With a little help from my crêpes.

When you’re somewhat blue, for any reason at all, or when the world seems to fall apart, or when there’s nothing really new on Netflix and you’re still angry with the producers of The Crown because that thing that happened in season 2, you know, in that episode where they had Jackie Kennedy comment disparagingly on the royal household in general and Her Majesty in particular, and then they had poor Elizabeth, as some sort of after-effect, take off all vexed to Ghana to dance away not only her marital problems but also her government’s post-colonial misconduct just to prove Jackie wrong, you do remember that, don’t you? Anyway, that thing was all made up! God bless The Guardian for their investigative journalism, it’s been a real life-saver as I had almost told anybody I know I had always known what a bitch Jackie was, and then it turned out she wasn’t a bitch at all, just the perfectly dressed, stunning little trooper she always was. In such moments of humiliation nothing presents a better cure than homemade crêpes, just spread some English orange marmalade (in honour of the Queen) and some Cointreau (in honour of Jackie’s French extraction) on it, no need to flambé the stuff, and there you go again. God save us all!

Fruit sala-la-la-la-la-la-lad.

Fruit salad for dessert is a really joyous occasion. It’s so healthy! Full of all sorts of fruits from all over the world: pears, bananas, kiwis, apples, oranges, and, well, take whatever fruit you like. And then there are some very energetic rum raisins in it… They, along with the fresh-pressed-orange-and-lemon-juice-and-williams-pear-schnapps-dressing, take away the fear you might lead the miserable life of a health-absorbed puritan. Bon appétit and cheers!

Heaven on a plate.

Sometimes, when I’m awfully low, when the world is cold, I feel a glow just thinking of Sprüngli’s Himbeertorte and the way it once looked on my balcony’s marble table in Zurich. The raspberries were red and firm and tasted like real raspberries, grown on a real field, not like these wannabe raspberries from God-knows-where, that just look good, but taste like, well, nothing, like chewable air if you do need a reference. The rest of it was sweet and soft, a creamy delight with a hint of almonds, and just to be fair, I’m giving you a similar reference: to me, it tasted like a chewable 1998 Château Yquem.

Perfection for beginners.

The recipe sounded like it presented a shortcut to paradise: apricots, honey, rosemary, lemon peel and amaretti, all blended together, quirled and layered, little bits of heaven transformed into a cake. I followed each step as described, religiously. I picked the rosemary in the garden myself, chopped it with the utmost care and precision, quite lovingly one might even say, pelt the lemon, stuffed the apricots with the amaretti, quirled the eggs and the milk, spread the honey, I did not change a single step, and if there were any justice in this world, I would have created the perfect cake for anybody into apricots. If! Instead I got a perfect mess. The morale of the story? Perfection comes in a variety of appearances.

Cake anyone?

Cake. Who could ever live without it? I don’t like to compliment myself but I am said to be a brilliant baker, just to semi-quote one of Jane Austen’s characters from Emma. However, I sometimes have neither the time nor the longing to stir and quirl some dough, peel organic lemons for flavour, go buy organic lemons in the first place, slit vanilla pods open to get some pulp, have the scent of vanilla on my hands all day and make people wonder why I sniff my fingers all the time, and then wait for the cake to finally come out of the oven, and then wait some more to let it cool off so that I can put the icing on it. That’s why I love store-bought cakes. And believe you me, the cheapest ones are the best ones. Anything with lemon, these aren’t expected to be organic of course, but you can’t have it all, or marzipan in it are my very favourites. And they are spongier than my own homemade cakes. I don’t know why though, as I said, I’m said to be a brilliant baker myself.

The Marella Agnelli diet.

Some time ago, in 2015 to be precise, when photos on Instagram were all square, I mistook myself for a food stylist and arranged everything I ate and drank in a fancy manner—a manner Marella Agnelli played a big part in, or the book on her I had just bought the same year at a Zurich book shop. I arranged müesli, tea or some cake from Sprüngli’s on some fine china, placed it on dear Marella, took enough shots to choose a best one from, and posted it on Instagram—not very successfully though, the New York Times food section never called, 23 likes just don’t turn you into an influencer, I guess. Anyway, I would have forgotten all about it, if these very pictures hadn’t attracted somebody’s attention again just now, today, after all these years, after all these billions and billions of photos we see on Instagram—it must be a sign. And so I give you the 2015 Marella Agnelli Food Shoot.

Garden party.

It was supposed to rain all day, with occasional thunder and lightning, that’s what the weather forecast said. When you’ve planned to celebrate your birthday in the garden, that’s when you start to question if there is any justice in this world. So you set two tables, you spend hours looking for the other milk jug, the one you only bought because the other one might break one day, not because you thought you ever were to set two tables identically, you check the sky every two seconds, and then you check the cookery book again, is the beef supposed to look like that? The cakes out or not, that is another question, outside they’re no longer in your way, but they might get wet, inside, no, then you would have given in, that’s not an option, so out, out damned cakes, all four of you, you made way too many, you kiss your waistline goodbye and as soon as your guests arrive you exchange the coffee cups for tea cups because nobody wants coffee, you unpack gifts, you introduce, you pour the boiling water and wait for the brew to reach its full aroma, meanwhile people decided to start with crémant, no, let’s wait till after the cake, after?, why not now, tea?, why would anybody want tea?, let’s celebrate, let’s have that crémant, oh, it’s from Luxembourg, but you said the one from Burgundy was so good, or was it the Loire, I’m cold, can I borrow a pullover, oh, thanks, don’t you have one in beige?, black is so unbecoming, can I have coffee, do you have a Nespresso machine?, why did you set the table inside, it’s such a beautiful day, rain?, why should it rain?, don’t be negative, ah, the forecast said so, okay, so there’s a table set outside, too???, let’s go all outside then, what are you cooking?, manzo alla sarda? what’s that?, beef?, is it organic?, I only can have organic stuff, organic?, well, it’s from my father’s cousin’s private herd, you know, the one with the forests, the beast lived free, it had a name for crying out loud, so yes, it is!, that’s wonderful!—oh yes, entertaining is wonderful.