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From this meme (which continues to be open, btw; lots of letters still free... ::puppy eyes::), for davenport_6, who picked 'food'.

Food is a bit of an ambiguous subject for me. For one thing I've struggled with and against my weight for the greatest part of my life, so food has, on some level, always been associated with guilt -- don't eat this, don't eat that, don't eat too much. My father thought it was a good idea to take me to a nutritionist when I was around 11 or 12 (and maybe a bit overweight, but not morbidly obese or anything), which is when I got my first food calorie table. Calorie counting. Crazy crash diets (nothing but maple syrup and water; eat nothing for one or two days, and everything you want on the third; no breakfast) and slight eating disorders when I got older. About three years ago, and probably not entirely unrelated, I had some kind of gastritis thing, got antibiotics for the bacteria that caused it, and while it did get better I still have to be careful with what I eat and my stomach still doesn't react well to sweets or chocolate. And for the first time in my life I'm learning to eat (moderately) healthily and more consciously, and have stopped to constantly fight my own body.

Still, though. Food. I love food.

Maybe because I rarely bother cooking (something I got from my mother, who'll do it, but unenthusiastically), what I really like is plain stuff - fresh fruit; strawberries (Those from Austria, not the imported ones from Spain that barely taste of anything; even better when you can pick them yourselves and they still taste of sunshine and summer heat. I never wash them, I don't care what chemicals I'm eating.), cherries (Love them; my grandmother always used to make cherry cake.), peaches (The yellow ones, when they're so ripe you can just pull the skin off them... When I was a child I always ate the skin first and then the peach; messy, and my mother complained about the stains that never came out of our t-shirts, but so perfect. Also the small white ones.), pears, plums, grapes (the small Austrian ones from the vineyards in autumn, although I do like the big muscat grapes, too), water melon. Fresh figs. Salads. I love Greek salad in summer, just cucumber and tomatoes cut into pieces, onion and feta cheese, maybe olives, with a dressing of olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. Potato salad. Tsatsiki. Bread. I love bread, all kinds of bread; plain, with cheese, with butter...

Pizza (the thin Italian version, not the American one; nothing too fancy, just one or two toppings, three at most; tuna and onions is my current favourite), lasagna, Greek food (love and adore moussaka), Turkish food (if it doesn't contain too much parsley).

Chocolate. After three years I've stopped missing it so much, but bingeing (or what passes for that these days) on chocolate or chocolate related products is how I manage to upset my stomach again and again and again. There are just too many comfort food associations... My grandmother's flat had this kind of old-fashioned pantry (complete with a mouse-trap with a piece of Speck) where she also kept chocolate and cookies and Rumkugeln and I was always allowed to take something when I was watching tv there (and between that and my father's calorie counting you're-too-fat obsession no wonder I ended up as I did... *sigh*) And I love all Viennese desserts from Gugelhupf (specifically the yeast dough variety with raisins, when it's very fresh) to Germknödel.

More food memories. My great-aunt, who looked after my sister and me occasionally when we were children made a wonderful Schnitzel from chicken breast with roast potatoes. I completely loved it. My grandmother always cooked rice with... I think she put a piece of onion into it, and a few cloves, and used soup instead of just water, and there always was the brown, crusty part from the bottom of the pot. I honestly don't know how she did it, and I guess I'll never eat it like that again. Best rice ever. She also made wonderful chicken soup and each Christmas she, my aunt, my sister and I made Christmas cookies for the whole family, and we used to be so proud when we were old enough to be allowed to mix the batter ourselves... My sister and I still do it, but I kind of miss being so excited about it that I'd ring my grandmother's bell at something like 7 in the morning. These days it's always more of a chore...

Vegetables... What I don't really like is anything cabbage related, celery and spinach (although I'll tolerate it on pizza or in a Strudel); carrots are better raw than cooked, but generally speaking I really like vegetables.

What I don't like is meat, with qualifications. I'm not vegetarian, but I don't eat all that much meat either; it's a bit of a mood thing... sometimes I crave it, sometimes it just tastes too dead. Ground rule, the smaller the pieces, the better. Ground meat in a dish like lasagna is perfect, or something like souvlaki or kebap. I don't want to be bothered with sinews and bones and things I have to chew and chew on and wonder what exactly it is I'm trying to swallow. No hearts, lungs, brains, tongues, etc., which I only mention because they're kind of popular in the classical Viennese cuisine. When my mother makes chicken soup I'll eat the liver, but I always pick out the pieces of heart and dump them in someone else's plate. Roast or grilled meat is okay, cooked meat is kind of gross.

But generally speaking I'm an unfussy eater and will at least try everything put before me; I'll admit I'll cheerfully eat junk food occasionally, and to be perfectly honest while I might enjoy an incredibly sophisticated haute cuisine kind of dish, I'd be equally happy with a bowl of cherries or strawberries.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 3rd, 2008 11:31 am (UTC)
You made me hungry. I think I'll go eat a hamburger :-)
Jun. 3rd, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
Mahlzeit! :)
Jun. 3rd, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC)
I agree with you about strawberries... picking them locally is always better. When you buy them in the supermarket, they're always disappointing.

I would have loved your grandmother. It's funny you should pick out Rumkugeln, as I love those. My Aunt Helen used to make them, and there's a shop in Columbus run by an older Bavarian woman who makes really delicious Rumkugeln (and trays and trays full of other desserts, which she all makes herself: Bienenstich is another of my favorites. She makes wonderful breads, too: Brezln, which are deliciously salty and she sprinkles them with caraway seeds, and Mischbrot, which I buy and freeze and have for breakfast most mornings (because I can't really stomach many breakfast foods) as toast with currant or strawberry jelly.

My taste for vegetables has improved over the years, but there are still things I won't touch. I simply won't even try anything with mushrooms (not because I don't like them, because I don't know what they taste like, but because I'm afraid of them... I know... ridiculous). Growing up, I never cared for cabbage, but I do like it better now. I love braised red cabbage. I do like spinach if it's sauteed with olive oil and a little garlic. Beans are fine, too.

Meat... I'm picky about meat. I generally don't like too much fried meat. If I cook chicken, it's usually just baked chicken breasts (which I usually cut up and put on a salad), but sometimes I will dip the chicken breasts in a little flour, brown them on both sides in just a tiny bit of olive oil, and then pour in about a cup of water and put the lid on for about 25 minutes or half-an-hour and let them steam in the liquid. You don't get a crispy crust on the chicken that way, but they're usually very moist and tasty, and not tough at all.

As far as beef is concerned, I rarely cook anything but ground beef (in meatballs, or in my grandmother's red sauce recipe). Generally, I'll only cook a whole cut of beef if I make Sauerbraten.

I like Schnitzel, but since they usually seem to be made with veal, I don't eat it anymore. I just can't bring myself to eat veal.

I never would have thought to put tuna on pizza... Interesting.

Anyway -- thanks... that was interesting!
Jun. 3rd, 2008 05:26 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! :)

When I was a child my father always used to pick mushrooms (Eierschwammerln and Herrenpilze mostly), but we kind of stopped after the Chernobyl disaster, although I guess they'll have been pretty much safe to eat for a while now.

I never would have thought to put tuna on pizza... Interesting.

Pizza tonno is really popular at least here, although judging from the google results it might be more a German than an Italian thing... tomato sauce, cheese, tuna and onions.

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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