We’ve been limited by the weather, stuck indoors and left at the whims of our beaten imagination. The West Coast is famous for its gray skies, so we now know for ourselves.

What to do to keep busy? Jelle’s turned to cooking, which he does as a show-off to his culinary heritage and experience. Marie, Glenn, Sophie and i are at the mercy of his kitchen skills, which sometimes land me a supporting role because he cannot store recipes in mind, and needs a prompt to recall ingredients and measurements. Today is a gnocchi fonduta and tiramisu offering.

CIMG2771Gnocchi are small lumps (hence their name, which translates to ‘knuckles’) of either potato, semolina, wheat flour or even breadcrumbs. They emerged in the Roman times although the potato version wasn’t adopted until the introduction of the potato in Europe sometime in the 16th century. They are boiled, sometimes fried depending on the region, and served with classic sauces such as tomato, pesto or butter. In France they are called ‘gnocchis à la parisienne‘ and come with béchamel sauce, whereas in Latin America, where half the immigrant population of the early 20th century was Italian, they are called ñoquis.

But, so much for history. Jelle’s enlisted Sophie’s help for the preparations, as i was busy with the tiramisu. It appears that tonight, then, is themed after traditional Italian cuisine, which brings the focus on one cuisine we haven’t quite explored: New Zealand’s.

Despite the abundance of offerings from both land and sea, New Zealand’s cuisine is neither rich nor remarkable. Its roots lie in tropical Polynesia, although European settlers later infused their own traditions and food. Dinner (‘tea’) is the heaviest and most important meal of the day and typically consists of root vegetables and meat. Ranked 3rd fattest nation in the world, New Zealand owes its obesity to the inappropriate amounts of dairy fat (butter, cream, cheese) in their cooking, although i reckon the take-away culture is to blame as well. On a global scale, New Zealand has the 2nd highest consumption of ice cream per capita after the U.S.

Here are the statistics:

  • 1 in every 4 adults suffers from obesity
  • 1 in 12 children is found obese
  • 1 in every 8 children is found overweight
  • 7 out of 10 children ate fast food in past 7 days

So much for living off the fresh produce and bountiness of the land and ocean, eh?

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