In France this week is dedicated to taste, la semaine du goût. The library in a nearby town organizes activities and our club participates by bringing things to taste. The club’s purpose is to foster relations, activities and integration among people from different cultural backgrounds. Everyone enjoys tasting British cakes, biscuits, scones and the like, not to mention mousse au chocolat. I shared my recent interest in raw food by demonstrating a green smoothie. Kale is not well known here although I have seen it used ornamentally (see previous post).
This was the first time I did something like this. Here everything is all set up, ready to go.
The vegetable sculptures one of the librarians makes along with any children that drop by. She raids her garden for the materials.
Ready to press the button.
About 15 people tasted and no one said beurk.
If you click on my tag word “taste”, other entries will come up, some of which are about this week in previous years.
This is the leaflet I had prepared.
Simple Smoothie Vert
269 g bananes, (3 moyen) bananas
457 g pommes (4-5) apples
49 g chou feuille (3-4 feuilles) ou autre verdure kale or other greens
12 g graines de lin (1 c. à soupe) flaxseed
½ c. à café cannelle cinnamon
Tout mixer. Ajouter un peu d’eau si nécessaire.
Blend, adding some water if necessary.
8g protéine (19% des besoins quotidiens)
134 g glucides
7.1 g lipides
634.9 g eau
fibre 22 g (109%)
oméga 3 2.9 g (98%)
oméga 6 1.1 g (37%)
saturé 0.9 g (5%)
B1 0.4 mg (38%)
B2 0.4 mg (36%)
B3 3.1 mg (22%)
B5 1.3 mg (27%)
B6 1.4 mg (91%)
B9 acide folique 92.2 µg (23%)
A 1328 IU (57%)
C 103.3 mg (138%)
E 1.2 mg (8%)
K 412.7 µg (459%)
Calcium 150.6 mg (30%-végétalien)
Cuivre 0.6 mg (70%)
Fer 2.9 mg (36%)
Magnésium 160 mg (50%)
Manganèse 1.8 mg (99%)
Phosphore 214.8 mg (31%)
Potassium 1774.2 mg (38%)
Sélénium 6.2 µg (11%)
Sodium 32.1 mg (2%)
Zinc 1.3 mg (17%)
This is Taste Week here in France. I took a preparation to the library in a nearby town as I did last year. This year I made a raw carrot confection, a version of a carrot cake. I was quite amused when someone else added their contribution to the table and it was a traditional carrot cake. Well, in the British tradition, I guess, since the frosting was made with double cream and Americans usually use cream cheese. The raw recipe was appreciated. You can find it here: http://rawfoodrehab.ning.com/profiles/blogs/become-an-ace-of-raw-cakes I added some grated ginger root to the base.
The exhibit examined another aspect of taste, that of art and having good taste or bad taste, kitsch, pop art, bling-bling. I should have taken notes as there were some ideas I found sad and for which there are answers in The Revelation of Arès. No longer knowing what is in good taste or not, not knowing what beauty is, the ideas of one class being imposed on all, crass materialism reigning, a sense of paradise lost, the relative recency of nature being considered beautiful with the conclusion that “it’s not natural to find Nature beautiful.”
There should be room for all kinds of taste; diversity is an attribute of the creation. There is no need for judgment or prejudice. There is a paradise lost which we can recreate although it probably will not resemble the images we currently have of it.
“Your head is weak and your courage wavering, therefore My Breath will continually revive your thought and heart so that you can tell what is good from what is evil in My Eyes, what is enough from what is not much and what is too much, what is beautiful from what is not, for beauty is the servant of Good.” The Revelation of Arès 12/3
The more good we create, the more beauty we will find and the more things will be alive and full of taste. Good taste.
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.” Matthew 5:13-14 (The Message)
What is the taste of truth? Is it a minor ingredient? What would pure truth be like? Overwhelming for we humans whose spiritual palates have degenerated?
Is truth on your list of what’s good? Why do we often find it so unpalatable?
Common images in our language are “the bitter truth” and the “sword of truth”. Sometimes it’s “sugar-coated” to make it easier to swallow, swallowing also being used in relation to tall tales, another euphemism for lying. …when a guy sweet talks ya’….. she was brutally honest….
