One has to watch one’s diet, hasn’t one? But not today, today’s the weekend, it’s Saturday, I have better things to do than to watch anyone’s diet, I’m me today, and me, myself and I, we all want carbs! “One” is therefore overruled. And let us tell you, “us” being the carblover’s pluralis majestatis, we had twelve of those little sugar-coated things, and they were just great! On Monday, we shall turn into decent people again as one has to watch one’s diet, hasn’t one?
Fall is near, autumn, too. Even cappuccino cups remind us ever so ostentatiously that summer will soon be over; way too soon, if you ask me. Summer, however, fights back big time; the moment, I took this photo, temperatures resembled the ones of a heatwave, 32 degrees Celsius. But, alas, we cannot be fooled, can we?
It was not a typical day to be spent outside, the weather forecast for that day had insisted on us staying in, it was really rainy and windy, puddles all over the place, leaves everywhere, but we felt like catching some air in the garden, it was neither the perfect place to have crêpes, the table was ever so wet and quite dirty, too, nor the perfect time, it was way too close to dinner, we’ve had tea hours ago and so we were about to ruin our appetite, but however more of a hindrance than an invitation the moment did appear to us, we couldn’t help ourselves and have crêpes, drenched in sugary Cointreau, right that moment, right then and there… Boy, were they yummy!
When in Paris, it’s one of my strange habits to have the first coffee in the day in the Marais, don’t ask me why, there are perfectly fine alternative locations all over Paris, but no, it has to be the Marais, Paris’s oldest quarter, you won’t find much of Haussmann’s architecture here, it’s filled with beautiful hôtels particuliers, the residences of the aristocracy, erected hundreds of years ago, and still teaching us lessons about grandeur, in comparison, the front door of Mrs Kennedy’s lodging on Park Avenue appears to me like the back entrance to a dubious embassy of a totalitarian country with a laughable gross national product, sorry, New York, and don’t get me started on Trump and his golden tower, anyway, the Rohans and consorts had much better housing, one of those palaces, that’s what these hôtels particuliers really are, palaces, now houses the Picasso Museum. Then there’s Place des Vosges, a cliché, I know, but I have to pay it at least one visit each time I’m there, it actually looks nicest off season, in January, early in the year and in the morning, on a frosty day, void of people and tourists, under light snow, when only birds have left their prints, I like it in the rain, too, a little morbid, but I rather hate it when it’s full of people in summer, people with too much time on their hands ruin everything, loitering with intent, thirsty for a tan or whatever they do on a lawn – I do sound misanthropic, don’t I? Don’t get me wrong, I like people. Just not in places that look better without.
The best thing about my Zurich apartment was the coffee downstairs at Totò’s. Whenever I would leave the house and feel like taking it slowly, I’d sit down and order a double espresso before taking my tram, heavy stuff, bitter and strong, awfully good, and while I was sipping it, I’d watch my neighbourhood, that beautiful Seefeld scenery, from a different angle, not as usual from my third floor balcony, through my olive trees’ leaves, but at ground level, quite a change, it’s true what that teacher in Dead Poets Society says, you should change your perspective from time to time, it’s quite invigorating, and thanks to Totò’s, I didn’t need to climb on anything, I just had to make it three floors further down.
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.
Quarkbällchen, curd balls, are best when dipped in hot coffee. They soak your morning blend all up, mine is an organic single origin from Ethiopia at the moment, and the sugar coat sweetens it ever so crispily. It’s really the best start in the day. Just make sure to be alone when you take your breakfast like that. Eating them like that, one tends to look like a toothless old caveman. It’s not very becoming. If you want to get rid of your partner though, you better start a curd-ball-coffee-dipping-diet right away…
You’re tired, you miss your bed the minute you get out of it, then you don’t want to leave the shower but of course you get out of this comfort zone, too, you get all styled up and into the kitchen, you pour yourself a coffee, and you look at this mass of vitamins and nutrients and beauty boosters you keep washing down with it and you ask yourself if it’s all worth it — and then there’s that very important beagle person who tells you everything will be fine. God bless him.
Luxembourg is a very important country to me, first of all because I spent my utterly happy childhood there, and then because it’s the place where my friend Katja lives—she’s also very important to me—which makes the place a source of constant joy. Each time she visits, she brings delicacies from beyond the German border, from a country near enough to France, Belgium, and The Netherlands to benefit from their culinary heritage. There’s Rieslingspasteitchen, Moselle wine, the best eaux de vie in the world, Framboise being my favourite, fine confiserie and patisserie from Namur, suppliers to His Royal Highness The Grand Duke, and then, most importantly, there’s coffee from Douwe Egberts, available in any supermarket in the entire Grand Duchy, which makes this country paradise on earth to me. Don’t ask me why, but Dutch coffee is so much better than any of the stuff you get in Germany, however high-toned the store, I just had a cup, au lait, this time, I know what I’m talking about. And Katja, if you read this, please come back soon and bring some more…