Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Friday, 30 October 2015

How to Stay Slim on a Full English Breakfast

©Brigitta Huegel


Dear You, 
what do you think: will this title allure masses to my blog and thus raise my Stats?
My waist survived not only many Full English Breakfasts, but also a lot of tests of hoppy, fruity craft beers and loads of fish and chips too.
The secret? The godsent antidote?
That was our friend Mark Hanna. May I quote:

"Mark Hanna is co-author of our cruise cookbook, Greens and Grains on the Deep Blue Sea, and head chef for Holistic Holiday at Sea (...). Mark began his education in macrobiotics in 1978, and started cooking throughout North America at macrobiotic centers and summer camps, yoga retreats, Buddhist retreats, and natural food restaurants and cafés. During that time, he developed a creative approach to the normally austere macrobiotic cuisine. In addition to serving as the head chef on Holistic Holiday at Sea cruises, Mark travels throughout the world, cooking for events of all sizes."

Mark cooked for hundreds of people on cruises, so our narrowboat's tiny kitchen (which here looks tall - a well-known phenomen to all those who ever booked a hotel-room) - was no problem for him at all.

©Brigitta Huegel


He was helped by Christian, who had learned from Mark to cook the macrobiotic way - and their dishes were so utterly delicious that we all - all the men & I - never missed meat or cream or whatsoever then.
We lived on a 2:1 - diet: 2 parts full English, one part macrobiotic.
So I think The Secret is alternation:
Matti sat in a fish and chips restaurant with a plate filled with half of the allowed fishing quota of the North Sea - in batter - saying: "This is what I call a correct portion!" - but then, another day, we all enjoyed our greens and miso and tofu (dressed up as meat. That is one thing I cannot understand about vegans: why do they try to form deceiving sausages, shrimps or burgers from tofu? Why not just call it 'honest tofu'?)
Well - I'm no vegan. Though I almost (!) became one when in Beamish I met this utterly friendly pig -
©Brigitta Huegel

He leaned over the garden gate in quite an elegant way, swaggering a little bit on his tiny feet, blinking blue eyes under blonde eyelashes benevolently and trying to make friends with us - an effort which toppled him almost over that garden gate...
Back to diet-secrets: you can get away in life with quite a lot, I think - as long as you a) enjoy it with all your heart (and stomach); b) know your own limit c) enjoy change and d) do it in style.
Style for fish & chips you see on the first photo of this post - taken in Beamish, the exciting open-air museum.
At the end of a long walk through pictorial English history (and a side trip into the sweet shop)

©Brigitta Huegel

©Brigitta Huegel


I entered the museal fish and chip restaurant - on my own, my friends sat outside on the green, testing another fruity hop brew.
Inside a young lad asked what he could give me, and I said: "Nothing , thank you - I just want to look at your wonderful Art Deco fish and chip machine."
"Oh, but you MUST try them!" he cried out, "I'll bring you some for free!"
A deep voice from an elderly colleague came out of a corner "THAT  you have to accept - THAT he is not doing for everyone, love!" 
So I tested them - wonderful!
And we started to talk shop, about those fascinating Art Deco machines, and the very crisp chips:
"They remind me of some chips I got in Hastings", I said, "and their secret was the special fat they used... let me think: lard, it was." 
"Yes yes, he cried, "that's what I use here too!!!"  
So: choose quality. Don't overdo it. And enjoy.

PS: Next post I'll try to start from the beginning of our narrowboat trip :-)


26 comments:

  1. Aha! You have improved your stats by one commenter anyway:) I agree with you about diet. I have added a few pounds, but I think not enough exercise is more to blame than too much food in this case. Your trip sounds like it was invigorating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Walk2write, so good to see you again! Yes - Stats are looking good now. And you are right: exercise is very important. I walk about 11 km per day, and do a lot of sport - and of course: as soon as I was back home, I stopped the FEB and ate mysubstantial breakfast of porridge, 1 cooked egg, half a grapefruit and a bit of cottage cheese as every day. And lots of hot blacktea with milk and sugar.

      Delete
  2. What here is not to like. The art deco is wonderful; like the mirror on my mother's dressing table when I was a little girl. I see we eat alike. My diet amuses my grandaughters, who explain it as what old ladies eat. Haha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Joanne, thank you! I love art deco very much - so beautiful, and wonderful depicted in the BBC series "Jeeves and Wooster". "Old ladies' diet" shows: one can get a long life on that!

      Delete
  3. Lard is not used much any more but it makes the very best pie crust. If you make popcorn from scratch lard will make it fluffier and whiter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Emma, in Germany you'll have difficulties too to find lard - though they use it on fairs to produce a special pastry, "Schmalzkuchen". And very, very few people eat it on bread (though more often lard from geese).

