It has been a long while since I published a recipe, and for that matter an etiquette poll, but since my blog inspiration in general has come back, I am also more motivated to take up this Wednesday theme! If anybody wants to join in the Wednesday recipe / Etiquette poll, just let me know and I will link you up.
Since the Belgian summer has been so warm and sunny so far (this week a little less even though I can see a blue sky at the moment), I have been making a lot of light and simple salads. Here are two of my favourite ones:
Cherry tomato and rucola pasta salad
– cherry tomatoes
– pasta; such as farfalle or torti / fusilli
– a handful of rucola / rocket / arugula
– Optional: some slices of cured ham such as Parma ham or Spanish jamón AND / OR canned artichoke hearts AND / OR feta cheese
– fresh basil
– olive oil, salt & pepper
Haricots verts and potato salad
– new potatoes – boiled and halved if small, otherwise in quarters (I usually boil the potatoes already in small pieces, saves time!)
– fresh haricots verts (string beans) – boiled to desired texture; I like mine crispy, O prefers them more soft…
– cherry tomatoes – halved
– feta cheese – cut in pieces
– Optional: some slices of cured ham such as Parma ham or Spanish jamón
– olive oil, (balsamic vinegar, optional), salt & pepper
As you can see I am going through a feta and jamón period at the moment! I have these phases when I completely focus on one or two ingredients – previous obsessions have included soft-boiled eggs, lemon and gorgonzola. Rucola is another current favourite, probably because I never bought it (only exceptionally found it but in small, expensive packages) in Puerto Rico! And of course – I am eternally obsessed by potatoes, O calls me “Mrs Potatis” (potato in Swedish) 😀
Etiquette Poll on Nakedness:
I read in a Swedish magazine (Damernas Värld, nr 8/2010) a few weeks ago about “the new prudeness” – in the article it was discussed that Swedes (women) have become more prude / liberal and less prone to sunbathing topless, taking a sauna naked or breastfeeding in public than previous generations. It made me think about my own attitude towards nakedness. I have never seen myself as prude, I am after all Swedish but no, I never sunbathe topless, however I wouldn’t wear a swim suit when in an unmixed sauna and I have so far never had to consider whether breastfeeding in public or not.
I will never forget the embarrassment of an Italian male friend when on the beach with four Scandinavian girls – the two Danes were sunbathing topless, while my Swedish friend and I had kept our bikini tops on. The poor guy was trying to completely focus on us Swedes and not glance over to the Danish girls… It was probably especially uncomfortable for him as one of the Danish girls was the girlfriend of one of his friends! When I go to the beach in Sweden nowadays it seems, interestingly enough, to be more common among the older generation to be topless than among women my own age.
A few years ago I went to a Belgian spa for the first time for a French friend’s hen party. We were a group of mixed nationalities – mostly French, but also Greek, German, and Swedish. Initially we were a little disappointed by the smallness of the spa until we saw a door saying “No swimsuits”. A bit perplexed we opened the door slightly and discovered a huge area with big swimming pools and jacuzzi … and lots of naked people! It was quite interesting to see how the group split into two; the French girls who took off their swim suits and giggling entered the main part of the spa which was the mixed, nude area and the Greek, German and Swedish contingent that decided to stay in the small, dressed women’s swimming area.
Those of us who decided to stay clothed questioned why you would have to be nude in the mixed area and not in the unmixed one? None of us knew that this is apparently the Belgian tradition! I have since then been with a Swedish friend to another Belgian spa with the same division between nude and clothed areas, and we both had the same reaction – why would we want to be naked with male strangers? When I discussed it with some Belgian female friends they just didn’t understand what was the issue. Well, personally I don’t mind being naked among other women, but I just don’t see the point in taking my swim suit off among men. What do you think? How would you react if you had to be nude in a swimming pool / spa?