When I was a little girl, I never questioned why there was always more toilet paper stacked up than could conceivably be used in half a year, bags of rice in the spare room, boxes upon tidily packed boxes of those tissues you get handed to you in Japanese subway stations and even the rinds of watermelon were pickled so as not to waste them. Plastic bags were carefully smoothed, folded and put away, holes in towels and socks were mended, the backs and margins of supermarket flyers were kept to scribble on and the china cabinet was always filled with extra packets of tea.
Now I realise that my obaachan, having lived through times of deprivation and trouble, saved things for a rainy day. And what a rainy day it is in Japan.
I know you’ve all seen the heartbreaking pictures and videos and read the ominous updates and statistics that march relentlessly down your computer screen, televisions, newspapers so I’m not going to talk about those.
What I do want to say is how touched I’ve felt seeing the outpouring of financial and emotional support everywhere on the internet from people in countries far away as well as the strength and co-operation between people in Japan, especially those nameless workers toiling to cool the nuclear reactors at great personal risk.
It’s easy these days to feel cynical and jaded with the touch-of-a-button access we have to images of tragedy, cruelty and strife from all corners of the world but if something good has come out of the earthquake, the tsunami and the crisis of the nuclear reactors, it’s the visceral feeling – as opposed just to an intellectual one – that most people truly are good and kind and want to help, would love to make a difference.
I hope it’s a feeling I can keep, in my pocket, to touch and take out sometimes, to have a look at – even on a sunny day.
This chive sauce is the third part of the tafelspitz series and is served with the meat but would be lovely I think as a herby mayonnaise (for that is basically what it is) for sandwiches and with vegetables or potato salad.
How do you “waste not want not”?
Schnittlauch (Chive) Sauce
250 ml (1 cup) milk
2 cooked egg yolks
2 raw egg yolks (use very fresh free-range ones here)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard (grainy or not, whatever)
250 ml plain flavoured oil (such as sunflower oil)
A bunch of chives, chopped finely
Hollow the rolls out, discard the crusts and put the innards in a bowl with the milk
for a few seconds until soft.
Squeeze the bread out well and push through a fine sieve with the cooked yolks.
In another bowl, put the raw yolks, mustard and vinegar and beat, adding the oil
drop by drop until it emulsifies (becomes pale and thick) and then you can pour the
oil in in a thin stream. You can also do this in a food processor, if preferred.
Stir the bread mix and raw yolk mix together and add salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in the chives, serve with tafelspitz.