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Blog / / READ. COOK. SING.
29/10/2021
READ. COOK. SING.
Milica Laufer Editor of MILICA magazine
READ. COOK. SING.
READ. COOK. SING. Recipes have never been just ingredients and method. It has always been important from whom you have got a recipe, at least

Čitaj. Kuvaj. Pevaj.

In the age in which all of us have become top chefs in our own kitchens, a party with friends over a dinner we prepared ourselves has become a more exclusive kind of entertainment than going out to a restaurant, where you have to queue to book a table. We have acquired skills in other fields as well. Business cards with official titles don’t say much about us. We recognise each other in accordance with how we spend our free time, and so we spend time in the circle of those people with whom we share similar tastes, practice a common hobby, or advocate the same values in life.

My home is my haven. At home, I work, I rest, and I go out there, too. When my mood and appetite change, even the view from the window becomes different. I sometimes like to be alone at home – to read, cook, and sing to myself. Still, the pinnacle of happiness is reached when the house is filled with dear guests. Then I get overwhelmed with a challenge to turn the meeting into good fun. The home is the place for meeting people.

Read. Cook. Sing. These are notes that reinforce this attitude in life. Let’s start…

READ

Although we most often tend to base our reading recommendations on new literature that has appeared fresh in bookshops, the literature that is discussed over and the literature we must not miss, I sometimes drift away from the new arrivals and blow the dust from the books that sit on top shelves. I like exchanging books with my friends. I easily give them as presents, ask to borrow them, neatly return them or send them further as agreed. Periodically, I collect them and take a dozen of books to the city library in my neighbourhood. In addition to the text itself, the part of the story that I find important then becomes the story about the life of the book itself: who I got it from, to whom I recommended it, where it continued to live.

I knew nothing about Norwegian author Linn Ullmann when I got a recommendation from a relative of mine: the novel Unquiet. In an idyllic and utterly intimate manner, the author presents her reminiscences of the summers and her childhood spent on the family estate on the island of Faro, Denmark. Her father is a famous theatre and film director, her mother is an actress. Her family is big and it also includes children from her father’s previous marriages. The story line revolves around a voice recorder, i.e. recordings of conversations between the father and the daughter. Their intention is to write a book together, on ageing and memories. The poetry in the relationship between the father and the daughter, firmly bonded to each other but lonely, is overwhelmingly reminiscent of the atmosphere in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere. Only after I’ve reached through a half of the book, I started to get interested in who the farther, the famous director, was. I checked the biography of the author and I learnt that Linn was a daughter of Ingmar Bergman and Liv Ullmann. I was entertained with this biographic ‘detail’ but it had no effect on my general impression regarding the further flow of the story. The novel is convincing and intriguing and without information about the concrete biographical background. My further research also led me to the Scenes from a Marriage, a mini-series from 1973, with Bergman as director and Liv Ullmann in the leading role. I wanted to see the foreground of the background about which Linn writes in the Unquiet. I was intrigued with this reverse direction of the art-life-art investigation of the Ullmann-Bergman family.

I have remembered this book again because I am now watching the HBO version of the Scenes from a Marriage series, inspired by none other than Bergman’s template. If you are also following this series, watch the original as well, but also read the Linn Ullmann’s novel. And tell me what you think of the proposed surf with hashtag Bergman. The book was published in Serbian by Geopoetika in 2018. As for the 1973 mini-series, I’m sure you will manage to find it yourself.

Cook

In October, we celebrate the autumn with chrysanthemums and pumpkins. Stuff your home with both of these ingredients, to make a typical autumn day as successful as possible.

Čitaj. Kuvaj. Pevaj.

Pumpkin cake

Ingredients:

500 g of pumpkin purée
300 g of flour
1 sachet of baking powder
3 eggs
300 g of brown sugar
225 g of melted butter
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla

For the topping: cream cheese and caster sugar

Preparation:

First, cut the pumpkin into slices and lay them on the oven tray, covered with parchment paper. Bake the pumpkin at 180oC for about 45 minutes, until it gets soft. Next, separate the juicy pumpkin pulp from the shell with a spoon and mix it in a blender until the purée becomes completely smooth.

Batter eggs and sugar with a mixer, add the spices, followed by butter and pumpkin purée. Then, using a wooden spoon, gradually mix in flour with baking powder. When the mixture becomes smooth, pour the batter into a rectangular or a Bundt-style pan. Bake for 50 minutes, in the oven pre-heated to 170oC.

In the meantime, prepare the topping: mix the Philadelphia-type cream cheese with caster sugar. Add a drop or two of lemon juice to taste.

When the cake is cold, spread the topping over the top of the cake. Serve with tea or hot chocolate. Chrysanthemums in autumn colours will perfectly accompany the serving on the table.

Sing

Since it had been announced in August, I counted the days on Instagram until the release of Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett’s Love for Sale album, on which they sing hits by Cole Porter. These two singing powers met already in 2014, on the Cheek to Cheek album, which followed their first collaboration in The Lady is a Tramp duet, released on Bennett’s Duets album (2011).

The inter-generation collaboration of musicians is quite trendy: Elton John and Dua Lipa, Barbara Streisand and Ariana Grande. However, I would go for this hearty jazz couple. The title-song, Love for Sale, probably communicates best in these crazy times of ours, although the interpretations of Night and Day and I Got You Under My Skin are also powerful. The most emotional of all – Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love) does not go towards a comic effect (like Ela Fitzgerald), but it follows an uncompromising singing improvisation.

As his family has announced, this is the last Tony’s album, since he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease before the start of recording. However, while you’re listening to him, you would rather be inclined to agree with the general impression of his partner: ‘I know he’s 95, yet every time I sing with him, I see a boy in front of me’, said Lady Gaga.

Avail yourself of these 44 minutes of this timeless music and if your hips and shoulders refuse to wiggle and shake to the rhythm of the sax and the voice, admit to yourself you’re a jinx or that this is not your day. And then, just press: replay.
AUTHOR
Milica Laufer
Editor of MILICA magazine