Posts Tagged With: Food

BITS AND PIECES

 

AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL MOMENT – LOST AND FOUND

 

 

000 bits and pieces poemThe intact pieces are a plate and, on the right, a mortarium (Reibschüssel), with a rough inner surface for grinding. In the center is a bone, once part of a meal. These objects are almost two thousand years old.  Photo taken in July 2015.


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ÉCLAIRS

 

NATIONAL ÉCLAIR DAY

 

Today, if you didn’t know it, is National Éclair Day. First created in the 1860’s, éclairs have remained a favourite ever since. And when I think of Paris, I think of delicious chocolate éclairs. The word éclair in French actually means lightning, but why these delicious treats are called that no one really knows. The dough, called choux, is delicately baked to create a hollow interior, which is then injected with a creamy pudding-like filling. Then an icing is spread on top. Some patisseries bake a solid type of choux and then cut it in half and put the filling on it, but that’s cheating and shouldn’t be considered a true éclair. Although everyone has their favourite boulangerie or patisserie, there are two places I frequent in Paris that have, in my humble opinion, the best chocolate éclairs.  One is on the Île Saint-Louis, called Boulangerie Martin on the Rue Saint-Louis en I’lle, and the other is located around the corner from Le Dôme Café on the Rue Delambre and I believe that it is called Maison Buret. At any rate it is right next door to Paradise Shoes. So, celebrate National Éclair Day and indulge in a few today. It’s almost better than sex…


000 éclairsPhoto taken in Paris in May 2012.


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A PARIS JOURNAL – A FOOTNOTE

 

One of the advantages of living in Europe is that I can have breakfast in the morning in Paris…

 

000 Breakfast P


…and have a delicious dinner at my favourite local Italian restaurant in the evening at home in Germany

 

000 Dinner W


Photo of a café creme taken in Paris and the photo of a delicious lasagna taken in Germany in May 2015.


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SPARGELZEIT

 

THE SPARGEL ORGY

 

That’s right! It’s Spargelzeit (Asparagus time) all over Germany at the moment. The large thick cream coloured asparagus spears are a much loved seasonal specialty and are different than the small thin green asparagus normally available in the United States. In Germany they can be bought in various grades of quality and are peeled with a special knife and then cooked in a mixture of water, wine and broth for about 25 minutes. Usually served with a delicious homemade Hollandaise sauce or clarified butter, together with large grated chips of hard Parmesan cheese, they are eaten with salted boiled potatoes and Parmaschinken (Parma ham) and Rohschinken (cured ham) and complimented with a cooled light dry white wine. For a few weeks, usually in early May, people prepare them at home or enjoy them in the restaurants. Freshly made Spargelcremesuppe (cream of asparagus soup) is also a tasty specialty during the asparagus season. I was invited to partake in this wonderful spring ritual by friends in Bavaria. The asparagus spears were butter soft and had a distinctive and most delicious taste. If you ever get the opportunity to participate in a Spargel orgy, I highly recommend doing so. After all, just like the asparagus, you’re only around for a short time, so why not take advantage of one of the finer things in life. It is also just getting to be strawberry season, but then, that’s another story altogether…

 

000 Spargel 2The Spargel (asparagus), boiled potatoes, homemade Hollandaise sauce and small pitcher of the clarified butter. Photo taken in May 2015 in Bavaria, Germany.


000 Schinken 1The Parmaschinken (Parma ham), the Rohschinken (cured ham) and the dry white wine. Photo taken in May 2015 in Bavaria, Germany.

(Photos kindly provided through the courtesy of DiPiero and Associates. I was too busy enjoying the meal to think about taking photos).


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Categories: Food, Perspective, Photography | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

MEALS

 

DINNER FOR ONE

 

Dinner for one is always a drag. Cooking for two or more people is more fulfilling, but since I live alone, I’m stuck with having to cook for just me. Back in the 1990’s I was pretty conscientious about cooking. But at some point around the turn of the new millennium, I slacked off and got lazy. A lot of that had to do with my work schedule. Working long hours outside in all kinds of weather in archaeological trenches is not very conducive to coming home in the evening and getting all enthused about spending a long time in the kitchen. So on my shopping excursions I would do something like buy a few bags of cheese or meat filled tortellini in the refrigerated section, a couple of jars of Italian sauce and then for dinner open a bag and a jar up, throw in some garlic and chili powder, mix it up and pop it into the microwave. Or I’d open a can of thick potato stew with pieces of frankfurters, add some curry powder and nuke that. It was fast, easy, filling, required minimal clean up and very unhealthy.

