Bits and pieces before I go full bore in the next few weeks on what's not healthy with the lunatic fringe of so called health and wellness (IMHO).
A new home page - a perfect lunch - July in Paris at John Baxter's flat, in a building where once lived Sylvia Beach of the legendary bookshop, Shakespeare & Co. A roast chicken & potatoes, mignonette salad, Roquefort and cherries. Simple, simple, simple and served on early Limoges plates. He bought a pile of them at a "brocante" (flea market/ junk shop) a few years ago.
John Baxter is Australian and married a French family. He is a writer on film and biographer of directors such as Federico Fellini, Luis Buñuel, Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, Woody Allen. Other books immerse you in the history, lifestyle, food and cooking of his adopted country. He also takes personalised tours of the city. https://www.johnbaxterparis
If you love film, history, France or food, you'll want to spend months with these books. (They also kindle nicely.)
The new brutalism...
Ruggedness is the order of the day in restaurant tableware and drifting into homewares, if the style influencers have their way. Rarely plates but mostly bowls, these seem to be chiselled from igneous rock, drilled from reinforced concrete, hewn from granite or gouged from cold volcanic lava. They are heavy, chip easily and must be hell to stack. (Do they offer weight bearing exercise for the staff?)
How I long for a bit of porcelain – clean, bright, tough, fine, durable.
Bowls are for toddlers, not adults.
Food nestled at the bottom of a bowl can look adorable but let’s be honest. It’s awkward to eat, especially with the fork in left hand, knife in right hand method. No wonder we’re seeing some strange cutlery holdings. (Pasta is traditionally eaten with a fork only and the side of a bowl helps with the twirling action required.) In between mouthfuls or when you’ve finished, what happens? Your cutlery falls into the bowl. How I long for a flat plate, with an edge, an edge of at least 4 cm.
The dehydrated cocktail...
Sipping your Negroni, your nose deep in the glass, you appreciate the hint of orange peel from the generous slice of fresh garnish. You can go further and spritz out the oil from the skin. But what’s this? Jars of thinly sliced orange (preferably blood orange, for appearance) dried to a crisp, now decorate the bar and your cocktail. A modern fad but where’s the aroma? Cute but no subtle layering and interplay of scent and taste.
Let’s have some fresh slices of orange or lemon, cucumber for the Pimms and celery for the Bloody Mary. These dehydrated slices also come half dipped in chocolate and they're not bad - but in drinks? Is it a case of the fad being more important than the whole?
How I long for the breakdown of all those bloody dehydrators.
Not all fashion fads need more than Andy Warhol's 15 minutes of fame. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
Help me out here. Tell me I'm dreaming, I can take it.
Comment below or simply like 🤙
A glam and modern plating of a traditional Persian / Iranian dish. Please don't call it healthy. (It is, by the way.) Just call it delicious.
There have been sad losses over the last few months. I begin to understand that one can be slim, trim, energetic, positive, clever and still get Parkinson’s, die of cancer or have a stroke. One can smoke heavily, drink cola, eat fast food, avoid fresh water, watch Channel 7, be a grumpy bugger and live well into your late eighties and beyond.
But what an incredible apparatus is the body! It continues to detox our system (with our wonderful liver) without any outside "juiced" intervention, keeps us laughing, moving, thinking.
Nonetheless, people continue to be obsessed by "health", filling their lives with fear, ritual and self-denial. I am involved in an on-line forum answering questions on food, cooking and ingredients, which is fuelling my cynicism. For some reason, I have been chosen and channelled over to the "nut-case" and lunatic fringe of so-called "health". Ah, how little they know me!
See below a random selection of questions. I am choosing to abandon my involvement rather than wait for them to ban me for my sarcastic responses.
They're selling Turmeric Lattes in Woolworths, for heaven's sake! Perhaps a mug might calm me down after my kale, kombuchu & chia smoothie.***
That said, you may be feeling a depletion of energy or health. You might need a genuine and massive ingestion of leaf greens. Try Kuku Sabzi, below.
(What is a bunch? A bunch of violets or a bunch of peonies? Impossible to measure recipe quantities like this. So I’ve done the hard work for you and weighed.)
200 gm silver beet, washed and trimmed of some part of stalk bottom.
60 gm spring onion, finely sliced, green included
20 gm dill, main stalks only removed
60 gm coriander, main stalks only removed
60 gm parsley, main stalks only removed
2 tsbp ground turmeric
teaspoon of salt
You are aiming finally for roughly 500 gm.
Purists may be horrified but I got help with the chopping – a bit of a short whiz in the Magimix, then finished by hand, chopped with a knife.
Mine were also cooked in 12 individual muffin tins and served on a creamy bed of walnut sauce and cucumber.
***Disclaimer - I never drink from a mug.
Traditional serving - cut into slices (note how a circle is cut in the centre).
Served at room temperature, perfect for a party or buffet.
Now, you know how Popeye got his strength.