Tuesday, 23 December 2014

What are you cooking for Christmas?

I'm in Israel in an unfamiliar kitchen with a guest list of 12 that includes a vegetarian and two Israelis along with assorted Australian "Christmas orphans". The tree is lying horizontal because it is taller than the ceiling and I can't read the labels on anything in the supermarket. Luckily I have a sharp saw and an Ottolenghi cookbook at my disposal, and the internet is not far away. I'm not a great cook but I can wing it and roast pork is not too hard, even in someone else's kitchen. I'm not sure where I'm going to get the pork right now but I have sourced some turkey and found a great recipe for pan roasted turkey breast to solve the oven space problem. Pomegranate and cranberry sauce will give it a local twist. If I can't find the pork it will not be a catastrophe.
We are not a religious family but the tree and the presents are a secular tradition now, and fun to share with people of other traditions as they have shared their traditions with us here in Israel and in other parts of the world.
Berlin 7.40 am 21st Dec -
Still dark and not getting
 much lighter
It is strange to look across the park to the winter blue of the Mediterranean and think of all the conflict so very close at hand. I've been here before in troubled times and it always strikes me that it is odd that the sun keeps shining, the sky stays blue and people keep going to get their groceries.
Berlin a few days ago was grey and bleak despite its Christmas regalia. Ice fell from the sky, thunder rolled and the day was hardly seen. Even the gluhwein at the Christmas markets failed to bring the colour back to the city. That's what I've always imagined days would be like everywhere when the world was in trouble. Maybe I've seen too many black and white movies.
I guess what worries me is that trouble can come even when the sun is shining. There will be no dark soundtrack to warn us that we have crossed the line from peaceful times to troubled ones - just subliminal warnings that we can choose to ignore at our peril.

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