Hospital canteen Christmas Lunch somewhere in Central London on Thursday, 9 December 2021
Light-Bugs for Christmas Lunch
I love food. I can sit and eat the whole day - which is basically what I did yesterday in between running up and down a hospital. At this age I should be eating less and less, but it is exactly the opposite that I am doing. Especially while working in hospitals.
Before working in a hospital I didn’t know what comfort food means - I haven’t done it. Now I perfectly well know. I practice it all the time. When working in a hospital I eat every free minute “to charge the battery”. When I am not at work in a hospital - as a self-employed/bank staff I have big unwanted gaps - I comfort eat to fill in the gap of not being in a hospital. For hospitals are as addictive as any other high adrenaline sport.
As I love both food and hospitals I obviously adore hospital canteens. It won’t be exaggerated to say that I love hospital canteens as much as I love good restaurants. I am looking forward to discovering the canteen of a hospital where I haven’t worked before, just as much as I am looking forward to going to a good restaurant where I haven’t been. I get equally excited by a Tournedos Rossini at £49 at L’Escargot and by a Chicken Korma at £2.50 at a hospital canteen, - won’t say which exactly as it might turn out to be illegal to do so in a blog. But it won’t be exaggerated if I say that now I can draw a pretty detailed Guide to London Hospital Canteens with first hand information about menus, prices and - if restaurants have stars to evaluate gourmet grade, hospital canteens should have - light-bugs.
The Best Hospital Canteen Day is the day when Christmas Lunch is served… with all three roasts: veg, fish and bird, all trimmings, all puds and logs and when canteen staff is crowned with little Santa hats. Today, this particular canteen surpassed itself decoration wise. Where the central piece was a Merry Christmas carved in a watermelon. A clin d'œil to the people coming from countries when Christmas happens in the beginning of summer? Who knows? I loved it though.
To this hospital canteen - oh, I wish to say your name - today I give 5 light-bugs for Christmas Lunch.
〄 * For succulent turkey
〄 For perfectly roasted trimmings - firm and, yet juicy
〄 For excellen bread space
〄 For perfect, for me, volume
〄 Extraordinary presentation and decoration
*〄 is my symbol for Ligh-Bug, nevermind that it is commonly known as ‘Japanese Industrial Standard Simpobl’
9 December 2021
Hospital canteen Christmas Lunch somewhere in Central London on Thursday, 9 December 2021
The 2021 Breakfast. Sans changement* - bad news, ham and Caitlin Moran.
The differences are only couple:
With celebrities staying at home and the spotlight occupied mainly by a virus and politics, there are more politicians in CW's Celebrity Watch column now than ever before. Say the one from last Friday 22 January features Boris, Greta and the Biden couple. The question is where do we place the QAnon? Because it occupied a political location - the White House - we'll place that entry in 'Politics' too. Kevin Dalton? Shall we place him in 'Politics' as impersonator of Joe Bidon or in 'Normal People Reflecting Celebrity Light' which is the category of the Woman with the Exploding Celebrity - won't bother writing her name - Vagina? Heather Milles, 'Celebrity' or 'Reflected Light'? Subtle-senses guru or inter-sensory experts Heston Blumental, previously called celebrity chef, on the other hand looks like the sole of our turn future time celebrity. Lyam Payne? If it wasn't for you I wouldn't have heard of him, so I would leave him where he belongs, together with One Direction, in the past. The question now is - who and what will be the new 2021 celebrities? For the old ones don't work any longer. Not even those from the political scene. Not that I mind having politicians as celebrities, but then we shouldn't be partisan, but just funny, about them. I mean, we don't go militant about the Woman With Zero R'N'R in Her Being but with plenty of stuff in, out and about her vagina, do we? The good news is that the more people take interest in politics; the more normalised politics and politicians will become and we funny about them - for now alas, we are not. And by the by when Alexander the Great conquered the world, he did it with an overtly homosexual army. An army of beautiful effeminate men wearing fine garments and in love with each other. So don't worry about him, Alexander still ticks all boxes including the LGBT+ box in 2021, that's why we call him The Great❤. But I am with you if the army that preceded Joe Biden in Washington DC have taken Harry Stiles' example and worn chiffon and satin women's gowns that would have shown the world that "new kind of men"💔 have entered the US capital. Unfortunately, they chose to make an entry in the old flashing-muscels, matchist way. Beating the bad in badness is after all America's signature. I don't know why I have forgotten it dispite watching Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs all these ages ago.
