Cinnamon and snow.

Cinnamon, the one from Ceylon, is my favourite seasoning in winter, as far as I’m concerned, it needs cold temperatures to develop its charm, and some apples from our garden, slightly sour and ever so organic apples. All through winter, my family’s entire house smells of my mother’s cinnamon-apple-pies, flanked by some roses from the hall, like an edible version of Estée Lauder’s Youth-Dew perfume. Anyway, when we were having them some time ago, with tea of course, they’re best with some strong tea, it started snowing, which always puts a smile in my face, and then it started snowing heavily, really heavily, and then I stopped smiling and started worrying if I would make it to the station to get my train to Berlin. There were no more cars on the streets. Frozen traffic. Thanks to the only taxi company that hadn’t given up, I made it to the station, I enjoyed a 10 km/h one-man show and was deeply impressed by the driver’s unyielding performance, he laughed in the snow’s face, and it wasn’t a pretty face—if Napoleon had been surrounded by such hardy people and striving, the Russians would speak French today. But I would have made it on time no matter what though, as my train arrived four hours late. Apparently, Napoleon’s soldiers were all reborn as Deutsche Bahn engineers.

Pepper up!

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been crushing white pepper on everything I eat. Everything hearty, I mean, I wouldn’t dare to pepper up a perfectly good crème brûlée, of course. Anyway, its spicy aroma lifts up everything else, right into culinary heaven, one might say—forgive my being so enthousiastic about it, but you can transform the stalest of store-bought ravioli into a fine dish with just a bit of olive oil and some freshly crushed pepper, don’t be shy, one cannot overdose, and with all that puristic allure that comes with a meal like this, you might even appear as a hell of a cook. And if they ever find out there’s some incredibly healthy stuff enclosed in peppercorns, I will make it to my 150th birthday. At the very least!

French breakfast.

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.

In love with omelettes.

My omelettes are all a disaster. They never look like an omelette should look like. They rather look like some sort of flattened scrambled eggs, strangely stacked on a plate. My omelettes aux champignons are the worst, I always overdose with mushrooms because I sliced far too many in the first place. I just can’t help it. Then why do I continue making them, one might wonder… I’ll tell you why. Because an omelette is the next best thing to a marriage proposal. And I keep saying yes, yes, yes, a million times yes, to them…

A salad is a salad is a salad.

The best thing about dieting is the amount of salads you’re going through. French salads, Greek salads, Italian salads, American salads, basically every nation that claims to have come up with an original dressing. You do need an awful variety of salads as there’s nothing but salad to look forward to: salad for lunch, and salad for dinner, lately, I even tried salad for breakfast. And since I like them best with roasted sunflower seeds (they’re so very crunchy und yummy, plus the roasting gives the salad an air of something, well, roasted), I even put our garden’s entire bird population on a diet. Why? Joey doesn’t share food! And neither does Clovis!

The best tea time ever!

I’ve been feverish and cranky for days now, I’ve been doing nothing but coughing and sneezing and complaining about it. You see, I am a victim of the worst flu ever. I had to spend New Year’s Eve in bed, and when I finally woke up from the fireworks, which were great as I was later told, the fireworks were over. Then I slept some more. And then, my mother brought me the best tea ever, some strong Assam from Mangalam with milk, accompanied by the best sandwiches ever, basically toast, cream cheese and some herbs. I can’t say that I feel any better, but I’m certainly a lot less cranky.

Becoming a fine snacker.

There are books that just won’t let you go, you find yourself turning page after page—I guess, this is why they’re called page-turners—and all of sudden you faint from hunger. You’ve had no meal since breakfast which was, wow!, ten hours ago. No reason to get alarmed though: this is why snacks were invented. You see, you just can’t eat spaghetti with a book in one of your hands. It’ll end as a disaster. Snacks, however, demand much less attention while eating them, you probably won’t miss a word of the book you’re having with them. There’s just one thing to be aware of: The more stylish the protagonist of the book, the more stylish your snacks should be.