I ate like that for longer than I’d care to admit. My excuse was that I was just too tuckered out to start cooking when I got home. When my daily routine changed though, due to the back and knee problems caused by all the years of that wonderful archaeological work and I was taken off of the field work, with more regular hours, I didn’t change my eating habits. That is, until I woke up one day and realized that eating all that processed garbage was eventually going to kill me. So I went back to cooking, leaving all that processed food behind. These days I eat salad once, sometimes twice a week and usually cook two nights during the work week, making enough at each cooking session so that the next day I can enjoy the leftovers. I am not a great cook, I keep it simple, but it has to have good ingredients and it has to taste good, preferably very spicy. That is very important. On Saturdays I allow myself the luxury of my continental breakfast at the bistro and in the evenings my lasagna at my favourite Italian restaurant. That’s a bit more carbohydrates than I would prefer, but everything thing there is homemade in the truest sense. Since going back to really cooking I feel so much more healthy and much happier about what I eat. And, to keep my weight in check, most of the year I try to maintain a low carb diet, leaving out the sugar, chocolate (the hardest part, because I am a chocoholic), cakes and pastries, and potatoes, noodles, and especially bread. Living in a country where there are more different types of bread than in the rest of the world combined and wonderful fresh rolls and pastries, I didn’t think I could live without bread. But I manage. I will indulge in a bit of rice, and if I have noodles I use rice noodles. Of course, there are two occasions during the year when I do indulge in forbidden fruits, one being whenever I am in Paris (abstinence there is ridiculous) and around the holiday season in December, when there are just, as in Paris, too many wonderful things to enjoy. Hell, you only live once. And when those two occasions have passed, it’s back to living more sensibly. A lot more sensibly than I used to…

 

000 mealsSteaming in the pan are chicken pieces spiced with pepper and chili powder,  sautéed in oil, onions and fresh garlic and simmered in a tomato sauce spiced with oregano, marjoram, basil, rosemary and a touch more chili powder and fresh garlic, with leeks, carrots, sliced olives, mushrooms, green peppers and zucchini slices, later served over a small portion of rice noodles. Photo taken in January 2015.


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© 2015 nightpoet all rights reserved


Categories: Food, Perspective, Photography, Poetry | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

BREAKFAST ON THE BLOG

 

Breakfast 14 Feb 2015

Good morning and welcome to another edition of Breakfast On The Blog. Last Sunday I posted a haiku and photo about the perfect cappuccino. I thought that today I’d share two more photos of these exquisite creations, this time sans haiku…

THE PERFECT CAPPUCCINO REDUX

Strong coffee is the oil that lubricates my life…

 

Cappuccino 2


Cappuccino 3Photos taken on February 9th and 10th 2015. Cappuccino creations by Eddy courtesy of Café Haltbar.


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Categories: Food, Perspective, Photography | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

PARISIAN MOMENTS – LIFE’S LITTLE PLEASURES

 

KEEPING IT SIMPLE BUT INSPIRATIONAL NONETHELESS

 

The other day a friend of mine commented that I wasn’t sounding very enthusiastic about returning to Paris again in the Spring. Well, I could only reply that it’s difficult to get very inspired about much of anything in the middle of a miserable Winter. So, to remove any and all doubts that anyone might have about my attitude, I am posting a selection of three of the petit pleasures I always enjoy when I’m in Paris. And believe me, I am looking forward to enjoying them again very much…

000 Paris PicnicPetit Pleasure Number One. A lunchtime picnic in a Paris park. A fresh chicken curry baguette sandwich, a chocolate tart and a chocolate éclair. Add a bottle of good red wine and I’m set to go…


000 Cafe MedardPetit Pleasure Number Two. A delicious Café Crème in the Café le St. Medard at the end of the Rue Mouffetard…


000 ContrescarpePetit Pleasure Number Three. A Pinot Noir in the evening on the veranda of the Café Contrescarpe, watching as the rest of Paris saunters past…


All photos taken in Paris in May 2013.