The other novelty is the new chef-baker at my local favourite Raab's the Baker. I deduced his presence from the rice-paper - unexisting before - in the Florentines and more precisely between the layer of nuts and fruits and the chocolate layer. Subconsciously I must have noticed it even earlier, because lately I started cheating at Raab's - unbelievable, I know - with Ali Baba's Cave - lovers always have code names - as I started calling the Food Bazaar next door, since I learned the name of his owner Ali, where they have the most sublime and extraordinary Calamata Bread. This Calamata Bread is the best sourdough square - it's rapped, in a square - in the world. It, obviously, has a very crunchy crust and a very spongy heart and plenty of Calamata olives in and out, but the unique about it is the smell of extra virgin olive oil when you cut it. As bread isn't Ali Baba's principle coin of exchange, daily there are few Calamata breads only, often there aren't any, but when it happens that I find a warm, freshly backed Calamata, I consider myself hyper forturnate, not only because I hound it, but because even when I've eaten half of it at one go I don't feel guilty. This loaf from the gods; it doesn't contain a single crump of guilt in it. Which could be a definition of love - if I have sinned and don't feel guilt = it's love.
Ah, my sense of failure is also new, it came with the thought: if Jesus failed to teach the world love after 2020 years, who am I to do?
Today, Monday 25, Gordon Brown on the Radio4, called himself patriot in contrast to nationalist as defined by Orwel "them vs us". If this is the definition of nationalism it means that in the current political model of dichotomic democracy both sides are nationalists. The whole 2021 world is nationalist. Even CW.
❤"Alexander the Great was neither "gay" nor "straight," but an ambiguous military genius. He defeats all our polarized and polarizing modern categories. Like the Persian King Darius, we may fight hard to take the measure of the man, but, as the Delphic oracle prophesied, Alexander was and is invincible and will never be defeated—by simplification." ReadAlexander the Gay? by Guy Rogers (of Wellesley College) here
"20/20 Completely seeing the truth of a situation. "I see the 20/20 but I don't know why?' by Kenneth H. October 05, 2005" - Urban Dictionary
In order to be perceived in linear chronology the 'The 20/20 English Breakfast ' is to be unrolled - as an ancient Chinese script - from the bottom to the top. It starts on the 2 of January and ends on the ...
Yesterday's CW with zait, zaatar and focaccia by Raab's the Baker
18-19 January - زيت و زعتر وكايتلين موران
The Mediterranean Breakfast
...and UK Lawyers for Israel not far behind, lurking around the corner probably, arguing that زيت و زعتر can not be written in Arabic but only in Hebrew.
שמן, טימין וקייטלין מורין
Calm down and next time before you start hubbing&bubbing**, any of you, draw inspiration from our Lady of Blissful Breakfast's definition of politics: "solving of problems in peoples lives, which one attempts by coming up with a plan and working with EVERYONE - no matter their party (I would add religion and nationality) - to secure the funding or change the legislation".
* In case this Hebrew doesn't sound perfectly Torahtic, feel free to contact me for amendments
** Hubbing&bubbing Is the verb that makes the hubbub or in Arabic, a free interpretation: هوس و خبص
Yesterday's Times Magazine with Florentine by Raab's the Baker as usual
12 January, CW's yesterday's article at breakfast with coffee and toasted bun Sunday morning
12 January - The Silence of the Nightingales Bun Breakfast
In which Caitlin Moran shared her thoughts about the problems curvy women may encounter. Problems of which people who don’t belong to the category are completely oblivious. As usual, Bella Badger as I like to call her, has interesting and highly informative thoughts on things I ignore - mind you this is not very difficult as I wasn’t even aware of Beyonce, before BB started banging about her. BB’s story about the ‘Curvy Brides’ Boutique’ revoked the conversation I had last night with a young woman at the cheap nail salon and how it started.
