Mercilessly pounded by catastrophes that send it rocking and erupting into a fury, it would seem as if the Earth is falling apart. This weekend most of us probably watched in shock as a massive earthquake shook Japan and minutes later a gigantic Tsunami wiped out kilometers of coastal region in northern Japan. Now while we all sit on edge praying that the developments in Fukushima do not add more devastation, my mind cannot help but ponder on thoughts about the epoch we are currently living in.
We watch live via internet as catastrophes occur, observe bloody wars fought and Dictators overthrown, all from the comfort of our living room. The internet has provided us with easy access to be a part of it all and I wonder at what costs. I wonder because I am a mother and I worry what effects this freedom of information will have on my son.
I am very pro internet, so do not get me wrong. I see the advantages the internet offers but sadly am also aware of the many disadvantages. Parenting has always been like walking on razors edge. As parents, we constantly do a balancing act, juggling between how much is good, or sufficient without going overboard on anything. Take your pick of topics: food, rules, homework, play, TV, we are constantly trying to provide equilibrium for them to follow, without indulging in extremes.
Our children are living in such a fast paced world, where information is available at the punch of a key. They are so in touch and aware of the world around them. Usually this would not be a bad thing, but I contemplate the weighty burdens they are forced to carry with the excessiveness of the knowledge they absorb.
I do not have all the answers. However, I do my best to answer Soeren’s questions as delicately as I can. Questions about why a dictator would choose to kill his own people, what happens to children who lose their parents, what does nuclear meltdown mean or how will people ever be found in all that rubble. And when I do not have answers, I do what I can do to provide him comfort. We shut the notebook, switch off the TV and close the door to the troubles of the outside world. At least for a while.
We curl up on the sofa and snuggle up under blankets, reading a book or resting our minds and recharging our batteries. As adults we cannot run to mom or dad for reassuring words or a simple hug. Instead, we find our own path to a trouble-free world. Comfort comes in many forms and for me it speaks the language of love through food. When we crave safety and yearn comfort, I will wander into the kitchen, gather my strength and put away my fears. A hot healing soup, creamy chocolate puddings or a bubbling stew will put our minds at ease and for a while it take us away to a serene and less cumbersome part of the world. The doors to the real world will re-open soon enough, but for now, we are happy to settle down on our own island away from the turbulence.
Ossobuco is one of the most comforting dishes I know. A classic Milanese dish of veal shanks simmered in stock and wine with flavorings of sautéed carrots, onions, tomatoes and herbs. The name ossobucco means “hollow bone” and is taken from the cut of meat it comes from – veal shank with its center bone. This famous Milanese dish is usually served with a tangy gremolada and its perfect partner, Risotto alla Milanese.
In my recipe I have totally strayed away from the traditional method and added my own spin to this classic dish. One could say it’s fusion food of the tasty kind as the flavors of my Ras El Hanout Lamb Tagine with Pumpkin and Apricots inspired me to experiment. This ossobuco is braised in vermouth and veal stock, while dried apricots and prunes add a fruity note to it, and a pinch of saffron gives it an extravagant highlight. Rounding it off is the wonderfully zesty gremolata with pine nuts, lemon, garlic and lots of fresh parsley.
The taste of this Ossobuco is divine, succulent and rich with fork-tender meat easily falling off the bone and deliciously melting in the mouth. Savor the harmony of flavors as the sweetness of prunes and the fruity apricots counterbalance the tang of the tomatoes. Scoop up the thick gravy filled with powerful earthy notes of parsnips, onions and carrots and finally relish the subtle crunch of roasted pine nuts and herby parsley. It all comes together in this one robust dish and the flavors will comfort, cocoon and heal.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say a prayer and offer my deepest sympathies to the people who have lost so much this weekend. Like a silver lining hope glimmers amongst the devastation as stories of survival filter through. It gives me faith to believe we are a resilient race and while blows may set us back they will never really break us.
Japan we are thinking of you.
Other News …
For those of you with a very sweet tooth I have a special treat for you. Over at The Foodie Bugle, a brand new, shiny online magazine, I take you on a trip to the Decadent Desserts of the World, in my first article. Hope you enjoy indulging in some of the worlds most finest desserts.
I’m also ecstatic to share my feature in the brilliant South African online magazine Crush Online. On pages 10 and 11 Crush features five of my recipes in the Which wine? Which food? section. I love the interactive feature – click on the wine bottles and you’ll be presented with one of my recipes that best match. You can also easily print out recipe cards and shopping lists in PDF.
More Comfort Food from WFLH:
|Yellow Bell Pepper and Fava Bean Soup||Carrot and Red Lentil Soup with a Hint of Cumin||German Lentil and Sausage Stew|
All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2011 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First