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A MOMENT IN TIME – THE VILLAGE OF KIEDRICH

 

CARPE DIEM

 

 

Through the many years I have lived along Father Rhine and also when working on the numerous archaeological sites scattered around the area I have taken the time to discover some of the interesting little villages tucked away in the countryside. When I was finishing up my travels in the fall of 1979 and ended up visiting a friend in Germany before planning to go back to the airport in Brussels and return to the States, the pilots of the charter airline I had come over on went on strike and I ended up being stranded for the better part of three months. I had to devise ways of keeping my head above water financially until the airline could fly again. Playing street music was one option I pursued, picking grapes in the villages along the Rhine was another.

One of the small villages I picked grapes in was Kiedrich, located near Eltville. Kiedrich is one of those typical small German wine villages situated on the south slope of the Taunus mountains, about 3.5 kilometers from the Rhine River and west of Wiesbaden. They have been growing grapes and producing wine there since at least the late 700’s AD. The village was first mentioned by Frederick, Archbishop of Mainz, in a document dated between 937 and 954 and once again in 1160 when “Scharfenstein Turm“, the tower overlooking the village was under construction. Nearby is the Cistercian monastery of Eberbach, parts of which were used in the 1986 film of Umberto Eco’s The Name Of The Rose directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud.

Kiedrich is home to the Catholic Parish Church of Saint Valentine, which was completed in 1493. It contains the oldest playable organ in Germany with approximately 950 pipes. The organ dates from the Late Gothic period. The church is also home to the Kiedricher Chorbuben (the Kiedrich Choir), a choir of boys and men, and in recent years girls too, which has, according to documents, been practicing a special Mainz choral dialect of liturgical Latin plainsong at the services since 1333. This is the only place where this dialect is still preserved. The oldest bell of the church was cast in the year 1389 and is still rung today.

High quality wines are grown in Kiedrich. The vineyards of Gräfenberg, Wasseros, Klosterberg, Sandgrub and Turmberg, and the larger wine-growing area of Heiligenstock are said to produce some of the Rheingau’s top wines. The wines produced here are noted for being delicate and well balanced. I was happy in 1979 to participate in picking the grapes that produced some of those fine traditional wines. The photos below were from a visit I made to the village in 2008.

Saint Valentines 1A close up of one of the doors to the Church of Saint Valentine.


Saint Valentines 2The bell tower of the Church of Saint Valentine.


WinehouseOne of the typical Weinlokals in the village where you can get a good meal and excellent wine in an atmosphere of tradition and history.


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A PARIS MOMENT – INDULGENCE

 

PAMPERING THE PALATE

 

If you travel to Paris be advised, leave your diet at home. Every street, every narrow alley it seems, has a boulangerie or a pâtisserie with a window full of glorious gateaux, beautiful baguettes and other mouth watering tempting treats. Not to indulge in these feasts is unthinkable.

pâtisserie is a legally controlled title that may only be used by bakeries that employ a licensed maître pâtissier (a master pastry chef). He has a long apprenticeship behind him and has passed a master’s written exam along with an evaluation of his skill in pastry making. An artisan boulangerie makes and bakes its bread and other baked goods on the premises. In France there are more than 34,200 artisans boulangers who bake some 70% of the total amount of bread consumed. All told there are more than 35,000 boulangeries in the country; that’s one bakery per 1,800 people. Unfortunately this number has been in decline for a while. In 1970, there were more than 45,000 boulangeries. 32 million baguettes are eaten daily in France and 3.7 million tons of bread are consumed every year.

I have no idea how many boulangeries or  pâtisseries there are in Paris, but they probably number in the hundreds if not at least a thousand. Just make sure you take the time to enjoy some of them when you visit. Once you return home you can get back to that diet…

Bakery 2The selection of treats seems endless.


 Bakery 1You could spend weeks just going from one boulangerie or  pâtisserie to another.


Photos taken in Paris in November 2007.