      Delete
  4. Art deco deep fryers abound here in fish and chip shops. They just never wear up. Beef dripping makes the perfect fish and chip batter but is rarely found these days, vegetable oil being viewed as healthy (not true entirely) but tastes not so good. Everything in moderation. We have fish and chips once a month which is when I have run out of ideas and the will to cook something. My night off. I still cook with lard and it is sold in Waitrose so I am clearly not the only one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Rachel: a trip to your part of England sounds very interesting. To my friends I had to explain what "suet" is, which - as you know of course - is used for Christmas pudding. For very many things I use olive oil - and sometimes butter - everything, as you say, in moderation. Here I don't even have chips once a month - but if I eat them, I enjoy them without a bad conscience. Geese lard is sold at delicatessen here.

      Delete
  5. I suspect you have always been slim and always will be, Britta, because of Disposition and Verve. So the full English breakfast may, very suitably, be a red herring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Mise, I have always been slim - but my metabolism is changing a bit, so I listen to my stomach and stop. And I seldom buy sweets for my desk drawer - if they is there I'll munch them away (but I do eat a bit of very dark chocolate every day, though). And as I told Walk2write: I move a lot and am very diligent to push myself to the gym and do weight-training.
      When I remember my beloved Dorothy Sayers right, mustn't it be "Five Red Herrings" :-)

      Delete
  6. I think that there are quite a few Art Deco fish and chip shops left here Britta ....... they are beautiful and I hope the are here to stay.
    Your fish and chips sounded delicious. My mantra is ' everything in moderation ' and ' a little of what you fancy does you good ' .... I have stuck with that all of my life and have never had to diet. Enjoy the good things in life now and again. XXXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Jackie, I envy you those Art Deco chip shops - the one I saw was in a museum, though used. I fully join in into your mantra - and think it is valid for many things in life.

      Delete
  7. Chips in lard are explosive. Anyway, all that winding and grinding at the lock gates must have burnt off the calories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Tom, on our trip two years ago I worked very hard on the locks - the small ones and the very big ones - but then at Devizes I cracked my meniscus three times - not funny - using the wrong technique at the end, and too many locks. This times the guys - whom I told it before - were so kind to do all the hard lock-work, while I sat on the bow and brushed my long blonde hair, singing as Loreley...

      Delete
  8. Replies
    1. Dear Sue, it was so very, very friendly (I really felt ashamed about what mankind does to them).

      Delete
  9. None of the fish and chip shops round here cook in lard any more but I do remember them and the art deco shops from my childhood.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Elaine, so sad when such beautiful shops vanish! At the moment I watch the DVDs "Friends in the North", and it is very interesting to see what changed from the 1960s till now.

      Delete
  10. In Hebden Bridge I last had my chips in lard.

    Now I am cutting back on red meats, especially the processed vartiety, including bacon and bangers following the WHO's recent Health Alert regarding these products. Of my relatives, friends and acquaintances those who eat a diet based around vegetables are definitely living longer and have much energy for their advanced years.

    I don't know where all the pork and veal for the Wiener Schnitzels comes from, and maybe it's best that I don't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Gwil, I looked up Hebden Bridge and found out that once on a narrowboat trip we had been very near.
      I love to cook, and cut back on meat too - the last years we ate less and less, and then more chicken or fish. I love vegetables and love to cook them - but I think I will not become a vegetarian.
      As to your last sentence: in a restaurant I look first, but then, when I trust, I do not think about what the cooks might be doing in the kitchen. So I can enjoy. And a real Wiener Schnitzel is so lovely.

      Delete
  11. Thank you for taking us along on this bit of your adventure. I thoroughly enjoyed your cooking and dietary insights and encounter with the friendly pig. Showed that photo to Norma and she thought it delightful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Geo., the pig (I called it "him" because - no, that doesn't sound good - though I only meant...mmmh - a bit like 'Onslow', in 'Keeping Up Appearances' maybe?)

      Delete
  12. "All things in moderation" was my mother's mantra, and it is a good one for me too. A little of what I really want - why not? When we are on a cruise ship I pick and choose and then I walk - never use an elevator unless it is over a climb of 10 floors. The Great Dane groans and complains and sometimes heads for a 'ride' but I find this works for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Pondside, your mother's mantra is mine too. And running as much as one can: excellent! (Here my 'Jawbone'device motivates me).

      Delete
  13. I've been a vegetarian most of my life. I've always been puzzled when meat eaters ask me if it's boring. The food vegetarians and vegans eat has always seemed more interesting to me. And I've never understood the culinary need to make vegetables look like animals, although some of the end results can be interesting. For example, our local shop sells vegetarian haggis - which I keep meaning to try.

    Hope you enjoyed your trip up North. I went to Beamish once, years ago. I pass it quite often on the motorway when I go up that way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment, which I only saw today! Yes: diversication is great among vegetarian dishes. Loved them. And Beamish was a rel treat - we spent more than half a day there. I especially loved the garden, and the shops, of course.

      Delete