Archive for June, 2008

find-your-restaurant agony

June 15, 2008

Two weeks ago I was forced into the role of the Restaurant Finder. In Amsterdam. I haven’t even lived in Amsterdam since 1989. Also, we lived at the Weesperplein, which is outside the horseshoe-shaped grachtenring and far away from the stretch of the Singel between the Dam and the central station, where my party was waiting in a hotel for my expert guidance. I should have asked my friend where I had spent the night for help, I should have refused, I, ah well.

If you live in a big city, you will likely pick your restaurants according to one of the following principles: either you say something like “I’ve gone by that new Indian place at the Utrechtsestraat, it actually looks neat, shall we go there and try it?” (we did, and I found a five-inch nail in my curry). Or you say: “I’m too lazy to cook, let’s roll down the stairs and eat Chinese.” Or you are already in the middle of a city stroll when you walk past a promising restaurant; suddenly you feel hungry; you enter. The one thing that probably doesn’t happen too often is that you start walking in order to look for someplace to eat. (more…)


pick-your-restaurant agony

June 15, 2008

Every group of people that has one hour between parts of a conference, meetings or rehearsals (or especially one hour before a concert) for filling their stomachs includes, by law of nature, an experienced Restaurant Rejecter. This person’s hidden anguish expresses itself through one of the following behaviour patterns:

1) The first kind of Restaurant Rejecter jogs a few steps ahead of the rest of the group. He or she (most of the time he) approaches each restaurant from the window side, makes a long neck, tries to see what’s going on within and then simply jogs on. The rest of the group is linked to the Restaurant Rejecter by ways of invisible bonds, just as people and deamons relate to one another in the Golden Compass trilogy. Inseparable. There is no way to get away from the Restaurant Rejecter for finding your own spot, or you will face consequences nobody knows the nature of – it has never happened. (more…)

on the lack of variety in great recipes

June 7, 2008

Look (again…) in Marcella Hazan’s Classic Italian Cookbook. The text looks like she has been sponsored by the garlic and parsley industry. No wonder. Chopped garlic and chopped parsley is good in almost anything.

Why do I mention this? Well, a check-through of the recipes on this site revealed that, most of the time, I seem to be using spinach, salmon, chickpeas, lemon juice and not very much else. Many of the very best recipes are too easy for words: (more…)

bean sprout salad

June 7, 2008

My daughter is about to move to Utrecht all on her own and study there. She also wants to try eating vegetarian. This is the test. Am I able to provide some useful recipes or will she starve?

My daughter is actually her own boss, thank you very much, and she can cook. But there is no reason not to publish this bean sprout salad in any case.

A nice thing about Holland is that bean sprouts have entered the universal diet and are available fresh and cheap everywhere. Sweden has them only in Eastern markets, and I have had quite a few batches that sort of crept out of their bags. No amount of chilies can help in such a case. (more…)