“My Berlin Kitchen-Eating for Heartbreak” by Luisa Weiss


I emotionally eat for a variety of reasons:-to celebrate, yes, that is a great excuse of mine.   Others are to reward myself for a difficult task finally accomplished, when I am blue or under the weather, when I am stressed or hurried.   I don’t recall eating for heartbreak not because this has never occurred, but that I have successfully blocked the feeling from my consciousness.  My “consoling” foods are often warm and slurpy pastas that create that sense of physical fullness.  I suppose I rationalize it this way: if my heart cannot be full, perhaps my full stomach can replace the sensation.  I am far too “carb” focused to ever consider a salad as a comfort food, but when so beautifully described as Luisa Weiss does here, I would consider having the provisions on hand (in case of an emergency of the heart).

Now, I’m not talking about big leafy green salads.  Those won’t do for heartbreak.  What I find to be a very reliable meal in times of misery involve a little bowl of what some people might call an abbreviated version of a Greek salad.  What’s important is that you find yourself a snappy little cucumber without any give (I like seedless Kirbys or Persian cucumbers), a handful of cherry tomatoes that actually taste like something, mercifully available all  year long now, a small slab of feta cheese (Greek or French, it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s fresh), and dried oregano (Greek or Italian, please).


Don’t bother peeling the cucumber, but slice it in half lengthwise and then in little half-moons.  Cut the tomatoes in halves or quarters and the feta into small cubes.  Combine all of this in a bowl and sprinkle judiciously with oregano, plus a good pinch of flaky salt.  Don’t skimp on the salt because of the feta.  trust me, it’s a mistake.  Your body needs the salt; haven’t you been crying your eyes out?  Replenish.  Then add a good glug of olive oil and the smallest drip of vinegar (I use white wine vinegar; but you could use Champagne, I suppose, or sherry vinegar; whatever you do, no balsamic, I beg of you), and toss the whole thing together until the tomatoes glisten with olive oil, the herbs are dispersed, and the fetas is starting to break down, ever so slight;y at the edges.

Now if it’s summer; and I hope it I because at least then you’ve got a leg up on the the poor winter heartbroken who definitely have the rawer end of the deal, go out on your balcony, your backyard, or, all else failing, your front stoop.  I find it rather important to eat this little salad, which might be all you can stomach in a day, in the setting sun.  As you crunch your way carefuly through your bowl, the sun makes you squint and warms your hair,and the soft evening breeze will feel like a caress, which I think you need almost as much as you need the salad.

As your fork spears every more hungrily, you can start to daydream about that trip tp Greece you’d like to think about taking where you can eat feta and tomatoes, all day long ever day, and great big olives too, and nice warm bread, and there will be a few handsome waiters winking at you as you sit by the bar with your glass of retsina and your sun-kissed tourist glow.  Suddenly, you’ll find yourself scraping the bottom of your bowl rather lustily and you might feel sheepish, or at least a little guilty, for enjoying the simple meal so much when you thought you might never eat again. 

Don’t worry the heartbreak’s not entirely gone, and it won’t be until it skulls away of its own accord.  But in the mean time, you snuck a meal past its shadowy figure and you are felling rather good, like you wouldn’t mind another one of those,or at least a spoon to get at the dregs of the dressing at the bottom of the bowl.  Here’s a little tip from me to you: no one, but no one, will notice if your raise your bowl to your lips and tip it back, letting the herbed oil and vinegar, flecked with bits of feta and tomato seeds, pour down your throat.  You might cough a bit if its too sharp, and you might feel just a little greedy.  But it’s worth it, I think, to feel your appetite and your lust for life come back to life, one cherry tomato at a time.

I hope that these couple of excerpts have tantalized you to pick up My Berlin Kitchen for your own.  I haven’t even told you about the great recipes which eat each and every chapter…….

Kath’s quote: “I have made a lot of mistakes falling in love, and regretted most of them, but never the potatoes that went with them.”-Nora Ephron

Love-that is all.

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