On the other hand we have:
*Honesty is the best policy.
*What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.
So somewhere remains a recognition of the value and desirability of truth. But how much untruth do we recognize today? Has not lying and deception become so commonplace we don’t even realize it?
It is still a case of splinters and beams—we easily point out the lies and their effects when they come from others but what about our own? We all contribute to this universal soup; the ingredients each one of us adds make up the taste of the whole.
The first place to look is within. On the list of ingredients of my self, is truth one of the ones with so few parts per million, it doesn’t have to be on the label?
Does truth have to be bitter, brutal? Can we not be truthful and loving at the same time?
Sometimes we may lie in order to escape the reaction of the other in relation to our actions. Turn this around—what in my reactions would cause someone else to lie?
I remember sermons on standing up for what one believes. How about having the courage to stand up and admit our shortcomings? Then we need the spiritual strength to forgive, hopefully followed by even more strength so as to change.
And now for a splinter:
Last week the government was assuring us there would be no shortage at the pumps. On Friday a colleague wondered why are people filling gas cans? I remembered when I first came to France hearing the government say oh, no, we are not going to devalue the franc, no, no. And then 3 days later, they would devalue it. People are filling gas cans because they’ve been lied to before. Saturday evening there was no diesel fuel to be had in a nearby town. Yesterday the pumps were closed when no attendant was on duty as purchases are limited, when there is any fuel to be had.
Truth and trust go hand in hand. Savour the notion of being able to trust, then mix up a batch of honesty. Don’t forget a healthy dose of love and compassion.
The women at the library did a very good job of setting up an exhibit presenting a wide array of food, games and tasting. They had posters and print-outs of most food elements and displays of sugar, spices, herbs, tea, and cereals.
On this table there was a tray of banana slices, chocolate and apple pieces to be dipped in mixtures of ginger sugar, cocoa or cinnamon sugar. There was also gazpacho to be sampled and a menu game. We were to select a slip of each colour paper and put the elements together to create a dish. The woman with me was sort of saying yuck (she pulled out calf’s head), while I was thinking, hmmm, maybe, about my omelet of Savoy pink river trout with Madagascar algae juice and Sauternes jelly
One of the librarians accompanied children in composing these vegetable heads inspired by the artist Arcimboldo. She confided that she was careful not to mess the vegetables up too much so that they can still be used for soup.
On this table was a presentation of preserves and other products, some home-made, some purchased. There was a jar of Marmite (a British product that people either love or hate, it seems) but I think they should have had some toast on hand since that is how one usually eats it. I enjoyed the red pepper with saffron preserve.
Here were some jams and chutneys made by my club friends – apple and ginger, rhubarb and ginger, tomato chutney, and not in the photo, a South African preparation somewhat reminiscent of piccalilli and a Christmas chutney – all delicious.
Here you can see some more homemade jams, cookies, my applesauce cake and a coffee Queen Victoria cake. In the background are chef’s hats made by children earlier in the day.
Quite a few people stopped in and had the courage to taste. One man told us that when he was in London, the food wasn’t that great and he gained 7 kilos. I guess he had managed to eat it anyway. Most people very much enjoyed the different foods and were copying the recipes for the jams and chutneys.
The library ladies plan to do the same thing next year which gives a bit of time to prepare entries for the photo, poster, and cross stitch contests.
Food is a large part of culture. I think it is important to be open to different tastes and ways of doing things so that we rise above and go beyond culture, to realize that we are all human beings and that more than one way of doing a thing may be “right”.
A few years ago when it became apparent that many children thought fish was rectangular and milk came from cartons, the French government decided it was time to do something so that the sense of taste does not disappear completely into the bland expanse of industrialized products. France has many traditions in gastronomy and produces a great deal of high quality food products. This week is dedicated to taste.
We had our own little festival at lunch with “farcis”, a specialty my mother-in-law used to make. This could be translated as stuffed vegetables, but in this family when one says “farcis”, it is almost a term of endearment, so I am thinking “stuffies” would be a good name.