I was having my nails done, therefore I was cheerful, so when George Michael’s tune started I sang along. “Do you like this tune?” the young woman asked. “Yes”, I said “Don’t you?”. “I like Adele”, she said “What an exceptional voice. She had now lost much weight, but I liked better how she looked before”. Here you are Bella, in this little anecdote abides one more lesson and one more reason for tears - not happy as in the Curvy Boutique alas - corpulent women are not even allowed to get less curvy. This tiny, little, completely inconsequential anecdote hides yet another lesson though: In addition to all other benefits we might think of, song and singing is a barrier breaker. The young woman started talking to me because I sang. She heard my voice and she responded. Had I not sang, I wouldn’t have known that Adele is not even allowed to get thin, hence today, I wouldn’t have so well understood the message of Our Lady of Laughs and Wisdom.
Today, reading Bella Badger I was thinking: If I was in Iran, I wouldn’t have sang along George Michael, because at this timespace spot there were three men to whom I am not related. So in addition to depriving myself of singing I would have deprived myself of a conversation. This morning, on 341 upper deck, two women were holding hands and one of them was singing. If they were in Iran, be it on a bright sunny morning as today’s was, this young woman wouldn’t have been able to express her joy of life and friendship by song, as on this particular timespace spot, all men present wouldn’t have been related to her. Later on, when I was sharing these thoughts with an internationally renowned female composer, she said that the depravation of singing is a form of torture, as singing is a natural human impuls for expression, interraction, comprehention (singing/chanting is one of the oldest learning technics. Which I can confirm as three quarters of my English comes from rock’n’roll) and many more.
As one should always learn from the best - there, I am doing the same: reflect on the problems of a group to which I don’t belong - the group of women not allowed to sing; the vast, approximately 40 million strong group of Iranian women deprived of expressing themselves in song. I am particularly thinking of the Iranian women that are spending this day (hopefully not longer) in cells, solitary or group, having been arrested on yesterday’s protest. I am thinking: It probably won’t even occur to their minds to sing in their prisons, as to comfort or encourage themselves and others; to say, no, they haven’t broken my spirit, I am still here, existing and hoping.
And I start this mental conversation with the head of the bearded Iranian mullahs* and I tell him : “I know that it is not easy to be an uglish, short, bearded religious man (none of which qualities are known to be particularly women attractive) in the country of the most beautiful, sophisticated, well read and most poetry reciting (and not solely Persian) women, but depriving them of what even the slave owners allowed - singing; is pushing it too far even for the Devil’s taste. Do you think that God will praise you for silencing 40 million of his nightingales? Think twice. And while you are thinking, also meditate on the fact: God has created a natural veil on women's head - it is called HAIR. May you have less beard, less control and more brains. Amen”.
*LAAF has the policy to hand to oblivion the names of murderers and other criminals. As much as possible.
PS Having said all that I am thinking "CW, I hope you won't mind some bun on the bum, would you?"
11 January, Nirvanesque. Yrsterday's CW with croissant and coffee
The very many happy, news and LAAFcomment free, CW-full breakfast.
Through out last week with all its ups and downs; fears, relieves and hopes; les pours et les contres; there hasn't been one, not even one, single mention of Iranian women. Here I am making the exclusion; the single exclusion to remind you: that women in Iran don't have the right to sing. I repeat : WOMEN IN IRAN DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO SING.
Deux fois: Les femmes en Iran non pas le droit a chanter.
*" Since the Revolution of 1979, restrictions have been placed on women singing. These first prohibited all singing but evolved into a ban on women singing solo in front of men who are unrelated to them. Conservative clerics say women’s voices have the potential to trigger immoral sensual - or kinetic - arousal. "
"...female singers are also prohibited from holding solo concerts for female-only audiences in most parts of Iran except Tehran and a few other cities, even though no law explicitly bans them from doing so. If location is not an obstacle, then the financial burden is usually exorbitant"**
10 January, The sour apple of chastity, black espresso and a green newspaper.
The Nothing is Changed, Everything is Changed Breakfast.
The Nothing is Changed bit:
A chaste apple and the usual level of bad news to remind me of the primary state of affairs :
The innocent pay the highest price. Poor, poor Ukrainians is there more humble and innocent than you? Oh, there actually is - Australia's animal and insect spices extinguished by the chthonic fires.
