You wake up, not because you wake up but because the alarm goes on, you get up and out of bed and realize it’s raining again, it’s cold, too, you can’t find your favourite sweater, the mirror tells you you look tired, you resent that although it’s true, you can’t even keep your eyes open, you try to do push-ups nonetheless, stop at 1.5 and after that you’re just about to reconsider getting up at all. But then there’s the smell of freshly ground coffee and, even more intriguing, the smell of croissants fresh from the bakery. You dodder into the kitchen and find a nice breakfast served on your favourite china, the one with your best friends on it. You sit down, eat and smile. Life’s good, even at 7:30 AM.
Actually, it’s a very common dessert in most Greek restaurants, but lately I found out that for somebody into Swiss müeslis it’s also very nice a dish when served for breakfast. Yoghurt, nuts and honey—what more could you ask for to stay slim and fit? I’m pretty sure all these nutrients on a daily basis is what turned Greek people into gods and goddesses. As for my version, it’s a politically most absurd blend of origins: the yoghurt’s Greek, the walnuts are from California, and the chestnut honey is produce of Turkish bees. The country who first came up with democracy blended with two others that have been mocking it ever since their current leaders came into power. But I was talking health benefits, not politics…
Lately, I started to eat oranges as a refreshing snack after dinner because I don’t drink them anymore for breakfast. Instead, I have a bloodbath. You see, pomegranates make the best juice, but pressing them demands a certain amount of precision, the fruit is easily cut in half, just like an orange, but don’t get fooled, the seeds are highly explosive, you don’t want to put to much pressure on the skin or they spatter everything from top to floor with their thick red juice and you end up renovating your kitchen on a daily basis and coming in late to work. And nobody, absolutely nobody wants to hear your excuse. But once you’ve developed some technique, you are rewarded with great taste and enough vitamins, flavonoids, antioxidants, minerals, and other healthy stuff to easily turn 100. Or even older. 107, for instance. Depends on how much you drink, I guess.
Breakfast, at least that’s what I’ve been told over and over again by newspapers and magazines, always quoting some doctors from lesser known universities, is the most important meal of the day, if you skip it you’ll die an agonizing death or you find yourself out of the job for performing badly any time soon, and although I can’t prove it with any medicinal facts, neither has my hair’s shine improved nor did I have fewer problems with learning Chinese, I do subscribe to that point of view as it is the only meal that includes a boiled egg. I love boiled eggs. My grandmother had them with French mustard, moutarde à l’ancienne, or im Glas, which is actually two boiled eggs with some spices served stirred in a glass, no stem, a tumbler, I’d say, and to anybody who like literary connections, like those who can’t eat a madeleine without quoting Proust, rambling on about their transporting smell and one’s childhood and all of that, I recommend Klaus Mann’s brilliant novel “Mephisto”, Eier im Glas for breakfast play a small but dramatic part in it, but I seem to digress, my eggs are mostly eaten pure and simple, some salt, some crushed white pepper, that’s it, as long as the spoon is made from mother-of-pearl and the egg cup is to my liking.
Sometimes, I find myself staring at the bowl in my kitchen where I keep fruit and vegetables that don’t like the fridge. Everything looks so good. Beautiful, really. Little works of art. Colour, form, texture, all is so amazingly well executed. I just can’t take my eyes off. Artichokes, for example. Why would you wanna hide them? You’ve got to cook them anyway. Or peaches. Beware of putting these in the fridge! I once took a bite of a peach from the fridge… Boy, did that hurt! You can’t use that much Sensodyne to protect your teeth from icy cold peaches. Especially when your fridge’s temperature is almost near zero. But bananas really don’t like the cold. There was even a Chiquita commercial about it, in the 1940s, with a song sung by a banana dressed like Carmen Miranda: …but bananas like the climate of the very very tropical equatooooor, so you should never put ba-naa-naaas in the refrigeratooooor, oh no no no! But wherever I store fruit and vegetables, they don’t last long either way. They get eaten up way too soon to really care, isn’t it a shame?
There are days when nothing goes right. Even though your favourite actress at the moment has won the Oscar for her part in The Favourite, a film that made you smile and laugh and sit in awe at the cinema, but still, that damn coffee machine keeps annoying you in the morning by spilling first water then coffee—never buy a Krups!— and the bus is late again and there’s another grey hair mocking your vanity and, well, you know what I’m getting at, don’t you? One of these days where really nothing bad happens and still you feel like life itself was a bit overrated—until you have dessert, that is. The moment you have some yummy and ever so spongy cake to be washed down with a Sauternes, bottled at a time when grey hairs were not yet an issue, then your day starts to be real’ fine. I mean, really!
This morning, I felt very French. Very, very French. So, instead of having my usual toasts with tea, I had to leave the house to get some Franzbrötchen at my local organic bakery. They are not really French like a croissant, but the Franz-part of the word comes from the time when Germany was occupied in the early 1800s, when Napoleon had just invaded the country, and he was definitely a Frenchman, a Franzos’. Nothing lasts forever, and the Russians made him go back to where he came from—later the French got sick of him, too, and sent him far off to St.Helena, an island so secluded nobody really knows where it is. Anyway, Franzbrötchen are part of the culinary leftovers of that time and I do enjoy them a great deal: a buttery, crispy, cinnamon flavoured delight to have with your coffee in the morning, and, in my case, François Truffaut’s masterpiece “The Last Metro”. As I’ve said, I felt very, very French this morning.