Julia, Meryl and I make Boeuf Bourguignon.

In the 1960s and ’70s, Julia Child, that marvelous home cooking enthousiast, taught us how to cook bœuf bourguignon, and all the other great French recipes, Meryl Streep did some sort of re-editing in 2009 with Julie & Julia, and although I had known about bœuf bourguignon before, I must admit that both Julia Child and Meryl Streep are to blame for my constant trying of making the perfect (let’s shorten it) b.b. ever since I first saw the picture. This Easter Sunday, however, when making b.b. at my parents’ place, I was left to my very own devices, meaning I had neither a cook book nor a DVD at hand, and so I had to put all my beef in one basket, and to rely on my not too trustworthy memory. Well, I could have done better, my b.b. was certainly not a price winning dish, but it wasn’t too bad, either—as a matter of fact, there were no leftovers…

Life saving chicken soup.

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My mother believes in chicken soup to cure anything. Anything that makes you cough and feel like la dame aux camélias at least, even if your name is neither Marguerite nor Violetta and you have never worn a single camellia in your entire life. Not even in your lapels on Coco Chanel’s birthday. Anyway, in my case, tragically a less romantic one, my mother came to kill the germs that caused my pneumonia – which quite boringly I did not get by kissing a guy while becoming acquainted with enough of his germs to catch such a disease, as Dionne Warwick keeps suggesting, and even more boringly so it’s just a severe case of pneumonia and not tubercolosis, so I still won’t make it to the Magic Mountain (prosaically known as Davos-Dorf) and be able to feel like one of Thomas Mann’s tragically coughing heroes.

But I’ve been digressing, let’s get to the point: my mother came with pigeons that appeared to have led a happy life from her weekly market instead of chickens as she deeply disapproved of the chickens the supermarket had in stock and remembered that the Buddenbrooks always had “Täubchen” when they needed some strengthening, you see my family and I refer a great deal to Thomas Mann’s literary outcomes, one could say on a daily basis, anyway, along with the pigeons she brought multicoloured organic vegetables, green, orange and red for colour and vitamins, in other words red peppers, carrots and leek, she also brought chillies, the ones that set your tongue and throat on fire, bayleaves, olive oil, the slightly bitter one as only bitter olive oil is to be trusted, the rest might be useful to fry French fries in, alright, at McDonald’s or what ever they call these places nowadays, you see, my mother wildly disapproves of junk food, but you might have guessed that by now, anyway, she also brought organic pepper, black and white, to be crushed in absurd quantities into the soup, and vast amounts of French garlic, it’s very important that it is from France, please forget all about the one from China.

I ate it all up. It was very yummy. And indeed, I feel a little better. Just my tongue’s still on fire.

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