Putin, in fur brimmed hoody, and his generals having the time of their lives launching hypersonic missiles. Should we conclude that being proactively evil is the safest bet for having good time?
Don't know. As in the meantime Israel has announced that its new 'Laser Sword' is "a revolution in the anti missile, drone and rocket developments that will lead to light speed strategic changes"**
Whatever that might mean. Still, looking at Putin, being proactively evil looks like the easiest way to find yourself near the Equator clad in Siberian furs.
Have you heard about the Mexican tv show 'Los ricos también lloran' ? Well, it seems that money is not a guarantee for having good time: Private deposits of Syrians in Lebanon have reached £45 billions, enterprise and insurance deposits excluded. Thus private Syrian deposits form about a quarter of all "available" (not sure if this means liquidity) in Lebanon banks**.
The Everything is Changed bit:
Why don't we read Trump's deeds in continuation? Hence, the elimination of the General as a logical step following the sacrifice of the Kurds. A sacrifice which only makes sense if we consider that no matter how good fighters Kurdish Beshmerga are, the Turkish Army would always be the better bet to stop Iranians in their march towards the West.
"He doesn't mean that", somebody told me, when I shared these thoughts on Trump's Sacrifice of the Kurds at the time "He doesn't mean anything. He is just an idiot".
Is he? Probably he is. Iran wise though, he starts to look more and more an Inspired Idiot to me. Like the Fool from the Tarot.
Fingers crossed fingers crossed
Also, here I would suggest everybody that prays to start praying...
**This breakfast has been animated by الشرق الاوسط front page
* Radio4's 'Today' program.
Thoth Tarot's Fool or a model for Trump as the Inspired Idiot icon
9 January, Sausage, bacon, sunny side eggs, tomatoes and americano. Royal family on my mind
The Hyper American Relief British Takeaway Revolution Breakfast.
Takeaway. As in "Take it away in plastic or paper or other bionondegradable material and consume it of sight ". Think MacDrive.
Relief. As in "Good news. For once we can talk about royalties and not the international situation at brakfast". Think royal wedding.
Revolution. As in Take It - King or Prince - Away and live a kingless/princless life. Think French, Bolshevik and ...well yeah ... American revolutions.
British. As in "Hmmm, you know it happens once a century; an American woman comes and swipes a royalty away". Think of little girls' dream "A prince will come on a white horse and you will be queen"... and now think it backwards "A woman will come from a distant land and unprince you. If you are particularly lucky - unking you" turns to be every prince's childhood dream.
Hyper. As in sausage, bacon, eggs, tomato - won't feel hunger for hours.
Now, as it is true that "Every black cloud has a silver lining" it is also true that even the brightest, most relieved, Iran-America-Iraq-war-free and prince-free morning has its bionondegradable containers and plastic cutlerys. Hence, I have to say that wherever I have been, a hypocrite practices has been in order - catering in biodegradable or multiusage containers for clients, while catering in the same old, polluting onetimers for staff behind the scene. I suggest serious steps to be taken and all takeaways (accept for the royal) briskly stopped - unless one provides one own containers and presents a set of own silver spoons when at the till.
Today we learned :
On the dark side: Iran can always bomb Iraq under one pretext or another.
On the bright side: American women are the best Revolutionaries, beautiful All for Love Revolutionaries. I raise an americano for that!
On the sunny side up: vegan, vegetarian or carnivore all breakfasts are good when accompanied with libertine, nonchalant news.
Note: the biononreusable material used here aims to make a point: STOP ALL TAKEAWAYS IMMEDIATELY unless decanted in consumer's own containers, cups and cutlery.
8 January, Scrambled eggs, dates, espresso and new research! Iraq on my mind
The Empowering Breakfast!
Scrambled eggs, dates, espresso and new research!
Once one had enough of senseless worrying about the ways the naughty world is going; one could always proactively empower oneself with eggs, dates and science. The espresso provides the filigree of alertness - when dealing with the naughty world one should never be too carelessly relaxed.
Omelette with Dates is a classical Iraqi breakfast. Verily, you cook what you have. And in Iraq dates were what was unfailingly available.... until recently*.
My version of it here is scrambled eggs with added dates bits. The effect is something like creme caramel.
I didn't check the origin of the dates, for if I check it, I might end up hungry.
