Wednesday, October 17, 2007

His love of meat

Kate Connolly has a funny and slightly horrifying piece at the Guardian about the domestic revelations of Gunter Grass's housekeeper:
Ms Amelung, the daughter of a protestant minister from Osnabrück, was taken on at the age of 16 shortly before the birth of Günter and his first wife Anna's fourth child. She had answered an advert in the magazine Christ and the World asking for someone to "peel the onions" for 220 deutschmarks a month.

The irony of the request is not lost on Grass aficionados. His last book was called Peeling the Onion, in which he revealed his membership of the Waffen SS in Nazi Germany. Ms Amelung's seemingly mundane domestic reflections, based on her diaries and letters home, are being seen by the publishing world as a welcome antidote to the admissions that shocked his fans around the world.

And they are being lapped up by Grass's public, who thought they knew everything about him but are only now learning of his love of apple juice and his aversion to kitchen appliances, which meant cream had to be beaten with a hand whisk.

Ms Amelung reveals details such as how she cooked his favourite meat dishes such as leg of mutton with rosemary and garlic, brawn, entrails soup, calf's brains and artichokes in vinaigrette. She produced the dishes for him on demand to keep him sustained while he wrote.

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