I saved up some round zucchini and Yellow Stuffers tomatoes—what luck, there was a yellow summer squash in the garden! An onion was hanging around under the counter. My husband got the sausage meat at the market from a company that raises the pigs and feeds them a lot of flaxseed.
Hmmm, I thought I had blogged about this dish already, but I can’t find it. Oh, it was just a brief reference in the post on gnocchi. It takes a bit of time to make, but it is flexible—you just take what vegetables you have, hollow them out (you can steam them to make this easier), grind that up with some ground meat, an egg, garlic, a fair amount of parsley, thyme, pepper, anything else you like (salt if you are not using sausage meat), and bake. The more different vegetables you have, the better it is, but if all you have is zucchini, that’s good too. The usual ones are zucchini, eggplant, tomato, potato, onion.
Then I cooked up a pot of applesauce and made an applesauce cake to take tomorrow to a local library which is putting on some events for this week of savours.
Some people are afraid of taste. I remember an incident when I was maybe 7 or 8. A missionary family was visiting and you know how you can tell in a group of people that something is up, without knowing exactly what? Well, I knew the daughter was getting people to taste something “weird” but I was more curious than scared, knowing full well it was not chocolate or a raisin, I ate a fried grasshopper. It tasted like grass.
Another memory I have dates from age 19. I was working at a conference center for the summer and heard people talking about anchovies. I had no idea what they were. Some didn’t mind them; others seemed to think they were so overboard as to be unfit for human consumption. On a day off, I went into town on the bus and had a pizza. When I saw anchovies on the menu, I went for it. What was all the fuss about? I wondered. They were just small fish. In later years, I greatly appreciated the ones my mother-in-law prepared, salting them fresh from the Mediterranean.
Thinking about the taste of fish reminds me of The Revelation of Arès xxx/16. “I have not two tastes. (It is) the fish nerve (that God puts) in my mouth; the griddle cake is left (to the hanged men).” Believers are not to be insipid, but full of life.
As I was reading “Wabi Sabi Simple” by Richard Powell, I got the urge to make what we Americans call English muffins. I am enjoying this book. It is a whole book to explain wabi sabi, so I certainly won’t be able to explain it here, but it has to do with the essence of life, authenticity.
I used the “Joy of Cooking” recipe, but with half of the flour being whole wheat. This is an electric griddle for making crêpes.
Here you see one fresh (meaning warm ) off the griddle with raw butter, homemade raspberry jam, accompanied by the extra-large- curd cottage cheese my husband makes for me. Mmm, mmm, good!
Bread to nourish the body, don’t forget bread to nourish the soul – The Creator’s Word.
Hop on my random train of thought. See if you can follow the tracks (they might be moose tracks). The image above is of a few tasty things I had for lunch.
We went out to Baskin-Robbins for ice cream. It’s fun to look at all the flavors. I always get a chocolate one and then another one that’s different. I carefully tell the clerk the chocolate one first so that it will be on the bottom and that will be what I finish with, the “saving the best to last thing”. I keep an eye on them anyway – sometimes they do things backwards. There were “only” 24 flavors. I don’t know if creativity has waned or if they do less in the winter. I remember when a Baskin-Robbins first opened where we lived. I was younger than 12, something like 8 or 9. My parents pondered wonderingly, “31 flavors? Do you think that is possible?” This was so way beyond van-choc-straw or neopolitan if you want the intelligentsia term.
I settled for Rocky Road and Egg Nog, in a waffle cone. In this town, Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin’ Donuts are in the same store. Could be a double whammy, but I was quite content with my ice cream, so I feasted on the donuts only with my eyes.
My mother said her cereal tastes like cardboard. My father (who is in a home) said the ground meat has no taste.
I bought a translation-paraphrase of the New Testament called “The Message” and started reading it – it has me giggling at times. This verse didn’t make me laugh but opened an image:
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” Matthew 5:13
I was then reminded of:
“I have not two tastes. (It is) the fish nerve (that God puts) in my mouth; the griddle cake is left (to the hanged) men.” The Revelation of Ares XXX/16 The note remarks the difference between the bland flavor of allegedly holy bread and fresh fish.
There is something wrong if life has no taste. It should be vibrant, joyous, shake us up a bit, wake us from slumber.