Wednesday, June 2, 2010


     Today's post brings me to my favorite of favorite words: funktionslust, which is taking pleasure is doing something because you are good at it. I think even the word itself was thought up for shits and giggles; even the sound and look of the word are satisfying to my brain. This word is not necessary to life, like water or food, it goes beyond the mundane, and describes what transcends the everyday.
     Even in simple tasks we can experience funktionslust, like when we have to go back to the house because we have forgotten something and we sprint to the door and double up the steps, not because we are in a rush but just because we can. And we stop for a moment, a little out of breath and feel alive and good.
      I discovered this word in a book about the emotional lives of animals called When Elephants Weep. Its kind of nerdy with lots of scientific reference, but if you love animals its a great read. Animals experience funktionslust, too. A lion in a zoo who gets fed giant slabs of meat may not be as fulfilled as a lion who gets to hunt for his food. Hunting may be an end in itself for the lion. He enjoys hunting because its an ability he can perform very well. He is meant to hunt.
     This brings me to my little hunter, my jaguar cat Bean. I lent Bean out for the second time to be a mouser. Now I won't reveal who has the mouse problem, but I will say they do live in Brooklyn.
     I have been criticized for lending my cat out as if I am giving my child away, abandoning him perhaps. I don't see it this way. I feel that I am giving him the opportunity to experience funktionslust, be a hunter, which is written in his DNA. I really want him to catch a mouse. I would be so proud of my little Bean Burrito.
     So we had a little local farewell party for my Beanershnitzel.
     We started with some Local Mint Juleps with mint I planted in the yard last fall. These are so fun! Make mint infused simple syrup by boiling one part water with one part sugar then throw some mint in. To make the cocktail, put ice in a glass, add your bourbon and some of the syrup and garnish with mint dusted with powdered sugar.
     There was also some delicious bread from the Farmer's Market along with some nice cheese, but that got eaten before a photo op of course.
     I made a Spelt Herb Salad with Tomatoes and Strawberries. Simple: cook the spelt according to the directions and remember you need to soak it for a few hours before you boil it. While the spelt is warm add some fresh spring garlic and scapes, shallots, lots of garden herbs, like tarragon, thyme, parsley and basil, then throw in some fresh tomatoes and strawberries. Season it with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
        I also made a Lentil Salad with Roasted Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes and Pineapple Sage from my garden. I soaked the lentils overnight then boiled them for about and hour then seasoned them with salt and pepper. Meanwhile I roasted asparagus with olive oil and salt and pepper. Then I tossed the lentils, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, diced shallots and sage together with olive oil and salt and pepper.
      Dead mouse count is zero for the Beanernator, but just his kitty presence is enough to scare away pests. If you need to borrow my cat, he will be available at the end of the week. He just requires, food water, love and the opportunity to experience funktionslust, which for him seems to be sleeping in the linen closet on a fresh pile of clean laundry.
*All ingredients are local. 


Rocco Galatioto said...

Jen, in our house not even computer mice stand a chance.

Rocco Galatioto said...

Don't you ever have any left overs. When I look at those glorious photos I become a real morto di fame.