Goodness

01/29/2009


Belgrade, photo by dr. Fil

And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Holocaust: Remember the Non-Jews (As Well)

01/27/2009

Auschwitz Tattoo
Above: Inmate number 1-9-9-6 was among the few Roma to survive Auschwitz. The Nazis didn’t bother to tattoo an ID number on Antonin Hlavacek’s arm. Romani children, like the elderly, weren’t meant to live long, so his number was written in ink. (source)

January 27 is the International Day of Commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust. It is forgotten far too often that holocaust does not only refer to the atrocities suffered by the Jewish people during WWII.

Rejecting any denial of the Holocaust as a historical event, either in full or in part, the General Assembly adopted by consensus a resolution (A/RES/60/7) condemning “without reserve” all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief, whenever they occur.

It decided that the United Nations would designate 27 January – the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp – as an annual International Day of Commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust, and urged Member States to develop educational programmes to instil the memory of the tragedy in future generations to prevent genocide from occurring again, and requested the United Nations Secretary-General to establish an outreach programme on the “Holocaust and the United Nations”, as well as measures to mobilize civil society for Holocaust remembrance and education, in order to help prevent future acts of genocide. (source)

It seems therefore appropriate that we should take a good look at the world as it is now and judge whether people learned from the horrendous lessons of both world wars and the too many occasions thereafter when entire nations were/are targeted and denied their basic rights.

Violence begets violence. The world forgot the words it once uttered: Never Again! Remember! Before it’s too late.

I dedicate this blog entry to my grandfather’s sister. While he was out there fighting the occupation forces in Slovenia, she was taken to Auschwitz. She was not a Jew, she was not Roma, she was simply the sister of a man who would not bow to the territory-hungry aggressor who’d tried to make his Slovenian family deny its roots and turn its members into his nationally correct citizens. Aunt Pavla survived and as, unlike the Roma above, she was deemed worth a tattoo, she can still show her camp number to the younger generations. I would have liked to add: lest we forget. But honestly, so many other horrors have been committed by and upon humanity since and are in progress now that nobody walking the Earth with open eyes could or should possibly let it slip from mind.

(Faux) Frugal Baking: Olive Bread

01/24/2009

More cleaning up of the fridge to do. I found myself faced with three cubes of yeast that would go bad tomorrow and a bunch of spicy olives that would only hold for a few more days. So while waiting for the washing machine to be delivered, I managed to bake three types of bread. Rye bread, buckwheat bread with walnuts and – for the first time – white bread. With an olive twist. The idea for the basic recipe comes ssilva at Kulinarična Slovenija. Thanks!

I prepare my fresh yeast slightly differently, not with sugar etc. I mix it with half a cup of cool water and salt and let it sit for 12 to 24 hours. I find this gives me better results. Let’s call it the “salty yeast mixture”.

Dough:

  • 1 lb flour – I deliberately used the cheapest white type to see how far the “frugal” bit of the title can go, so this cost 25 euro cents or 32 US cents
  • salty yeast mixture (cost: exactly the same as the flour in this recipe, actually)
  • some more salt
  • warm water

Extras: 1 cup olives cut in halves, rosemary, 1/4 cup olive oil

Knead the dough well. I mean really well. Keep kneading until the dough is nice, soft and even. I let this rise for 15 minutes and in the meantime cut up 1 cup of spicy olives I’d bought on sale for about 1 euro or about $1.3.

I added the olives and some rosemary as well as 1/4 cup of olive oil and again kneaded well. Then let rise for about 45 minutes.

Place on baking sheet and make a few cuts on top to allow for nice even baking without the crust breaking. Cover up and allow to rise again for 30 minutes, then place in a hot oven. Bake at 200°C for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 180°C and bake for another 50 minutes.

I must say I’m very happy with the result. This bread is truly delicious! Now if I could figure out how much the electric cost for the oven, I could possibly even calculate how much baking the bread cost :) but anyway, the goal was achieved: food not thrown away and enough bread in the freezer for the next couple of weeks, I believe.

