As soon as I arrive in the small street in Amsterdam I frantically start looking for a parking spot and luck seems to be on my side as I find one within 200 meters of my final destination. I park, put on my parkline parking thingie, grab my bag from the passenger seat and run rather then walk those last 200 meters to De Sperwer. Unfortunately the door is already closed when I arrive, so I feel even worse when the workshop leader comes down the stairs to open the doors. The typical ‘who are you’ round is nearly finished when I mumble some excuses for being half an hour late and quickly take the one empty seat.
Maybe not the best start of my culinary writing course I am taking under the esteemed Onno Kleyn, a rather famous culinary writer here in the Netherlands. But I had to work and as luck would have it, the cooking contest I was shooting ran late by two hours. I had anticipated a little delay but not two hours… I am thirsty and slightly exhausted when I take my seat at the workshop (afraid to ask for a coffee) and listen to the last few people introducing themselves. It’s a mixed company and I’m already mortified that I might have to introduce myself as well. I hate introducing myself. I always feel I need to say a lot more then “My name is Simone, I am a photographer and I like to write.” The stories I’m hearing from the contestants don’t help. Entire life histories are being recited and one fact sounds even more impressive then the next. For just a brief moment I hope they forget all about me, but one person is so smart as to notice I haven’t said anything so I squeek out the previously mentioned part… Not very impressive no…
That part over we continue with a lot of information about form, content and your target audience which is all hugely interesting so I’m relaxing a bit. Before we came to the course we were asked to write a piece. It’s all shared on dropbox so we could read each others entries before coming to the first lesson. I wrote a – apparently slightly controversial – piece about Vietnam, dogs being eaten there and chickens that are very cruelly treated at the markets. My controversial statement was that I truly think that most caged chickens here would rather die a cruel death if that meant having a life filled with roaming around farms and even roaming around villages for a considerable longer period then the 6-8 weeks they get to life here. Bundled up together with god knows how many other chickens. Never seeing the sky, never knowing the pleasure of picking up little bits of this and little bits of that and every now and then a fat worm… I don’t think that is controversial. I hate animal cruelty. Anywhere, anyplace, so I’m not saying that is ok. I’m just wondering which cruelty is worse….
After all that reflecting I leave you with a deceptively simply salad. Easy to throw together and delicious in all it’s simplicity!