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

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

In a system as perfect as this, you only have to be deprived of breakfast to become unpredictable.

Jean Baudrillard, from “Cool Memories II, 1987-1990


Notes: Quote via finita–la–commedia. Photo: Count Gracula by ostdrossel.com.  What a Grackle?

Running Away. From the Salt Benediction.

 

We have a bad situation here. (Very)

One needs to take personal accountability. Yet, if I could, I would, find anyone, anything, to blame. 

The digital Nokia scale (Nokia Body Cardio WiFi Smart Scale in Black) was a Christmas gift from the kids last year. The gift wasn’t a subliminal message, but a blow with a blunt instrument. They see it, I can’t hide it. Man boobs. Pooch maturing to hang belly. And everything else, sliding, down, down, down.

So, for the next ~320 days, the morning ritual is the same. Step on the scale. Step off the scale. The Scale wirelessly sends the data to the iPhone app. The app fires off a notification:

“New weight measurement available.  Stepping on the scale every morning and opening Health Mate regularly will help you stay on track.” 

Right. Right.

Tuesday:

Nokia alert: “Good job. Your weight is up only 0.3 lbs from the day before.” Monday. Box of chocolates from colleague as a holiday gift along with a thank you note. A constant beckoning presence on my desk, a siren call. I put the conference call on mute. Pop a chocolate covered caramel in my mouth. Close my eyes. Let that blessing melt down my throat. [Read more…]

About right…


Source: Pinterest

What’s better than this? (NADT)

It’s 3:12 pm. I’m in the middle of a meeting.  I sneak a peak at my emails…it’s Christie: “looks like this would be a hit…” (She’s thinking Pavlov’s Dog)

She attaches a link for Peach Cobbler Cheesecake.

I tuck my phone out of sight under the conference table and click the link. It springs open on the photo.

And for the next 3 hours:

Thought Spiral! Peaches, Cream Cheese, Golden Graham Crust, Butter, and more.

Rating: Can’t stop at 2 servings!


Notes: (1) Inspiration: Thank you Christie. (2) Photo: Susan; Baker: Susan. Thank you! (3) “NADT”: Not a Damn Thing!

Walking Backward. From The Road.

Think back to when you were a child, it’s Christmas Eve, and your eyes scan the packages under the tree. “Not before 7 am!”  The hands on the clock are stuck in some alien, viscous slurry.

Now, place yourself at the gates of Epcot, the opening day of the International Food & Wine Festival. It’s 7:45 a.m., the gates open at 8 a.m. Throngs of tourists mingle anxiously. Selfies. Smartphones. Strollers. And, Scooters, so many scooters, for the less mobile. (And I’m being kind here.)

There was the new ride  Soarin‘.  Warnings: Motion sickness? Fear of Heights? I look left and right and find no one but me griping the armrests. When did you get so fearful? So timid? Then there was The Seas and the Bomouth Guitarfish, a scary looking cross between Shark and Manta Ray. Then Frozen. Then Nemo. Then Living with the Land, a ride through horticulture and aquaculture. This was followed by a one-hour guided tour called Behind the Seeds. Hydroponics, a subset of hydroculture, a method of growing plants without soil using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. And Aeroponics, the process of growing plants in air or mist without the use of soil.

It is here that the tour seems to hit bone. We are walking through four greenhouses. Plants spinning on mechanical pulleys. And, plants growing in white sand, being fed nutrient drips. And fish, in tanks – sturgeon, bass, catfish, tilapia. Circling round and round, being fed on the clock.

This World, sterile, Man-Manufactured. No insects. No birds. No dark, rich soil. [Read more…]

Before Air-Conditioning*

Later on, in the Depression thirties, the summers seemed even hotter. Out West, it was the time of the red sun and the dust storms, when whole desiccated farms blew away and sent the Okies, whom Steinbeck immortalized, out on their desperate treks toward the Pacific. My father had a small coat factory on Thirty-ninth Street then, with about a dozen men working sewing machines. Just to watch them handling thick woollen winter coats in that heat was, for me, a torture. The cutters were on piecework, paid by the number of seams they finished, so their lunch break was short—fifteen or twenty minutes. They brought their own food: bunches of radishes, a tomato perhaps, cucumbers, and a jar of thick sour cream, which went into a bowl they kept under the machines. A small loaf of pumpernickel also materialized, which they tore apart and used as a spoon to scoop up the cream and vegetables.

~ Arthur Miller, Before Air-Conditioning (The New Yorker, June 22, 1998)


Notes:

  • *Inspired by temperature now in Dallas, TX: 103° F and Rising!
  • Photo: Radishes by El Oso Botas. “Madrid-based, Guatemala-born and raised, photographer, food stylist, chef and digital content creator. I’ve had a keen interest in art, colours, and shapes since I was a child.” More photographs here.

Yesterday I was shucking (sweet) corn

Yesterday I was shucking corn
for supper – pulling off the green sheaths
and brushing away the silks –
and suddenly in my hand I feel the naked cob
so cool, sweet, intimate, smooth, like skin I’m holding.
And I am deeply touched with surprise and rapture.
And I think how it is to feel life in the skin,
in the touch of plant flesh (sweet milk swelling the seeds) –
and how mostly people go for days
without touching anything from the earth…
Like ivory keys
I play the kernels with my tongue:
OH
OH

~ M.C. Richards, from “Sweet Corn” (1994) in Opening our Moral Eye


Photo: Stephen Ritchie with i love corn on the cob

Running. With Restraint. And With None of It.

What do you excel at?

A) Habitual repeating. (Professional kind)

Consistent, effective execution. Compulsive in following through on commitments. Dependable. You can count on him.

And that’s life isn’t it, the antithesis of what makes you effective at “A”, makes you a disaster a “B”.

B) Habitual repeating, in bulk. (Personal kind. Random, exculpatory list below.)

  • Thoughts. (Swirling, incessant, dark)
  • Doubts. (Many)
  • Food (Binges, sugar, fast food, anything).
  • Running ‘paths’ (Note emphasis on paths and not running, there should be zero inferences to mastery in frequency, distance or pace.)
  • Blog post ‘themes’. (Note emphasis on themes. And no mention of original work.)

How many times can you spout on about the same sh*t? Let’s see. Let’s use metaphors, not your own of course. Because that would take talent, effort. How many times? Richard Powers, “A thousand—a thousand thousand—green-tipped, splitting fingerlings.”

So here we go again. [Read more…]

Truth

Here’s Pavarotti copied from an interview somewhere:

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”

Patricia HamplThe Art of the Wasted Day (Published April 17, 2018)

 


Photo: BonAppétit, Pappardelle with Arugula and Prosciutto

 

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