Elections via Moose

01/21/2009

With thanks to my favourite moose, this is a quote from my new read, Alles Gute von Ephraim Kishon (an interesting life story there!), originally published in 1992.

Hohe Politik:

In England wählt man die Regierung aus Prinzip, oder besser gesagt aus Gewohnheit, ab. In Italien werden Wahlen zur Konfrontation zwischen dem lieben Gott und der Armut, und in den USA sind sie eine Art öffentlicher Wettbewerb um die grössere Ähnlichkeit mit John F. Kennedy.

I’m having a very German-influenced day, having also watched the beautiful Das Leben der Anderen movie again.
Thanks for this wonderful and totally unexpected surprise, my friend! :)

Frugal Baking: Vegetable Cheese Rolls

You know how we sometimes tend to overdo food shopping before holidays? Well I’ve done it again. And since I’m trying not to throw any more food away, I made some more vegetable cheese rolls. These are a quick and easy way to use the extra about-to-expire fridge contents.

Dough:

  • 1.5 cup  flour
  • 2 oz butter
  • hot water
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • salt

Heat up some water, add butter, mix well, pour the liquid on flour, mix and add salt and vinegar. Knead well and add warm water as needed, until the dough is soft, smooth and even. Split it in two parts.

Filling:

  • 1 lb mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheese (more or less is fine)
  • salt & seasoning

I used frozen soup vegetables and veggies from cans I had opened (peas, corn, beans). For an even better taste you may want to stir fry them quickly with onions.

Roll out each of the two balls of dough and place on a kitchen towel.

Distribute the veggies across surface, then cover with a mixture of sour cream and egg (set aside a few spoons). Season whichever way you like. I used salt, pepper, thyme and basil. Follow with shredded cheese (in one of these I used mozzarella that would have gone bad and it worked well). This will bind everything nicely.

Roll up with the help of the towel underneath.

Transfer on baking paper. Cover with the remaining sour cream/egg mixture. (Actually, I used cream cheese – yes, that would have gone bad – in the place of sour cream and it worked well.)

Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes, raise temp to 230°C and bake for a few more minutes for a nice crust. That’s it.

I cut the roll into pieces and put them in the freezer for quick lunches.

A Prayer in the Purse of the Wife of a President at War

01/15/2009


Belgrade, photo by dr. fil

Quoted from a book I’m reading, this prayer was allegedly carried in the purse of a certain wife of a President of a country at war. I will share details later. Can anyone guess who she and the author were (before googling it)? The prayer was written by an experienced, decorated soldier who lead secret service operations during said war.

Dear Lord
Lest I continue
My complacent way
Help me to remember
Somewhere out there
A man died for me today
– As long as there be war
I then must
Ask and answer
Am I worth dying for?

Pretty Town

01/11/2009

Luxembourg really is a pretty town and my recent experience on account of carlessness has shown that one can get pretty much anywhere on foot in reasonable time. Forget buses on Sundays unless you check schedules in advance 😉

Moien

01/10/2009

Went out for an early morning walk with Nikki. After an hour and a half, my toes were frozen solid. Walking into a local (as in frequented by real Luxembourgers) coffee shop, I realised that as much as the tea and croissant helped warm me up (not to mention reading the newspapers), what warms the cockles of m heart are the people around me. These ladies and gentlemen have plenty of laughs enjoying each other’s company. Where everybody knows your name (30 years later). Moien.

Tie That Gun Tightly

01/08/2009

I pass this piece of art almost every day on my way to work. Some days I pay it more attention than others. It’s such a beautiful sunny day. Wish it were for all.

Taking Time to Relax

01/06/2009

No particular message this time around… just a shot I like. A seagull taking a bath in freezing weather at the Champs-Élysées in Paris. I guess there is a message after all. Enjoy life, even if circumstances don’t seem perfect 😉   They never are, anyway…

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