The food journalist, Bea, is sitting in a restaurant with her boyfriend when she sees a man fall to the floor at the neighbouring table. He had been eating Kniddelen. That’s what Bea and Guy had been thinking of ordering too…
The big bloke pulled the tablecloth down with him, his hands balled into convulsive fists. Cutlery, glasses, and plates with their contents followed with a crash. The man’s companion sat on her chair, still as a stone. Bea leapt to her feat, knelt next to the lifeless form of the man, and bent down over him… and had no idea what to do. Mouth-to-mouth? Yuck! She could see that the big chap had not yet swallowed all of his Kniddelen. Should she loosen his tie? Where on earth is Guy? Not a moment later an unknown man was at her side, pushed her away, and shrieked: ‘Call an ambulance!’ The man, who had come to Bea’s aid in this difficult position, firmly seized the remaining dumplings out of the big bloke’s slack mouth and started to resuscitate him, in a way that she had seen on TV. Around Bea several guests started to shout into their smart phones and demanded an emergency doctor. Shortly afterwards, Guy tapped her on the shoulder from behind. ‘Let’s go. There’s nothing we can do here. I’m guessing you’ve lost your appetite as well.’
Bea was just reaching to grab her bag from under the table when she saw something round and yellow fall next to her shoe. Instinctively, she grabbed her serviette and folded the doughy lump into it and placed it into her bag. Then she followed her boyfriend out of the restaurant. In that exact moment, the ambulance arrived.
‘The chap from the next table never made it,’ Guy told her from behind his newspaper the next morning over breakfast. ‘They assume it was a circulatory arrest. No wonder, with his size. Oh, by the way, could you be home at 7 tonight? I want to talk to you about something – and I also wanted to make you a ‘Feierstengszalot’.’
‘Did you not say you never wanted to cook again?’ Bea said sceptically. ‘And the word ‘Feierstengszalot’ sounds awful. But I will arrange it. What do you want to talk about anyway? You were already behaving strangely last night at the restaurant before that poor bloke fell over.’
‘See you later then,’ was all she got.
Guy’s sister, Lis, sat in front of a petri dish filled with something disgustingly grey-pink and slippery. When Bea asked what it was, Lis said tersely: ‘Those are the ingredients for the Feierstengszalot my brother wants to make for you tonight.’ She derived obvious pleasure from Bea’s horrified expression. ‘Don’t worry, that’s artificial meat. There are interesting new approaches coming out of Israel with which we are experimenting here in the lab. Anyway, what are you doing here? Though I do understand that you might want to profit from my expertise before trying the Feierstengszalot. It’s not for everybody. And, of course, made by Guy… I expect nothing good can come of this.’
Bea rummages around in her bag. ‘Okay, so I want you to take a look,’ she said and handed over dumpling, still wrapped in the serviette, to the food lab technician. ‘Well, you like to experiment and research stuff or not? Just have a look at the thing.’
After an afternoon spent undertaking a nerve-racking interview with star chef, who was as ambitious as he was arrogant, for a German magazine, she arrived home on time as promised. She threw her shoes into the corner, went to the fridge, and just wanted to pour herself a large glass of white wine, when her gaze fell onto a bowl filled with chopped up hard-boiled eggs and shallots mixt with grey-pink, slippery, and streaky scraps. Bea wondered for a moment if this was not, after all, the result of Lis’ artificial meat experiment. The table was laid for a feast. She could not explain how and where Guy had found the best china – after all, they still had numerous boxes standing around from their move, which needed to be unpacked.
‘So, my dear, why don’t you sit down, your Luxembourgish speciality is almost ready to be served. Before we get to that, however,’ Guy paused importantly, ‘before we get to that, I need to tell you something important. Will you pour me a glass? I could do with a sip.’
In that moment the phone rings. Guy, who is obviously annoyed, answers and shortly afterwards hands Bea the receiver, looking surprised. ‘It’s for you, my sister.’
‘You have to come and see me in my lab immediately. You won’t believe what I’ve found!
Cold beef salad