I am starting to read 'Culture, Time and Publics in the Arab World', by Tarik Sabri and Joe F. Khalil. I bought it yesterday, 7 January, at the book launch at SOAS. SOAS starts a ' Lecture Programme on the Contemporary Middle East' **.
All lectures are free and organized by organised by Centre for Palestine Studies and Centre for Itanian Studies. ~~ (~~ are my eyebrows lifted twice. A mimic that says "Attention, attention. This is getting a little bit too curious. It can go both ways - as in like it/not". In this particular case I am asking myself : "If this series of lectures is organised by Centre for Palestine Studies and Centre for Itanian Studies, could we call it "Al Quds Lecture Program on the Contemporary Middle East"? And if so, "Is this good or bad?". As usual I went searching for answers and all I found was more questions.)
*"Back in the 1980s foreign dates were uncommon, and not well regarded. Today Hajji sells Iranian, Saudi and Iraqi dates, but "what we get the most are Iranian dates," he said dryly. "And they're no good." In an effort to rebuild Iraq's ailing agriculture, in 2011 the central government envisioned a $150 million project to triple the number of date farms by 2021. But the plan was interrupted in late 2013 with the rise of ISIS. In the leafy town of Karma, just 28 kilometres northeast of Fallujah, six hundred of Dr Adnan Al Jumaily's 1,000 palm trees were burned during clashes between ISIS and the Iraqi military. Drought piled on the agony."*
7 January, Yesterday's paper espresso, porridge and pomegranate, Iran on my mind
من اناری میکنم دانه به دل میگویم خوب بود این مردم دانه های دلشان پیدا بود
Veganism and disastrous news.
Espresso, porridge and pomegranate.
Pomegranate is the par excellance winter fruit... in Iran, Iraq, Turkey and beyond... Therefore, it is seasonal, I tell myself, I can have it.
I associate the pomegranet with Persia, wisdom and the underworld. I eat it in search of wisdom, understanding and beauty. For pomegranate grains shine like gemstones - granites and rubies.
There is a pomegranate tree next to my house in Sofia. It is a small one. It grows three or four fruits a year. Since Sofia children are no longer a plant pest, the fruits of the pomegranate mature on the leafless branches undisturbed. By this time of the year there have already cracked open - the red grains sparkling from the fruits' dark insides. Which is when the black crows start visiting. Picking in the red, heart shaped fruits.
I open Uncle Google Bespectacled and read:
"Pomegranates symbolised fertility, beauty and eternal life in Persian and Greek mythologies. "
"The pomegranate is assumed to have originated in Iran and Afghanistan. The pomegranate symbolized the soul's immortality and the perfection of nature for Zoroastrians. Then it became a port of the Iranian mythology which tells that Esfandiyar became an invincible hero after he ate the pomegranate."
"In Persian mythology it also used to symbolize the pomegranate’s authority over death. Pomegranate was a luxurious souvenir of Iran and a royal fruit in Ancient Greece."**
"The Ancient Greeks considered the pomegranate a symbol of fertility and associated it with the goddesses Demeter, Persephone, Aphrodite, and Athena. Islamic thought placed pomegranate trees in the gardens of Eden and muslims believe that it is a holy tree because of it. ... For Muslims, the pomegranate is also a symbol of beauty, it is said to give beauty to those who eat it. *
"The pomegranate was known as a fruit from Paradise (named four times in the Quran) and therefor planted around many worship locations and religious schools. **
"In any case, even in biblical times, the Israelites, like the peoples around them, ascribed lofty properties to the pomegranate. The fruit’s role as a New Year symbol – like the holiday itself – would develop much later, though. One of the earliest written accounts connecting the pomegranate and fertility to the Jewish New Year itself was by Rabbi David Abudarham, who lived in Spain during the 13th and 14th centuries and was a student of the famed Rabbi Jacob ben Asher. His book Sefer Abudarham contains the first reference to eating pomegranate during the holiday, and to the prayer “may our blessings proliferate like the [seeds of the] pomegranate.”***
On porridge I will meditate some other time.
*More about the symbolism of the pomegranate on the website of Kashif Sofa - dealers of antique art in Istanbul. Here http://kashifsofa.com/the-pomegranate-as-a-symbol/