts and addiction to ruin.” Composed between the early 1970s and now, Ali’s poems are timely and affecting; his 1984 masterpiece, “The Falcon,” portrays the poet as a migratory bird indebted less to his companions than to his own “sadness… so much greater than I am.” A moving, richly poetic story, in which all the deprivations of Ali’s verse coalesce in a child’s desire for a pair of shoes, closes the collection.  (Source: Amazon)


Sources:


The Staff of Life

Man-bake-bread

If you love making bread; love the smell of bread baking in the oven and filling every nook and cranny in your house and lungs; and then love eating freshly baked bread, do yourself a favor a read this article by Sam Lief…a few excerpts:

  • Treat yourself. Put your nose in and smell the sour, yeasty draught. Inspect the slow bubbles with approval.
  • It’s the consistency of thick batter, this leaven. Flour, salt, water will follow. With one hand, you start to mix — palm passing through the cool flour, fingertips deep in sticky leaven, which squidges back through the gaps between your fingers as you close your hand around it.  Soon a wet glob of dough adheres to your hand. With your clean hand you smear a dollop of sunflower oil on the kitchen surface and, deftly as you can, you knead the dough on this, keeping it moving so it doesn’t stick. Somehow, you bring it to a rough ball — scraping it off your hands as you go – then you oil the mixing bowl, place the dough there and cover it with clingfilm.
  • If you’re like me, you’ll then watch it through the oven window — anxious, like the parent of that young baby watching, through glass, as it undergoes an operation. Oven-spring is what you’re looking for: the yeast doing its thing, lifting and slightly scalloping the edges of the loaf at the bottom, puffing the top, easing open that slash you made — the yeast offering up a last great burst of energy in the rising warmth, never more alive than just before the heat kills it.
  • No other form of cookery, to me, is as profoundly satisfying as the baking of sourdough bread. I know that I’m not alone. There are a lot of bread-heads about, and disproportionately, these bread-heads seem to be men. It’s men who get really excited about bread, its nuts and bolts, its existential appeal.
  • …a prime attraction is that I really, really like to eat bread. As a last meal, I would probably be happy with bread and butter — assuming the bread was an absolutely shit-hot sourdough, just sliced; or something beery and malted and tangy with rye, slathered with proper French butter with salt crystals in it (unsalted butter is an ingredient for cooking, not a foodstuff for eating). Lots of women — thanks to the body-fascism of the ambient patriarchal discourse, obviously — regard bread with suspicion. ‘Empty carbs,’ says my wife (when she’s not scoffing it). ‘Staff of life,’ say I.
  • Once it’s giving off that superb boozy smell and bubbling away evilly, it can live forever

Source: Aeon Magazine

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