Monday, June 15, 2009

Vicarious Dining . . .

Shy Chef 'Maria'
(Image from Shy Chef)

I've not visited Berlin for about 15 years, I think, for I last went (perhaps) in the early 90s. Prior to that, I had visited the city shortly after the wall had come down, when the two Germanies were still separate. I liked noisy Berlin, but I preferred the quiet little town of Tuebingen and probably wouldn't have met my lovely Sun-Ae if I'd gone to live in what became the new capital of unified Germany because I would likely have missed that fateful train.

But if I could visit the city now, I would seek out the Shy Chef 'Restaurant', which I've just now read about in the International Herald Tribune offline but found online at the New York Times website in an article, "Berlin's Hidden Restaurants" (June 14, 2009), by Gisela Williams:

Situated on a quiet residential street in Berlin's bohemian neighborhood of Kreuzberg, the restaurant was actually in someone's living room, decorated with fresh flowers and colorful artwork.

The eight guests -- including a couple from Finland, two young women from Ireland and two radio journalists from Berlin -- had never met before. Nor had they met the host, Maria, who calls herself the Shy Chef. (Like other underground restaurateurs who operate without a license, she did not give her full name for fear of being shut down.)

Maria has been inviting strangers into her home for dinner since March, as a kind of guerrilla-style restaurant. Patrons that night enjoyed a six-course meal that included a vodka-marinated salmon, a fine selection of wines and the warm company of fellow guests.

It felt like a dinner party given by an eclectic and extroverted new friend, except that those present scored invitations online (at The Shy Chef) and chipped in 50 euros each ($72.50 at $1.45 to the euro).
Well, I can't go to shy Maria's restaurant, but I can make a vicarious visit by means of her blog's "Welcome":

If you've just found us via the New York Times, welcome -- pleasure to have you here! We're a small secret supper club in the heart of Berlin, serving up a five-course meal for absolute strangers every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There's a little more information about us here, and you can read what other guests have to say about us here. And if you’d like to make a reservation, just go here!
Absolute strangers? I can't even take my wife? That is Bohemian! And a temptation. I learned a bit about tempation yesterday in the SIBC's Sunday morning sermon: "Tackling Temptation" (June 13, 2009), which I here summarize in Byronic fashion:
Albeit all human history attests
That happiness for man -- the hungry sinner --
Since Eve ate apples, much depends on dinner.
Lord Byron was right about dinner, as Margaret Visser has also shown. Ever since the Garden of Eden (whether taken as literal or metaphor), temptation has promised to satisfy the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the lust for this life's worldly abundance. That 'Big Apple', Berlin, appeals to all three of these, including by way of the Shy Chef 'Restaurant'. If only I could take my wife . . . rather like Adam, in a palindromic role reversal, inviting Eve: "Madam, I'm Adam." The world might turn out better then, since munch depends on diner.

But since I can't go, perhaps you can, my anonymous friend? The food must be good . . . to please the eye, satisfy hunger, and bring wish fulfillment.

Labels: , ,


At 5:56 AM, Anonymous The Shy Chef said...

Well, if you happen to be passing through, we'd love to have you over for dinner ;-)

At 6:06 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I might have to take a rain cheque on that invitation, but say hello to all the 'absolute strangers' for me.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *


Post a Comment

<< Home