Here is my latest and last abc installment: “Z”. As always, I choose three words and write something about them. I try to relate them to Switzerland or the Swiss or my life in Switzerland. “Z” is for zero, zucchini and zone. I hope you have enjoyed my complete alphabet soup!
is for Zero
For busy young adults, the lure of meal substitutes is simple. It is all about convenience; the level of effort to open a bottle or package is minimal. The time from thinking you are hungry to eating is almost zero.
~ Steve Blank
When I first came to Switzerland there were almost no fast food “restaurants”. Most shops closed for 2 hours during lunch because everyone went home to a big meal. I thought it was great; go home during lunch. At home I ate something and walk the dog before going back to work.
Then along came the fast food chains from America, McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy’s to name a few. All of the sudden we didn’t have to drive 2 hours to Geneva to find a McDonalds. There was one in Berne! I even took my godchild to eat there on a special occasion. She wasn’t especially thrilled but, come to think of it, neither was I the first time I went to a McDonalds. An acquired taste.
Times were changing. The slower way of life is moving faster. Stores are open over lunchtime. Lunch break has been shaved down to 1 hour, which isn’t quite the 45 minutes in the States. The main meal has shifted to the evening in many households.
Even though I know it’s not the healthiest of habits, I sometimes find myself in exactly the hunger situation. I usually want to make something extremely healthy for dinner. Then I get involved in doing something else (usually something artsy). All of the sudden I’m hungry and want to eat at that moment. Then it’s time for me to open packages and pop corks. Luckily for me, my husband and our health, that doesn’t happen every day.
Is for Zucchini
Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.
~ Jim Davis
I can see a theme developing here. Food. Oh well, maybe I’m just hungry. That saying is almost as good as “what is a man’s idea of a balanced diet? A bag of chips in each hand.” But I digress.
Back to the vegetables. I like carrot cake, although chocolate cake is better. Yes, I know, chocolate is not a vegetable. But I believe it is one of the major food groups?
Pumpkin pie has never been on my list of things to eat. Once someone brought a homemade pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. She thought all Americans eat that. Wrong, this one doesn’t. Luckily I had made an American apple pie and a lemon meringue pie. We also had many people over for Thanksgiving that year. Her pumpkin pie was good and eaten up completely without me having to have any of it! Then again, it might have to do with the size of the pieces I was serving everyone.
Now to my “Z” word: zucchini. Of the three foods mentioned above I would have thought that the zucchini bread was the healthiest. Maybe. I guess it all depends on how you make it. I understand substituting unsweetened applesauce for oil, whole wheat flour for the white flour and using less sugar makes a great bread.
Skip the headache of recreating a recipe that may or may not work out. How about just making ratatouille instead? It’s somehow even better if you grow the vegetables yourself. Yum!
is for zone
It’s become a cliché to think of marriage as a disaster area and a war zone.
~ Tim Daly
When you think about it there are lots of zones for example: time zones, comfort zones or war zones.
It’s tough comparing a marriage to a disaster area and a war zone. That is neither how I experienced my parent’s marriage nor mine. It was the best thing that I could have done, to move out of my comfort zone, get married and move to Switzerland.
A cliché is something that is said very often. Looking at the statistics it’s obvious why anyone would compare marriage with a “disaster area” and “war zone”. Statistically, a lot of all marriages in Switzerland are going to fail. Ouch. But it wasn’t always like this. When Ben was growing up he said that absolutely none of the families he knew were single parent families. When we got married in 1980 the divorce rate was about 1 in 3. We both come from families each with 3 children. In both of our families one of the three marriages has ended in divorce. I don’t know about a war zone, but it certainly was a disaster for all involved. The divorce rate in Switzerland today has kept on climbing, it is now 52% in some cantons.
You might think with all these extra singles roaming the streets, more marriages would be in the works. No, it looks like divorced Swiss are staying single. The marriage rate is slipping, too. This could also have to do with the shrinking population and not clichés. Let’s hope that that’s the case.
Personally, I think that life is too short to be spending time in a disaster area or war zone. I prefer a clean area and a comfort zone.