Reflections on art, fitness, family, politics and literature that hit me like bricks as I chauffeur my children from place to place...
A pink taxi
September 4, 2010
When I food shop in Dubai, I fill my cart with pomegranates from Iran, Alfonsine mangoes from India and pineapples from the Philippines. I buy cucumbers from Lebanon or organically grown Emirati ones. I buy labneh, haloum cheese, a salty yogurt drink we call dough. We used to buy Lebanese and Afghan bread and Basmati rice in kilos before we started workout regiments.
At Spinneys or Choitrams we skip the very expensive imported cheeses, the bluberries and rasberries, the peaches and nectarines that make it to our super market produce section. They have traveled too far and are the export produce, which are not always the best.
When I come to Switzerland, I skip the 5 swiss franc single pomegranate or the 7 swiss franc single mango, for the same reasons. I prefer my food not to carry too much mileage with it!
Instead, while in Geneva, I chose to eat their specialties. We indulge in a grand variety of very good breads, setting aside any protein diets I may have undertaken in Dubai. My kids tell the man at the cafe on Sundays that we don't have croissants and pain au chocolat in Dubai. They are mistaken. We just don't eat them there. Somehow the pastries there will never be formulated to taste like Swiss ones.
In Dubai, instead of croissants, my children savour manaeesh (thyme baked pizzas) as breakfast treats and they have the best cupcakes, which have been baked by our closest friends.
When and if I shop at Manor, the rather fancy super market (although not the fanciest), I select the buffala mozarella or the burratta mozarella (which my father introduced me to in San Remo), succulently soft and tangy mozarellas, that float in buckets of their own water. I also buy fresh carpaccio of beef or dried beef swiss style for our sandwiches. I buy the more gourmet bottled variety of tuna rather than the canned kind. We also select a variety of flavored swiss yogurts and cottage cheese. If we listen closely we can almost hear the cows in the distance!
My favorite shopping experience, probably because I am my father's daughter, remains the market days, on saturday and wednesday mornings. Imagine a market of fruit, vegetables and flowers practically at your doorstep! We run for the cherries in June and July and buy them by the kilos, to take as snack for the park. We select the orange-red abricots and ask for crunchy peaches and nectarines, the size of tennis balls! Come August, the cherries are still available but very expensive. Now we buy 250g at a time, especially for my husband who hasn't had them all summer! I also have a variety of figs to choose from, purple, black, blue or green! Raspberries and blueberries make the finest desserts or toppings on yogurt and cereal!
Today, I wore a wool sweater to the market. As I was ordering my favorite Alpine fruit, I remembered that autumn was approaching and we will return to Dubai, for the purchase and enjoyment of tropical fruit.
The pink taxi runs from 7 am to 7pm. It picks and drops off my 3 kids at school, ballet,judo, aikido, violin, climbing, riding, squash, basketball, skiing, skating, swim team, friends, grandparents and teachers. The car, not pink, but a black SUV, drives to Carrefour and Coop. To Club stretch for pilates and Aviation club for weekly workouts. It is driven by a woman who navigates on the radio, gets DJed by her 4 year old or sometimes quietly reflects. The thoughts are about politics, family, humor, literature, art or fitness. Sometimes they are excruciatingly longwinded, other times they are gossipy and hot.
I hope you will all enjoy!