I just have to share this.
I mean, sushi and all, it’s damn good, sometimes, I think I know a couple of places here in Oslo where you can really feel at least reasonably gentrified. If you can pay the bill (reasonable for Oslo) you can relax, actually enjoy yourself, feel not royal, which must be a bother, but as a sensible count, resting from his duties. It’s better to be second. Not first, but second, it’s more comfortable, you can hide a little.
Of course, raw fish converted into Northern ways, this wouldn’t pass any test in Tokyo or Kobe, because, obviously, presentation, as I would call it as a European, is so much part of sushi, it probably surpasses texture and maybe even what many here in Norway would call the real taste of
fish. It influences the experience of the food in ways that I know nothing
about. How do the Japanese think about their food? An interesting subject of thought, and discussion, if you have anything to say about it. I have to read something, or get to know a Japanese. I don’t think I would mind.
But now, what you do, on these Northern shores, you buy yourself a piece of saithe (what a name, in Norwegian sei, anyway a very common fish here, the cheapest, which means absolutely nothing these days, and, yes, a little coarse texture, but still really good stuff, and almost always available in good shape.)
Anyway, you take the fillet of saithe, cut it in slices, put it on a lompe with butter, take a little honey on top and, sorry, Tabasco again. I guess if you’re a real chilli eater maybe use some fresh stuff, I don’t know.
And if you’re lucky enough to have a bottle of Pouilly-Fumé,
or some other really good French white, or whatever you like, drink it with the food. I had a bottle, intended for something else. The wine felt like a count or a countess itself, had no problem in answering back at the pepper and be clear and crisp at the same time. Spice, mountain water, and something complicated and interesting. Almost something to really ponder.
The fish you buy as fresh as you can. I don’t know how many fishmongers there are left in Oslo, not many, but some people in the supermarkets are also clever and at least to a certain extent, eager to please.
Well, this is kind of nice. The only thing I need right now is a guest. Sharing food like this…I sometimes get pepper, as we say, for being obnoxiously showy, just wanting to show off my cooking skills as a bloody amateur, but I enjoy giving food away, especially if it’s an invention of some kind, not hitting any headlines other than among friends, but still. I
want to give you something, maybe you haven’t tried this? Let’s get drunk and have some fun, I don’t care where the evening ends. I think.
I’m not really sad tonight, I’m touching on my old sense of travelling into the night, I’ve had some during the years, northern
and southern, here in the north, which is a world of its own. Norway is actually quite a long piece of land.
I can remember nights long ago, when winters were cold and crisp, we followed a girl home just to be gentlemanlike, walking over the fields and through the wood to where she lived, at least three quarters of an hour, and back again. It was real chivalry, this time only friendship, no sorrow of love, just kindness, a little project. We undertook it with the obvious, natural boldness of youth. I’m not sure I even understood what I was doing. You are a friend, of course I’ll walk you home.
We’re still friends, of course we are, I don’t give up friends if I can avoid it.
I’d love to do it again, something like it, but this time with someone else. Boldness is a nice thing, often difficult to practice, but when you have done something really nice it’s like…petits fours, a treat, unexpected treasures found.
My son just loves the small dessert inventions of my local French style restaurant. They are really good. I wonder what he’ll be doing in 25 years. Maybe he’ll be making sweet things in a restaurant. I’d be bloody proud.
I’ll have to teach him some more about frying croutons, or something else.
I can hear a girl laughing, two stories down, encouraged by a man. What a nice sound.
And in the end, my poetic mood gets interrupted by the ducks again. They’re up too, a surprise, really, at one o’clock, even if I’ve heard them before. I really wonder what they are doing.