For a long time, Berlin was on my bucket list. I finally got to visit a city that I dreamed of since my uni days. It was better than I dreamed.
I’m sure that somebody, somewhere, has probably come up with a similar dish and a similar recipe, but how these Plantain and Onion Fritters first came to me is quite a winding road.
You may not know it, but my professional life started over two decades ago as a newly-minted Industrial Designer. It was quite an adventure, and an introduction to what would eventually turn into a beloved hobby, and later a profession: photography. How this ties to this dish, and my account of our Berlin summer sojourn is a story in itself.
Berlin has been on my “to visit” list ever since my university days, for more than one reason.
Going to Berlin, touching the wall, stepping into the Bauhaus Museum, walking a city that is filled to the brim with history and tragedy, it was a sort of pilgrimage for me. And I fell in love with that city. I shall return someday.
If you grew up in the 1980s, you probably know reason no. 1. I don’t know about you, but I remember exactly where I was when I found out about the fall of the Berlin wall, a transformational moment for people of my generation. It signaled a realignment or world politics, and we thought — or at least hoped — the beginning of a new time of peace, without the constant threat of nuclear annihilation that had thus far haunted us. Berlin was a symbol.
The other reason harkens back to my days as an Industrial Designer: Berlin was the birthplace of our profession, so to speak. For the first time a group of artisans, architects and artists came up with the idea of making “modern”, mass-produced products functional, human, beautiful. If you know nothing about what an Industrial Designer does, just look at your car, your electronic gadgets, your mass-produced furniture. An Industrial Designer — or several — was partly responsible — and/or to blame — for the way it looks, works, the way you interact with it.