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© 2015 nightpoet all rights reserved


Categories: Paris, Perspective, Photography | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

BREAKFAST ON THE BLOG

Breakfast December 7 2014

Good morning and welcome to another edition of Breakfast On The Blog. This morning just a very simple but poignant message for you to contemplate…

000 Monsanto 3Fight Monsanto, boycott all GMO products, demand labeling. It’s your life that is at stake along with the lives of all the rest of us…


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A PARIS MOMENT – THE DEATH OF REASON

 

You stand before the window, wide-eyed and almost drooling. And then comes that moment of decision, when you toss your diet and discipline into the Seine and abandon what little resolve you had left and submerge yourself in an orgy of sensual gratification sans guilt…

 

000 Shop WindowPhoto taken in Paris in February 2007.


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© 2014 nightpoet all rights reserved


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BREAKFAST ON THE BLOG

 

IMG_3043

 

Good morning and welcome to another edition of Breakfast On The Blog. Back in the days when I was much more active on Facebook than I am now (I refer to it as Farcebook nowadays) I used to do a post each Saturday evening called The Lasagna Chronicles (these days it is sorely missed by the multitudes of readers who once followed it, if I can judge by the volume of fan mail overflowing my inbox…yeah, right). It grew out of my regular habit of having a fantastic serving of lasagna every Saturday night at my favourite local Italian restaurant (if you have to have something to look forward to in life, why not a great hot spicy steaming lasagna dinner?). So today I am going to rerun one of those Lasagna Chronicle posts for your perusal…


 

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome once again as we take you beyond reality, beyond belief, to a place where time itself stands still, where things are not quite as they seem, where you will enter that place in space and time known as…The Lasagna Zone.

Tonight we bring you:

The Attack Of The Giant Mutant Lasagna

 

Space. The new frontier. Vast empty expanses of void. Temperatures cold enough to freeze already frozen things hundreds of times over. And then, the radiation. Radiating everywhere. Deadly rays just wishing they could find something to mutate. And sometimes they do.

Scientists believe that it all began when one of the International Space Station astronauts mistakenly jettisoned his lasagna dinner when he mistook the garbage disposal chamber for the microwave oven and put his lasagna dinner in and pushed the button. Swoosh. The world`s first orbiting lasagna. That was many, many years ago. That ultra frozen lasagna circled the Earth and absorbed incredible doses of radiation that apparently had their effect upon its organic composition. The radiation had finally found something to mutate and it went at it with a vengeance.

Shift forward in time, many years later. A small Midwestern town. Saturday night. And there’s a dance going on at the local VFW hall, a combo line dancing hip hop event. Two teenagers, Buford and Mabel have been there s while and are getting bored. “Buford,” says Mabel as they`re jumping and bouncing along in a line, “I need a cigarette break. How `bout you? Let’s go outside for a spell.”

This slowly sinks in, through the noise and the activity. Buford`s not the brightest bulb in the box. “Yeah, I reckon that`s not a bad idea Mabel.” And they both head to the exit and out into the night. It`s summer, some stars are out and the moon is bright and full. As he lights up his cigarette Buford says, “Say, how’d you like to go down to the pond in my pickup truck and see if we can hear any o’ them ol’ bullfrogs?”

Now Mabel, busily puffing away on her cigarette, her filament`s not the brightest on the block either, thinks that Buford`s suggestion is hunky dory so they climb into his truck and rumble off down the road, taking a turn to the right after a mile or so, first down a gravel covered and then just dirt covered road to the pond. Despite it being such a nice night, they`re surprised that no one else is down there listening to the frogs. They pull up to the pond`s edge and climb out of the truck. “Damn,” says Buford, “Just listen to them buggers croakin’. They`re right loud critters.”

Well, Mabel`s not really paying him much attention, because, at the dance she downed about three Cokes and a Moonpie and now she`s caffeine`d out and up to the brim with pee. She’s got to use the facilities. Like ten minutes ago. So she explains to Buford that she`s going to head off over behind that small ridge and relieve herself. Buford says “Okay.” He’s still thinking about the bullfrogs. What neither of them notice is that, over in the direction of the ridge, there`s a strange faint orange yellowish glow. And beneath the constant croaking of the bullfrogs there is an unexplainable crackling noise.

About ten minutes later Buford is still happily chillin’ on the frogs when it finally dawns on him that Mabel hasn’t returned yet. He thinks for a minute and then calls out to her. “Hey Mabel! Everything comin’ out alright?” There’s no answer. All he hears are the frogs. “Mabel?” he calls into the dark, over the ridge. No reply. So, he figures she must be funnin’ him and he heads up over the ridge to look for her. As he reaches the top and looks down the other side he notices two things. One is that the area is bathed in a dim orange yellowish light and the other is that he sees one of her shoes lying on the ground about 20 yards down the slope. Her left shoe. “Damn,” he says half aloud, half to himself, “What’s she doin’ losin’ her shoe? Shit, now I gotta go pick it up.” So Buford ambles down the hill in the serious moonlight and reaches her shoe. He picks it up. There`s something sticky and gooey hanging off it. He thinks, “Damn, I hope she didn’t shit in her shoe.” And then, suddenly, the air is filled with a strange odor. And then he sees that he’s casting a shadow and that something is glowing behind him.

