Should this be news?


Perhaps, I shouldn’t have, but the article’s content really irked me. The Guardian’s columnist Hadley Freeman today posted a “stirring” piece. Usually, I skip the Guardian’s opinion articles. Unfortunately, the headline caught my eye, so I read the piece.

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A near divorce and uneasy marriage

The two of them nearly caused a major diplomatic row. By now, a kind of “entente cordiale” has been reached, though relations are still cool. The lovebirds will remain together – though they belong to different countries.

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How to spend 10 million

If you had 10 million Euros, how would you spend it? Nearly everybody must have a wish-list of things they would do, if they had to fizzle away 10 million Euros, 8 million UK pounds, millions of US dollars. Regardless of your preferred currency: if you could spend such an amount of money without feeling the pinch, what would you do?

How about throwing a few parties for friends? What about getting them to stay in luxurious hotels? Of course you also organise a reception and finally: a big fat wedding – in Venice. You do not forget to sell your official wedding snaps to gossip magazines and make sure everybody hears the proceeds will – reputedly – go to charity (stress: reputedly). Oh – and you make sure “unofficial” pics are taken by papperazzi, whom you profess to hate and abhor deeply, while boarding a boat called “Amore”. At least, this is what according to many papers, George Clooney and Amal Alammudin did.

And all that going on, while in Syria people are beheaded, flee to save their lives, die while trying to reach the relative safety of camps which can hardly cope with the influx of new refugees. Or with people in certain African countries dying from Ebola, while those that try to diminish the suffering are begging for funds and help to contain and combat the disease. While humanitarian organisations like the Red Cross ask for more donations as they are stretched to the limit and need more funds to help and support people throughout the world.

Mind: these are just a few current causes which can do with an injection of roughly 10 million Euros, or 8 million UK pounds, or millions of your preferred currency.

I suspect the majority of humans do not prefer to squander about 2 to 3 million Euros or 2 million UK pounds a day on parties, receptions, speed boats, hotels. They and I would actually prefer to hand over the money – or at least a large amount of it – to charities helping fellow human beings, animals, the earth – and without needing to advertise it.

Independent wedding 

Marriage market

In this niche of the EU, a weekly visit to the local market to buy fresh and other stuff is still common. When I visited today, I followed my usual routine.

First a visit to the Moroccan baker’s stall, where familiar and unfamiliar cakes and cookies beckon to be bought. Against the wall, fresh bread in all sizes and forms stands in neat rows. To the left are discount baskets filled with a selection of international breads and sweets. Piles of Dutch white rolls, Moroccan pancakes, German Bretzels; French baguettes and croissants, Turkish pides, Greek pittas, a variety of doughnuts and much, much more try to seduce.

Right opposite, the fish market starts. It’s one long row of stalls full of all kinds of local and foreign fish. They’re sold whole, in large parts, small pieces, and assorted mixes of bits. Salmon heads did 5 Euro a piece. There were tins, trays, baskets overflowing with mussels, oysters, periwinkles. Others were filled with razor, Saint Jacob, Venus, or other shellfish.

A large bucket drew my attention. I peered inside. It was full of tiny grey crabs. The majority danced tarantella-wise over and around each other, snapping aggressively with their claws. These bravoes were bound to end up boiled today.

At the end of this long row, a stall sells freshly fried fish and rolls stuffed with shrimps, herring, or mackerel. There’s always a long queue waiting to be served. However, I prefer to stand at the busy counter of Anatolya, which comes next. They sell bread in different sizes too, but also Turkish Köfte, Surinam Bara, Baklava, and other delights.

I always buy a Lahmacun – baked right in front of me. Once out of the oven, a variety of salads and stuffing to your liking are spread over the thin layer of spicy meat and bread. Harissa and garlic sauce are added. Then it’s rolled up, wrapped in tin-foil and a napkin, and handed over. The bakers know my preference: stuffed with everything; normal harissa, double garlic dose.

While I was waiting, a beautiful Indian woman joined me at the counter.
“Single’s recipe!” she ordered.
The baker and I stared. Turned out she meant my Lahmacun version.
“Free advice from me,” she told us, “only singles take double garlic. You watch.”
The baker and I were flabbergasted.
Never before had we considered his stall to be a marriage market.

Now you know: double garlic is single!
However, I don’t guarantee a thing. I’m just addicted to Anatolya’s garlic sauce.