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European Unity – a recipe

Background?

Like many dishes, this one was born out of necessity - the utter devastation and disunity after centuries of colonialism and two world wars. Little was available, from the little some formed something that gradually "multiplied" and became a daily staple: millions came to depend on Schengen as they did on bread. What’s special about the dish is that it exists only as long as there is an appetite for it, almost like a culinary incantation: you have to want it, wanting makes it, made its shapes and flavours constantly vary. The rest of the world also affects the nature of the dish, while the dish tries to spice the world back. The effect can be messy, monstrous, gorgeous, delicious. No wonder our taste for the dish alters: it seems better some days than others. But it’s a dish worth keeping, adapting, improving.

Serves how many?

446 million, and growing.

Of some things there can never be enough, the need, the greed for them is boundless, and trying to quantify makes no sense. Take love, whoever has tasted it does not think in categories such as "number of servings" - we want to love and be loved endlessly. Loving grows love, revealing an infinite capacity. It's the same with European Unity: more and more is possible, more and more people may be included, until suddenly we realize that our dish could perhaps in time, with a few more of the right ingredients, be called World Unity. A dish with enough for everyone would surely taste best of all.

Preparation and cooking time?

Frankly, it’s already taken too long. At the same time, it’s ready. And yet, it’s work in progress. They say good things take time, which, in this case, is the stalest of proverbial seasonings. Everything would be a lot faster if we cooked together. As far as unity or democracy goes, too many cooks don’t spoil the broth, they enrich it. Pick up your ladle and your spice rack, Europe needs you!

For those who prefer to live by strict timings, it may help to know that fast or slow matters less than listening, learning and lending a helping hand. That way, even if European unity cooks for varying periods, more or less intensely, in different countries, the dish can still hold together regardless of whether one part is sizzling while another goes cold.  

Ingredients?

Everything you could possibly eat, but especially good bread, garlic, salt, Italian olive oil (which comes mostly from Greece and Turkey, and that’s all to the good) potatoes and ice cream, plus:

100% hospitality

100% summer-feeling (except for those who prefer snow in which case please feel free substitute to 100% winter(or other season of choice)-feeling)

100% peace

100% equality of rights and opportunity

100% open borders

100% democracy

(The fact that full measures of all ingredients may never be found shouldn’t dissuade any from attempting the dish. It can still work, and even turn out well with carefully chosen and creatively used alternatives. Unexpected elements may find their way into the dish, this is to be welcomed - except when these threaten to overtake and impose a uniformity of taste.)

Other equipment/essentials?

Enthusiasm, dreams, solid legal pots, more art, more green energy and - that rare tool – courage because, as Maya Angelou said, without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently.

Preparation, step by step?

Tricky! It all depends on whom you ask. A growing number say you must start with the past – pick it apart and let it marinate the present. Some insist on first balancing existing flavours, while others prioritize balancing budgets. Yet others want to empty the cupboards, turn up the heat, burn what’s there and start over. Some are adamant on an archipelago approach; a scattering of variety, all shapes and sizes, everything connected by a brilliant sea of generosity. There’s a bunch who swear by butter – claiming more is always better; no doubt this makes the dish richer and can help things rub along smoother – yet if everybody doesn’t get a bit of butter, too many end up understandably bitter. Some say that the method wouldn’t matter if all preparations began with a thought: how will this affect you, and what does that say about me?

Serving instructions?

Best served hot, cold, at room temperature, frozen – up to you! Just remember everything tastes better in company. 

Photograph of the dish?

Not included because this dish, though essentially the same, will always be different, depending on who’s cooking, who’s eating – where, how and when.

Nutritional Value?

Depends. The goodness of the dish is in direct proportion to how many get to share in it, how far the chain of its benefits extends.

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