MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “food”

An irresistible odour

http://www.emme-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/cc.jpgAs soon as he opened the door, it filled his nostrils. That sweet, delicious smell of homemade cookies. Christmas cookies. It was an odour that could soothe even the most anxious and aggravated of souls. He didn’t require soothing. He rejoiced in that some things in his life were the way he wanted them to be; at least most of the time.

Baking, or cooking, they say is an art. But the secret ingredient to every meal, dish or sweet is something that is not written in any recipe. It is the feelings you put into whatever it is you’re making. This is what makes your food simply irresistible (there is a relevant movie about this!).

Just like everything in life, we create through the emotions that build up inside us. We often also bring our own destruction by holding too many things inside. But we need to keep finding ways to turn those intense feelings into something creative. Something that will be enjoyed by all and will ultimately make us feel better.

This is what he wanted when he insisted so much on baking the cookies. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, he stated, and this meant doing fun things with the people you love. It was not a time for bickering, but one for laughter and joy. Isn’t that the point of it all anyway? To feel loved and be happy?

 

Happy Holidays!

 

Healthy Summer Food

Summer foodIt is quite difficult in those scorching summer months to find something light yet filling to eat and satisfy your taste buds. Because under the heat and the need to simply relax and do as little as possible, cooking becomes one of our lesser-thought-of chores. It is during the summer, though, that we re-consider our nutrition choices and re-instate the determination to eat healthy.

The summer months have the added value of offering a wide range of succulent and ripe fruit and vegetables, which we can use in all sorts of combinations and recipes, with exquisite results.

This is when being a vegetarian pays off, because of the abundance of options broadly available.

Take for example this all-natural recipe (photo): potatoes, aubergines and courgettes, cut in thin layers and lightly cooked, placed below a layer of slowly-cooked natural tomato purée. Best served with feta cheese and fresh bread.

But why would your choice of nutrition have to be seen as a handicap? Why is it that in some places, when you say you don’t eat meat, you are treated as someone who is picky, quirky and fussy? Why is it that when you ask for a “special meal”, due to your vegetarian needs – whatever reason these may come by – you are suddenly presented with some water-boiled vegetables, as if that is the only thing that may be available to your “demanding requirements”?

It is actually not very difficult to cook up food that can suit everyone’s dietary needs. All it takes is some imagination and some compromise. By accommodating nutritional preferences, it would also demonstrate respect for people’s options and choices.

It may be a small thing, but such issues open up even bigger ones, underlining the need to relish in the passions we share, as well as accept the differences that characterize us.

We all have different levels of intelligence, perspectives, tolerance, and patience. And it is true that nobody is perfect, but in our own little ways, we all to some extent can touch upon our own version of perfection.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Perfection

Experiencing a rainbow

https://kidsarefrompluto.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/dsc_00451.jpgIt is undeniable that the key to your health lies in your diet. It is not only about the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat, but also about the color of the food on your plate. In short: the more colorful your diet, the more antioxidants you get.  We need a colorful plate of food in order to be more appealing, but also to ensure that we receive a wide range of healthy and necessary nutrients and vitamins.

But it’s not only in food that we need color.

Every aspect of our lives needs to be as colorful as possible. That is how it becomes more interesting and certainly more fun.

It is the same reason why winter months are associated with dark and dull colors, while spring and summer are characterized by a surge of bright and lively shades that generally also help lift our moods.

Not everything is black and white. And we need color in our lives to prove that we too hide inside of us a rainbow of emotions and moods that can be unleashed according to emotional state.

If you’re quiet, you’re not living. You’ve got to be noisy and colorful and lively.” –  Mel Brooks

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Colorful

Something about food

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/sites/default/files/recipe_images/recipe-image-legacy-id--1273545_8.jpgFrancine was not a particularly chubby little girl. She was actually not chubby at all. You might even say she was underweight for her age and height. But she loved to eat. She enjoyed every food she tasted. She said that if you couldn’t relish in the feast of flavours that awakened your taste buds, then you might as well not be eating at all.

Francine knew not only how to eat well, but also how to cook it too. She delighted in experimenting with new ingredients, with the most unexpected combinations, and cooking up new recipes that she could then present and amaze her guests. It was something different and certainly something remarkable.

Her favourite of all, however, was dessert. She knew well that people always wanted something sweet after any dish and acknowledged the importance of serving a dessert that melted in your mouth, arousing your senses.

And the best ingredient of all to do this was, of course, chocolate.

That is what she was melting to pour on top of the new vanilla and nut cake she had just made the day the doorbell rang.

She turned off the stove and took off her apron, as she opened the door.

He was standing there like a deity, unaware of how his eyes glistened as they reflected the sunlight from the open balcony door behind her.

Hi,” he said, staring at her, mesmerized.

He was a delivery man who had just brought Francine the new cooker her godmother had sent her from Australia.

That was the day her life changed. And it was not just because of the better quality food…

A worthy meal

champagne-and-oystersHe spent his last £30 on a plate of oysters and a glass of champagne.

He didn’t mind that he would now be broke. It was worth it. The oysters were exquisite and the champagne was bubbly and fruity. Not that he had anything to compare them to.

He had just arrived in the country he now called home. He was one of the thousands who believed fleeing from the only home you know was the single chance you had for a tomorrow. The future was all he would think about when he stepped his trembling body into that rocking boat. He didn’t know where he was heading to, but looking back at the fire burning his village, he knew forward was the only way he could go.

