Of Trouts and Almonds

Do people still eat trout and almonds? Once, oh so many years ago, this was a family favourite, along with glorious sundaes of whipped cream and fresh, succulent strawberries. My mother often served trouts, complete with heads and crispy skin, covered in a duvet of oily fried almond shavings. There were boiled potatoes too, neatly cut and bedecked with fresh parsley. So many memories of childhood return to food. Food and treats, food and love, food and simmering tension. Each Sunday we ate out, short journeys through a land of pine and cold streams, a land of rocky cliff and undulating fenceless fields. Luxembourg in the 1970s was a principality just thirty years free of German occupation and now home to the European institutions. This was my home for 11 years.

My parents often chose to come to Larochette, a village built at the food of a ruined castle, and here we ate in a large, noisy restaurant that smelt of chips, and alcohol, a fug of cigarette smoke enveloping all in wisps. I am not sure how much I ever enjoyed these meals. They seemed to mark the mid-point of Sunday, dividing it into the part that was still weekend, freedom from the fear of school and childhood cruelty, and the second part when Sunday afternoon became the worst school night of all. It was a time when tensions erupted like an emotionally abusive Jack in the Box. But before the countdown to a rainy Monday morning began, there was still the joy of a Coupe Fraise, the glorious dessert of unctuous whipped chantilly, three scoops of vanilla and strawberry ice cream, a generous topping of fresh strawberries and maniacally generous squirt of red, sweet syrup. The painting featured at the top is for sale at https://www.artfinder.com/product/larochette-view-of-the-town/

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