Google Peace Schnitzel
It comes right up on the first page.
Not on the second where it is said that dead bodies are buried.
I was forever young and hopeful when I wrote it.
Passionate about food and peace,
and of course, schnitzels.
So, I penned a piece for HuffPost called Peace Schnitzel. It’s there if you search.
Turns out schnitzels are famously pounded, breaded, fried and enjoyed the world over. I wondered if they could be a vehicle to understanding and cooperation?
Even one of organic agriculture?
From Mexico to Marrakesh, Estonia to Istanbul, in Israel and North Korea, Iran and Namibia, some form of Schnitzel is enjoyed by the locals.
Be it pork, chicken, beef or veal, they all lay down their tender flesh and agree to be pounded into a flat, slender piece of meat.
Once so flattened, they are floured and dragged across beaten eggs and rolled again in wheat.
Finally, they’re fried lightly in oil or butter. They are taken gently with great wonder all over the planet.
Sometimes served with raw cabbage or tossed against tart pickles, steamed potatoes and rice.
In France, it goes by the elegant name of escalope. Cooks butterfly the pieces of meat. Then quite pitilessly trample them with a rolling pin or the large wooden end of a knife. This brutality breaks down the fibers rendering a more tender, thinner piece of flesh to be dealt with in the traditional fashion.
I have had intimate encounters with schnitzels.
There are early memories of my grandmother’s family’s endless German schnitzel, served with warm potato salad and sauerkraut from the basement crock. They were pure warmth and crispy, fried joy.
I once ordered Wiener Schnitzel in Vienna where legend tells us the original schnitzel sprang forth onto our plate.
That schnitzel is always made from veal and garnished with lemon and often served with potatoes, parsley and butter.
The very term Wiener Schnitzel goes back to at least 1845; it’s a protected geographical indication in Austria and Germany—reflecting the historical heritage Austria gave to the world.
Once I wandered into a Japanese tonkatsu house where schnitzel is the house specialty. Actually, it’s all they make in the restaurant!
In this house, they flatten pork loin, lightly season and coat it in flour. Traditionally dipped in beaten egg, it’s then tumbled with panko crumbs and finally deep fried to perfection.
It’s typically served with udon or ramen noodles and topped with shredded bits of raw sweet cabbage.
Then, at last, I was in Israel and wrote the much-celebrated blog on Peace and Schnitzels and love and war. It’s not my best writing but gets across the idea.
Served alongside Middle Eastern delicacies of hummus, olives, flatbread and feta, it is the true soldier of culinary comingling. These are the Middle Eastern partners of the traditional schnitzel. Here it transcends the differences between Palestinians and Israelis.
On my last trip, on my way to the occupied territory, we stopped in a Jordanian restaurant very much celebrated by Israelis and Palestinians alike. We ate well and took fried green falafels to the celebration. And then Schnitzels appeared to bridge the two tribes.
Food brings us all together at the same table. It’s our common thread—the very basis of our survival and artistry.
Here is my basic thesis—hear me out. Schnitzels have somehow managed to invade every culinary corner of our world, capturing diverse cultures and appetites.
Is it possible they could they be the guide to many of our mutual troubles?
Is it possible that like schnitzels we can export organic agriculture? Can we cultivate soil health and justice for those who grow our food and the animals who give it forth?
What if organic would take hold like schnitzel and invade the very corners of our globe?
Would there be peace? Perhaps
Would it be an answer to climate change? Most likely!
Would we leave this world a better place for our children and generations thereafter? Absolutely!
The next time you have the opportunity to crunch into schnitzel and relish this global treat, imagine a paradigm shift in food and agriculture.
If we fundamentally change the way we feed ourselves and farm, I believe we can change the course of destiny for our species.
If Schnitzels be our beacon, let’s make them organic then!