Life is full of surprises, they say. For when he reached the shore, the informal “welcome committee” consisted of one of his cousins who had arrived a couple of years ago. Following a reunion that alternated between tears and jumping jacks of joy, he soon found a new home, even if just a temporary one.

However, finding work was not easy. There were so many unskilled workers asking for jobs, the competition was so great, that it all came down to who would accept less.

His first job interview failed because he couldn’t understand what the employer was saying.

His second because he couldn’t respond fast enough.

His third because he did not give adequate replies.

His fourth because his reply to the question “where do you see yourself in five years” was “alive”.

His fifth because he was too old for the job.

His sixth because he had no experience for it.

His seventh because they had already hired the person before him.

He needed money somehow. He needed food. His stomach was already grumbling and he could not continue to live off his cousin forever. It was not proper. All he had left was £30, which he insisted that he would soon pay back no matter how much his cousin refused. His meals had consisted of bread, cheese and apples, as little as he could eat a day in order to save the cash. But he was now drained. He needed a proper meal.

Autumn had settled in and the brown crispy leaves crackled under his feet as he tottered pensively along the central avenue. The rain began to fall, slowly at first, caressing his stress-sweated face, and then rapidly like a torrent attempting to cleanse out the pain of his soul all at once. He stood still in the street, as people all around him rushed for shelter. He had lived through worse. A little rain would do no harm. On the contrary, it was welcome. The avenues began to fill with water like empty tanks fill up. The hundreds of fallen leaves had blocked the gutters, tapping all the water into the streets. There was no outlet for the water that was now raging from the dark sky.

He looked around and saw cars struggling to move ahead, pedestrians getting soaked. And there was so much noise – the honking, the screaming, the thunders, the rain…

He looked down at his feet, which were by now in a puddle of rainwater mixed with black-trampled-on-leaves. Right in front of him was a blocked gutter. If he could just remove the dirt, he would manage to alleviate some of the gushing water and perhaps restore calm. He took a fallen branch from a nearby tree and began to clear out the gutter. He then proceeded to the next one further down, and the next one. By the time he reached the top of the avenue where all the fancy and elitist restaurants where, the rain had diminished to a drizzle. Exhausted as he was, he stopped to check the result of his feat. The roads had mostly cleared from the rain, everyone seemed less annoyed, and it was quieter now.

The smell of wet leaves reminded him of how hungry he was. He stepped into the restaurant in front of him and ordered a royal lunch. He didn’t care people looked at him disapprovingly. In his one month there, he had done more for them than they had even thought of doing for him. It was time to live in the moment. When he saw a municipal worker approaching him with an applauding smile on his face, that was when he thought that just maybe, that moment would give something back.

The story was an entry in the Guardian Masterclasses blog competition.

Find your melons here

Farmers-Markets-1-640x425On a sunny Saturday morning, most people would like to sleep in – well a little later than usual that is – and maybe pass the rest of the day calmly, relax and have fun. I would know. I like to sleep in on weekends. But recently I have discovered something different for a Saturday morning. A place where you get fun, excitement, humor, puns, fresh food, smells of all sorts, and a lot of pushing and shoving. Something like a merry-go round only cheaper. And you get food out of it.

Farmers’ markets have been around for centuries. Producers get up even before the break of dawn to set up stalls with their fresh produce, ready to advertise that “they have the best [enter product here], yes it is true!”. They are markets that exist worldwide and reflect their local culture and economy. And (I never thought I would say this) but you can actually learn and observe a lot by visiting one.

For starters, even if you made an effort to get out of bed at 10am on a Saturday in order to go and purchase (cheap) fresh fruit at the market, the farmer who encourages you to taste before you buy, has been there since at least 5am and for him 10am is as good as noon.

You have so many stalls and products to choose from. The prices are evidently much much lower than at a commercial market, and the products are markedly better. Producers even cut open fruit and vegetables to demonstrate their freshness and ripeness. And you can actually smell that natural scent that unprocessed food is supposed to have.

Then if you visit such a market a couple of times, you realize that each producer has their own post. And they remember you. They might (eventually) even give you lower prices, since you’ve become a “frequent flyer”.

But the best part of the market, is observing the people there. The originality in the yelling that goes on to advertise the produce – “I’ve got the best melons, yes I do. Good for me!”; “You won’t believe the cherries I’m selling today”; “I’m practically giving my pears away”; “Hey lady, where are you going? You won’t see oranges like these elsewhere!”; “Sir, how about these fresh from the ground potatoes?”.

Then you see all these (mostly older) people pulling their market cart along and selecting the best produce with which to fill it up with. And they stop in the middle of the really narrow makeshift corridors, forcing the one behind who was abstractly glancing at the prices of the stall on the left to bump into them, and causing a pile-up of shoppers and trolleys, stepping on a few feet in the meantime. And the pushing and shoving is not something fun either.

But at the end of the day, you get fresh produce that ensure a healthy lifestyle plus you’ve had your dose of human socialization and reactions for the week!

It also shatters the delusions that farmers are folk of the lesser kind who simply grow crop and then try to sell them. From what it seems, they are the ones closer to nature, who still have a job, and who know how to appreciate the goods of life. So next time you see a farmers’ market, take a stroll over, you might even learn something while getting a taste of real food.

Post Navigation