Just before running off to a long day of dégustations, have a coffee with me! Add one to three grains (crystals of NaCl—not measure of weight) of table salt, depending on the size of your cup, to your coffee. You will experience another kind of taste, another kind of flavor. “Urk!” you may say. Salt in my coffee? Never! Well, have you ever tasted a cake without a pinch of salt in it? The only reason that you put salt into your cake—and coffee!—is that it makes it taste better. The salt works as a taste catalyst. Have a tasteful day! (Better check. Yes, I did write “grains”—not “teaspoons,” although I am serious!)
Decades ago, while walking along the River Limmat towards the Lake of Zürich, I had such a headache that I sat down at a table outside a café. I waited to be served by the Fraeulein (miss, waitress) and asked her if she had an aspirin for me and a glass of water. I had such a headache! I was quite willing to pay her the price of a Doppelten-Expresso for the water and the aspirin.
She smiled and said that she gets those, too. She was going to get me a double size espresso and a surprise. I was to trust her.
I thought she was going to get me a Kaffee-Schnapps, which I knew was good for a gluttonous stomach—you know, after you had eaten more than you could have. I didn’t think that schnapps in your coffee would help a headache.
Along she came with the Doppelten and a sliver of lemon. (Do you feel the water running in your mouth?) Again she said, “Trust me! I know how this functions. Take this piece of lemon, skin and all, chew it profoundly, and before swallowing it down, take a good sip of coffee, mix it around in your mouth, and then swallow it down. It’ll be quite bitter; however, in a few moments your headache will be gone.”
Unbelievingly, I stared at her. An elder lady at the next table said, “Doch! doch! You do that! It really functions!” I looked around further and noticed quite a few customers nodding their heads. They must have known about this remedy from our Fraeulein.
Okay, even if my headache was at the point of explosion, I found trust in her words, put that bit of lemon into my mouth, and chewed—sour and bitter. It pulled my whole mouth together. Then, the sip of coffee …
It shook me right and shook me left! I never tasted anything that bitter in my life before. If I had not been in the public eye, watched expectantly by all the nearby customers, the contents of my mouth would have gone straight out in front of me. However, I swallowed it down—and the rest of the coffee, as hot as it was, went also “straight down the hatch.”
Everybody looked at me seriously—and relieved. This was definitively a serious matter. They all seemed so anxious and tense. And waiting!
Meanwhile, I had forgotten about my headache. This had been an ordeal, and somehow I felt like I had gone through a rite of passage. Everybody was still waiting tensely.
“How’s your headache?” asked the Fraeulein. I looked at her in astonishment. “It’s gone!” I said. “Es haet funkcioniert, gellet!?—It worked, didn’t it?” she beamed. And everybody else sitting all around me were nodding their heads and smiling broadly.
So, dear people, if you ever forgotten where you have left your pills when your migraine hits you, you now know what you can do.
Or have you ever done this before?