Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Angels Wear Red Shoes

Miep Gies died yesterday. Miep was the young secretary who with four others aided the Anne Frank family during their annexed hiding in Amsterdam during WWII. She died at age 100. A piece of history goes with her. Of that dangerous time she said, ““I am not a hero. I stand at the end of the long, long line of good Dutch people who did what I did or more – much more - during those dark and terrible times years ago, but always like yesterday in the hearts of those of us who bear witness. Never a day goes by that I do not think of what happened then.”

I learned something about Miep today when I went to her web page. She once brought Anne red shoes to the hideaway, sensing the girl’s sensitivity to having to wear clothes that didn’t fit her growing body and shoes that no longer fit her feet.

The back of the Frank House showing the upper windows

I took the following directly from her web page:

“Over the course of the period in hiding, everyone's clothes gradually became a bit tattered and shabby. Anne moreover physically grew out of her clothes, everything became too short and too tight, and her shoes no longer fit her feet. This was, at the same time, the period in which girls become very concerned over their appearance and wish to look pretty and adult. I sympathized with her situation and went in search of something that would make Anne feel particularly attractive. Of course, in the midst of war it was next to impossible to find a beautiful piece of clothing that was also affordable, but during one of my quests I came upon a handsome pair of shoes. “

Miep was often sympathetic to Anne's plight. For all the occupants, being in hiding was incredibly difficult and taxing, but especially for Anne, in the midst of her pubescent period, it must often have been awful. She loved the film stars in the weekly magazine Cinema & Theater, and she will certainly have imagined, from time to time, how glamorous she herself could look. But the reality of the situation was that her clothes not only started wearing thin, but also and especially started becoming too small.

Miep at sixteen...

Anne had grown out of everything she had, which brought Miep to the resolution:

"I became determined to find something grown-up and pretty for Anne in the course of my searches. One day I stumbled onto just the right thing. I had found a pair of high-heeled red leather pumps. They were secondhand, but in good condition. I hesitated about the size: how awful if they didn’t fit her. But then I thought, Buy! Take a chance. I brought them up to the hiding place behind my back. I went to Anne and stuck them in front of her. Never have I seen anyone so happy as Anne was that day. And quick, on went the shoes, and they fitted just right.

She got very quiet then: she had never felt herself on high heels before. She wobbled slightly, but with determination, chewing on her upper lip, she walked across the room, and back, and then did it again. Just walking back and forth, up and back, more and more steadily each time."

Miep during the war...

In her diary entry of August 10, 1943, Anne writes of her immense happiness with the red high heel shoes that Miep managed to acquire for her. Every week, Anne would devour the weekly magazine Cinema & Theater, which Victor Kugler always brought for her. She knew every film star and pored over their beautiful dresses and glamorous hairdos. Wearing her new shoes, she must also momentarily have felt like a star.

From the diary:

"Everywhere I go, upstairs or down, they all cast admiring glances at my feet, which are adorned by a pair of exceptionally beautiful (for times like these!) shoes. Miep managed to snap them up for 27.50 guilders. Burgundy-colored suede and leather with medium-sized high heels. I feel as if I were on stilts, and look even taller than I already am."

The diary, given to Anne on her thirteenth birthday. One month later, she went into hiding.

God bless you, Miep Gies.

“'I am one hundred years old now. That is an admirable age, and I have even reached it in fairly good health. So then it's fair to say you've been fortunate, and being fortunate seems to be the red thread running through my life.” ~~ Miep Gies

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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Classic Food Combinations

Explaining the symbiosis and synergy of powerful food combinations is one thing, but experience and experiment with as many of them as you can. Better yet, discover on your own.

Duck and Orange

Orange and Fennel

Fennel and Arugula

Arugula and Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar and Strawberries

Strawberries and Cream

Cream and Garlic

Garlic and Haricot Verts

Haricot Verts and Almonds

Almonds and Trout

Trout and Horseradish

Horseradish and Roast Beef

Roast Beef and Potatoes

Potatoes and Duck Fat

Duck Fat and Parsnips

Parsnips and Beets

Beets and Lemon

Lemon and Poppy Seeds

Poppy Seeds and Radishes

Radishes and Sea Salt

Sea Salt and Caramel

Caramel and Chocolate

Chocolate and Red Wine

Red Wine and Filet Mignon

Filet Mignon and Truffles

Truffles and Leeks

Leeks and Chestnuts

Chestnuts and Venison

Venison and Shallots

Shallots and Corn

Corn and Chipolte

Chipolte and Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise and French Fries

French Fries and Mussels

Mussels and Saffron

Saffron and Lamb

Lamb and Cardamom

Cardamom and Rose Water

Rose Water and Pistachios

Pistachios and Artichokes

Artichokes and Mozzarella

Mozzerella and Tomatoes

Tomatoes and Cucumbers

Cucumbers and Lingonberries

Lingonberries and Wild Goose

Wild Goose and Wild Rice

Wild Rice and Sausage

Sausage and Spinach

Spinach and Pine Nuts

Pine Nuts and Couscous

Couscous and Chicken

Chicken and Peanut

Peanut and Cilantro

Cilantro and Avocado

Avocado and Grapefruit

Grapefruit and Jicama

Jicama and Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi and Mango

Mango and Thai Basil

Thai Basil and Japanese Eggplant

Japanese Eggplant and Miso

Miso and Shiso

Shiso and Yuzu

Yuzu and Tamari

Tamari and Pecans

Pecans and Pumpkin

Pumpkin and Prawns

Prawns and Sirloin

Sirloin and Blue Cheese

Blue Cheese and Asian Pears

Asian Pears and Pomegranate

Pomegranate and Yogurt

Yogurt and Meyer Lemon

Meyer Lemon and Green Olives

Green Olives and Manchego

Manchego and Quince

Quince and Vanilla Bean

Vanilla Bean and Peaches

Peaches and Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar and Bacon

Bacon and Eggs

Eggs and Cotswold Cheddar

Cotswold Cheddar and Walnuts

Walnuts and Honey

Honey and Apples

Apples and Cinnamon

Cinnamon and Star Anise

Star Anise and Mint

Mint and Grand Marnier

Grand Marnier and Crepes

Crepes and Mushrooms

Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

Goat Cheese and Figs

Figs and Foie Gras

Foie Gras and Brioche

Brioche and Butter

Butter and Marjoram

Marjoram and Pearl Barley

Pearl Barley and Pearl Onions

Pearl Onions and Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas and Pancetta

Pancetta and Capers

Capers and Smoked Salmon

Smoked Salmon and Bagels

Bagels and Cream Cheese

Cream Cheese and Caviar

Caviar and Oysters

Oysters and Turkey

Turkey and Turkish Apricots

Turkish Apricots and Spanish Onions

Spanish Onions and Brisket

Brisket and Bread

Bread and Dijon Mustard

Dijon Mustard and Pork

Pork and Juniper Berries

Juniper Berries and Pineapple

Pineapple and Coconut

Coconut and Lemongrass

Lemongrass and Ginger

Ginger and Duck

Friday, January 01, 2010

January 1, 2010 - The Blue Moon New Year

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