Friday, February 13, 2009

The Way To A Man's Heart...

As the daughter of a home economics teacher, (Hauswirtschaftsleiterin) cooking has always been a part of my life. My mother would always narrate every meal that she would fix. Much to her dismay, by the time I left home, she thought that I had not learned to cook despite all her efforts. I did listen to her instructions, but felt no need to experiment, fearing that it would be added to my list of chores. But this secret grew into a passion and I find that I very much enjoy cooking.

I find it sometimes challenging and sometimes exciting to cook in a whole other country. Germany, as I like to call it "the land of bread and potatoes", while it may hold some similarities to the States, offers products quite different than I am used to and leaves behind m
any with which I am familiar. This has forced me to abandon many of my favorite recipes and caused me to create whole new concoctions. For me it has almost been a reinventing of sorts.

My other big challenge in Germany is to simply find water without bubbles and with ice cubes. Most Americans would find this absence absurd, while most Germans find the presence of it equally so. I love these sweet water glasses that I brought with me from the States. I knew that my newly formed acquaintance, who later became one of my best friends, was truly a kindred spirit when she offered me water out of the same glasses that I had at home in my own cabinets. She gave me her remaining 5 glasses to match my set when she got married, which often makes me think of her.

...But my husband has been the lucky recipient of all my "Americanized" experiments (including the ice), and despite his slender built, he makes sure that all that I fix is sampled to the full. My mother quite amusingly says that keeping my husband well feed is like "job security"... let's just say that his thorough enjoyment of my cooking has already revealed the way to his heart.

4 comments:

  1. Most Germans believe ice water will eventually kill you. Such a shock to your stomach simply is not meant to be survived. My girlfriend Laurie (my best friend in HH -- we met at language school and held each other up in the wind and rain 9 years long) used to make these great little events for each other, setting cute table, making little things which we loved like minty iced tea and baking muffins and such.

    Holding on to little things from home -- your sweet glasses, your iced drinks-- keeps your soul fed.

    I love to cook too, and it was a real challenge when I first got to Germany (the shocking price of fresh veggies at the market, for example). But I eventually developed my favorite spots.

    If you are at any of the city's outdoor markets, keep your eyes open for the Pasta Frauen. They are still all over the place today, even in Berlin, my friend there tells me. They have a great selection of fresh pasta and sauces. You might know them already.

    Your husband is a lucky man. I know also it gives me great satisfaction to see my man well fed and enjoying the food I prepare. If you ever come to Italia, we'll cook together!!

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  2. My brother-in-law was completely shocked and almost fell over the first time he saw me drinking ice water in the wintertime. All of our German friends are almost stopped fast in their tracks and with open mouths when they first see our "American" size refrigerator, firstly because of its size and secondly because of the icemaker.

    It was so cute, the first time my husbands Omama came to visit us in our new house we offered her a drink and of course asked her if she would like it with or without ice. The statement at first was quite odd and almost shocking to her, and then after consideration, she decided to have just one cube in her drink. Her next trip to the kitchen for a refill, her ice cubes doubled to two. By the time she left, since she was having so much fun with the icemaker, and the cool drink really was nice with the warm summer weather, one would have almost mistaken her for an American. But I have had so many questions and statements of protest from extremely doubtful Germans since I have been here; however, this is one "vice" that I plan to not give up.

    I'll keep my eyes open for the Pasta Frauen... my husband is a huge pasta fan. Thanks!

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  3. I adore your water glasses!

    I was born and raised in Austria, so I don't know the challenge of cooking in foreign countries,except on holiday - but there it is like going on an adventure trip and trying out new things. The only thing I do know is: I'm always happy being back at home.

    Have a nice day!
    Stephie

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  4. I guess my life is somewhat of an adventure each day and that is what I really love about living in a foreign country. There is always something new for me to discover, things that are often overlooked by those who live here. I heard someone once say that after you have lived in another country, somehow there will always be a part of you that is missing that only the other place can fulfil. It is strange, but I have that "aahhhh, it's good to be back home" feeling now in two places, but also that longing to go back to the place that I just left.

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