I’ll Be With You In The Squeezing Of A Lemon

My quote of a title is from Oliver Goldsmith’s ‘She Stoops To Conquer’. And what interests me about that particular play is that people do not agree on what it ‘is’. It is a comedy, yes. That is agreed upon. But then – is it a comedy of manners? A sentimental or romantic comedy? Or a comedy of errors? Or is it satire?

The postcard above shows us an elaborately-dressed ‘limonade seller’. It is from the turn of the century – the publisher is Lichtenstern & Harari, Cairo. Oddly enough, it was labeled ‘India’ when I purchased it, but of course Cairo is not in India.

It is one hundred years later, and still today one can find current photos of the ‘limonade sellers’ of Cairo that closely resemble our own limonade seller from the past.

What comes to my mind, when I see these photos, is a sense of the work involved in being a limonade seller. It is, from a distance, a charming-looking thing, a personalized thing, something which holds the essence of ‘slow food’, which (if we are at all involved in food culture ‘life’) we are beckoned to the doors of each day in our own society where ‘slow food’ is fairly uncommon.

I wonder if the job pays well. I wonder if he would prefer to do something else. In other words, I wonder if – just as Goldsmith’s play is different things to different people – ‘slow food’ is the same thing to all people.

The link above (with the photo of the current-day limonade seller) also has some recipes, if you would like to explore Egyptian drinks. I’m sure I will!

Salmon – The Fish That Almost Isn’t

Salmon is a fish that almost isn’t. I’m not talking about sustainability here – though sustainability is an issue with salmon as it is with every thing else on this planet (my patience for trying to pin down sustainability into a nice neat package included) I’m talking about being a fish. A Fish, is what I mean.

Salmon is almost not a Fish. It is the fish that any chef knows can be sold to the guest who does not like Fish. Why? Because it is salmon.

The flavor is one reason – the rich flavor of salmon lacks a deep ‘fishiness’ as a taste component. The lack of too many little bones is another reason. There is always someone who will look at a menu then ask if you have a fish they can have (grilled, of course – this type person always wants their fish grilled and usually without a touch of butter or oil for this thing fat is a dreaded and horrifying thing much to be avoided)  . . . a fish they can have which does not have bones.

Bones, particularly in fish, make a food very real. Very real.

The other great thing about salmon for people who want a fish that is not a fish is that it is pink. Pink denotes a close-ness to meat, something warm and mammalian not this cold-blooded thing of the deep seas with its dark glassy eyes (which of course they do not want to see in general for fishes eyes are scary things). Salmon is often found as fillets or in cute little steak cuts, which is comforting to the non-real-fish eater who thinks they should be eating fish, without fat, without bones, grilled, without eyes, cut into a neat little shape almost demoralized into a democratic blankness.

This is funny, because salmon is often not naturally pink. Pink, like pretty little ribboned bows in little girls’ braids and curls, pink like the little hearts we draw to match our initials together, pink like kissing pouty lips, pink like the Victoria’s Secret brand ‘Pink’ printed on everyones’ behind who buys those things called sweatpants which used to be something thought of as dull old exercise clothes but which now are designed to allow the top part of the bejewelled thong to hang out enticingly above the waistband which is now a below-the-hipbone band.

Salmon is often a white color, naturally – just like many other fish. It is dyed to be a salmon color. Just like Madonna is not really blonde, salmon is not really pink.

The guys who pulled in that big catch from Puget Sound sometime around the turn of the century (that is, around the beginning of the century that started with a 19) probably didn’t think of all this stuff as they stood in the galley happy to be able to rake all that big fish into a nice pile so that the big block of ice in the background of the photo could be chipped away at and thrown over it to hopefully keep these lunkers cold enough to stay fresh for a while, till they could be delivered to wherever the railroad would take them.

Salmon. It’s Spring, and it is time for salmon!

Why I’m Afraid by Cutey Pie

Come here. Sit down please and hold out your hands, together in a nice little cup shape. I’d like to jump into them and cuddle while we talk about this.

Yesterday I told you I wanted adventure. I’m not ready for what they have planned for me. I may never be ready. What am I afraid of? Please pat my little head softly while I tell you. There, that’s nice. Have you been handling garlic? Oh how I love the smell on your fingers as they ruffle my feathers! Garlic, is of course part of my destiny.

These images will show you why I am afraid.

I mean, how tacky!!!! I do not want to end up being your fast food. You can label it ‘gourmet’ all you want. I do not believe you.

Now please scratch my little neck, softly. And my wing. Now stay just like that, I need a nap.

A Cat-and-Mouse Version of “Where’s the Beef?”

Lo and behold, the sweet little kitties! In the big bowl of cream they’ve been given swims a mouse!

Do the kitties care about the bowl of cream anymore? No. They want something more, something meaty, something mousey, something with a tail they can delicately sink their little teeth into to grab onto and merrily carry away to their dinner table!

Mice are also considered to be good things to eat for people, in various times and places. A long time ago, people thought dormice with honey a fine delicacy. And even today (in some cultures) the seasonal Spring Mouse fattened in the fields on rice is thought a delicious and desirable thing to dine upon. Why not, after all?! It is locally sourced, sustainable, organic most likely (but if you’re hungry and poor you probably don’t care about any of this – what matters is that it is affordable and tasty) and does not take up all the space a cow or steer would consume, to maintain to a full edible growth.

The immersing of mouse into liquid actually reminds me of baby mice wine. (And if you look at the eyes of the little black kitten hovering over the bowl of cream at the back, I think it possible he’s considering the idea too. . . .)

In odd situations it is possible for a mouse to escape a cat uneaten. This example is a good one. Of course it was in England.

But mice at times have acted against the cats who eat them. There can be payback. Tom Kitten knows this well. Oh, poor Tom Kitten!!! How will he be cooked?????

A Man-Eat-Dog World

“Picnic of Death” – South Korean dog hanged . . .  then eaten.

This photo postcard with the terse description printed on its back is from more recent times than most of the postcards on this blog. It is meant, obviously, to make a rhetorical point in an ‘in-your-face’ sort of way, with a reliance on pathos – more than on logos or ethos.

People do eat dogs in various places around the world, of course. People pretty much eat everything in various places around the world. The parts of the puzzle which make us want to eat something, or rather, refuse it with disgust – or even horror! – are numerous.

For an explanation of the reasons various cultures have for eating – or for not eating – dog, this article at wiki is a great place to start.

I won’t end this piece with saying ‘bon appetit’ – you will each decide this for yourself. You may even think you should decide it for others, too! Food is a powerful mover and shaker in the area of morality.