Operation Oysterhood: 18 January

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

Flat Eric

I did not take any photographs yesterday, so here is a recent one of Flat Eric and me. I got Flat Eric from my Austrian friend, Isi, who is a huge fan of the iconic French puppet. Flat Eric has been with me for over twenty years now. He still remembers a Karina without grey hair :)

When my Ouma Ala was still alive, whenever I visited her, she would either have her famous tomato soup waiting or would make it for me. It was our tradition. Everyone loved her tomato soup, including Isi, but no one as much as I did. Ouma Ala never made a secret of the recipe. I watched her make the soup many times, as did others, but no one could replicate the taste, even when using the same ingredients and proportions. It took me a while to figure out that there was a secret ingredient after all, and that none of us could ever include it in our tomato soup attempts: Ouma Ala’s touch. It just tasted unique when she made it. I was not a great eater as a child and my parents struggled with me, but whenever I went to stay with Ouma Ala, my appetite reappeared and I ate the same bread and cheese (there was only one kind when I was growing up) that my parents would serve me, but without any fuss and triple the portion.

I remembered Ouma Ala’s kitchen when my family visited yesterday and my step-kids and -grandkids asked me to make crème brûlée for them. I make it every time they visit. André used to – he had the magic crème brûlée touch and somehow managed to pass it on to me just before he died. The last time he made the dessert, he asked me to assist for the first time ever in all those years that we were together, and so, somehow, fortunately, magically, I learned how to prepare it and and can bring back all those delicious memories in the old ramekins for friends and family.

Ouma Karina.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please. Live.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”


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