Buford turns around slowly, and even his rather dull comprehension snaps into reality as he stands there looking into the countenance of a Giant Mutant Lasagna! In front of the monster Lasagna, covered with tomato sauce and melted cheese is Mabel’s pretty party dress, the one with the blue violets on it. Only Mabel isn’t in it. The Lasagna begins to move towards him, at a speed faster than he would have thought possible. Buford’s only got one thought on his mind, “I gotta get to my pickup truck and get my shotgun.” He turns and runs up the slope, dropping Mabel’s left shoe. The Lasagna slides effortlessly after him. Buford gets over and down the ridge and stumbles up to his pickup truck. All the bullfrogs are strangely silent now. The whole area is bathed in this grungy orange yellowish glow. The air has a distinct cheese-like smell and there is a crackling noise. Buford yanks the driver’s side door open and reaches for his shotgun. But just as he’s about to grab it the Lasagna slithers up behind him and begins to engulf him. He screams and grabs the steering wheel with both hands as it begins to drag him out of the truck. He feels it beginning to pull him further out. He releases one hand and starts pounding on the horn. It jams. The Lasagna sucks harder. His fingers start to lose their grip. The horn is blaring away. With a sickening slurp the Lasagna ingests him still screaming and then gurgling until there is only the blaring horn cutting through the night.

The Lasagna slowly moves up the road from the pond in the direction of the town. It is only a mile away. And the Lasagna has tasted blood. It is hungry. The horn suddenly stops. And as the Giant Mutant Lasagna slides up the dirt road towards the main highway the crackling noise fades. There is silence. And then, first one, and then another and then one after the other, the bullfrogs begin croaking again…

Be sure to join us again next week, same time, same channel, when once again we will take you on a journey through the Lasagna Zone…

Mutant LasagnaThe Giant Mutant Lasagna.


IMG_3047The Great Lasagna Dinner. Photos taken in October 2014.


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© 2014 nightpoet all rights reserved


Categories: Food, Perspective, Photography, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

FOOD

 

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

 

After posting about good food in Paris, I have to give this issue equal time. And I can only say that Monsanto is poisoning the world, especially the United States, wiping out and enslaving  the small farmers and opening a Pandora’s Box of unknown, untested genetic nightmares. At least in Europe they’ve had the sense to either ban Monsanto’s GMOs or require labeling. In fact, companies and farmers in the European Union take pride in advertising that their products are NOT genetically altered. In the United States it seems that people just stand by and watch as Monsanto serves them ever larger portions of genetically mutated poisonous food and blatantly bribes and buys members of Congress to pass laws allowing them to patent natural processes and operate without any kind of serious regulation. Remember one simple truth. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT…

000 Monsanto FoodPhoto by March Against Monsanto. Poster by Nightpoet.


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© 2014 nightpoet all rights reserved


Categories: Food, Perspective | Tags: , | 2 Comments

A PARIS MOMENT – MEALS I REMEMBER

 

There is some truth to the cliché “Americans eat to live, and the French live to eat.” But when you’re in Paris it doesn’t have to be ritzy, exclusive or expensive. It just has to taste good. This was an afternoon meal at one of the Jewish falafel places, King Falafel Palace, located on the Rue des Rosiers in the Marais district. I opted for the chicken curry pita plate. I thought it sounded interesting. For Paris it was reasonably priced and tasted fine. I’ve eaten in the L’As du Fallafel, which is just next door and somewhat better, but it is usually much more hectic and crowded. Of course, there are always those Americans who end up in a Parisian McDonalds or Subway (roll of eyes). And then there are those who end up in La Closerie des Lilas, where you can pay €160 (about $226) for a dinner and drinks for two on the terrace. The exclusive restaurant is even more expensive…

000 Curry ChickenPhoto taken in the Marais district in Paris in July 2014.


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