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Blog / / READ. COOK. SING.
13/02/2022
READ. COOK. SING.
Milica Laufer Editor of Milica magazine
READ. COOK. SING.
I still remember the holidays of love when no one in the world was more in love than I, and the world around me was falling apart in poverty. Not even a bag of sugar, let alone a bar of chocolate, could be found on supermarket shelves. Boxes of chocolate could only be found on stocks of frugal housewives, who were saving them for doctors and kindergarten teachers, while the chocolate in them has meanwhile acquired that rancid taste from being kept for too long. At that time, my favourite sweet bites were candy apples, that were sold on street stalls, together with popcorn and roasted chestnuts. That sticky taste of red sugar and juicy apple has stayed in my memory as a sweet trifling pleasure, which used to make me immensely happy, just as the kisses of my first boyfriend.

As regards the Valentine’s Day, I don’t care much about the historic or religious background of the story of Saint Valentine, or about the profit of the capitalist consumerism. In order to celebrate love, it shouldn’t even be important if we are in love at all. Since, Saint Valentine is also celebrated by those who are looking forward to, hoping for, seeking that flush of infatuation. It is even celebrated by those broken-hearted, who ‘shed sweet tears of love’, as Bebi Dol sings on her totally enamoured album – Rhythm of Heart. The song says that only when we get to love our own heart, we will be able to have it beat for someone else.

This is why I am inviting you to pass this decisive love circle of giving and accepting on your own tiny personal level. I propose you a list with a more open approach to celebrating love, a list that still does not deviate much from the expected chocolates and love songs.

Read.

Only a couple of weeks ago, the winner of the Nin Prize was announced – Milena Marković, for her verse novel: Children. This is only the sixth prize awarded to a woman, out of a total of 58 Nin Prizes. The literary form of the awarded text – a novel or a poem, is not a decisive criterion in recommending this masterpiece.

Children is a lyrical, intimate, and distressful testimony of the writer on motherhood and childhood. Children is a generational memory of a world that has disappeared. Children is a lost battle with the world that’s coming. Children is hope, and disappointment, and love, and salvation. We are all children.

Many people feel resistance against reading verses and feel awkward when reading poetry. Milena lures us into that discomfort zone powerfully and consciously, bravely revealing her intimate space before the reader. The text is driving us fast and furiously through emotions, memories, family traumas, joys, inebrieties, loves, and fears. Risking stomach churns and dizziness, insert a token into this rollercoaster of fears and poetic images, generously written by this genius poet in one breath, without capital letters, comas, or full stops.

There was a girl once
beautiful and proud
quick and smiling
with long hair and white arms
and that girl thought
I am the best and the prettiest
there’s no one good enough for me here
where is the one who’s good enough for me
once she got flowers that girl
she threw them away
another time she got a poem
she threw it away
a third time she got a ring
she threw it away
and one day a wind came
and the wind hugged her so
that she couldn’t breathe
and the wind blew her skirt upwards
and the wind blew her hair upwards
and the wind turned her up and down and round and round
and she didn’t know that girl
what was going on with her... (Milena Marković, Children)



Cook.

It’s hard to resist chocolate hearts in the windows of our favourite confectioner’s, and it’s hard to compete against them. So, when it comes to desserts, I decided to surrender before the convincing offer of the sweet Valentine Collection. I am going to pick a ruby chocolate heart from the window, and I am going to devote myself to the main dish in my own kitchen. I am going to cook something juicy, warm, ‘very, very French’ – Coq au vin (a rooster in wine). Maybe once they cooked a real cock, but all the modern-day recipes for this traditional French dish contain chicken meat and, although it sounds as a serous culinary achievement, it is in fact quite easy to prepare. Julia Child made it famous in the USA, and Megan cooked coq au vin to Don Draper, with love and casually.

In addition to the bird, the main ingredient of this dish is wine, so the main deviations in regional versions of the recipe will be manifested in the selection of wine. Taking into account my environment, the one of Mount Fruška Gora, in my recipe I chose to cook the rooster in Riesling in place of the usual pinot noir. The first step is, therefore, to decide on the cellar which you are going to order your wine from – first for the rooster, and then for your toast of love.

Rooster in wine

Ingredients:

2 table spoons of olive oil
100 g of bacon
1 clove of garlic
1 small leek
6 chicken drumsticks, deboned
150 g of oyster mushrooms
500 ml of Riesling
Bey leaf
1 table spoon of double cream
Salt and pepper

Preparation:

Heat the oil in a pot (if you have it, use a cast iron skillet with a lid) and fry bacon slices on medium fire until they’re crispy. Add the leek and crushed garlic, and stew them together with the bacon until soft, for a couple of minutes. Cut the chicken drumsticks in two or three pieces and lay them into the pot with bey leaves and diced/sliced mushrooms. Pour wine over, and add salt and pepper to taste. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat, put the lid on the pot, and leave it simmer for about 40 minutes. Finally, stir in a spoon or two of double cream if you like.

Serve the rooster with flat pasta, well buttered after cooking. Pinot noir would perfectly go with your rooster in white wine, both for its nonchalance and for its vivid colour of love.

Sing.

Although it was released in the end of last year, the new album of the coming Belgian pop star Angèle – Nonante-Cinq (95) is still running through my head these days. Ninety-five is the year of birth of this lovely blonde, who quickly conquered social networks with her voice and spontaneous videos in she is playing the piano and singing, and then, after a couple of public appearances and a couple of songs with topic of gender discrimination, she also acquired the status of a brisk feminist activist. Her first album, Brol (2018), was issued in over million copies. In 2019, Angèle became the face of the CHANEL and one of the leading pop vocalists in the French-speaking world.

In the opening song of the latest album, Bruxelles je t'aime, Angèle declares love to her city and sends a clear political message on her deep disapproval of the language divisions in Belgium. She celebrates freedom and happiness in a solo issue, in songs that contain elements of disco sound: Vivre libre, Solo! Albeit frequently imbued with melancholy, with bitter feelings sometimes, these mainly merry melodies will lift your head up, shake your neck, and make your body dance. Even when love hurts, ‘we get used to it’, and ‘with sincere words’ ‘everything makes sense in the end’ (in songs: On s'habitue, Mots juste, Plus de sense).

‘Once when we are able to celebrate
When we find what’s important
When we stop waiting
Everything will make sense.’ - Angèle, Plus de sense

I’ve already got my earphones on, I am running out to the street, biting the top of that candy apple to make my day sweet. For the glory of love!

AUTHOR
Milica Laufer
Editor of Milica magazine