Thursday, 29 December 2011

pumpkins and other gifts

My cryptic German oven still foils ever third attempt at baked satisfaction, so stovetop recipes are welcome.

A friend who lives in a part of Berlin rural enough to have apple trees and pumpkin patches gave me some, just like that, as a gift.

I've never eaten pumpkin. My mother brought with her from the Caribbean an absurd phobia of the plant, expounding only that "something bad will happen" when we eat it.  I dutifully passed on sumptuous pies, ratatouille, and risottos for decades. Until last year, when my sister offered me freshed baked pumpkin muffins before a holiday dinner.  "You eat pumpkin?" I inquisited, already salivating.  "Yeah, it's delicious," my sister replied while applying melted butter to the least perfect muffin she served to herself.

So, since my sister is always right, I accepted the gift and the simple recipe that came with it. I did in the end have to turn on the beast to roast the apples, pumpkin and carrots with sage, salt, pepper and butter.

This isn't first time I've documented myself confronting a phobia, but it was the most delicious.
 
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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

all I want for christmas is you

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If Germany were my boyfriend, Christmas markets would be a bouquet of roses and copy of ELLE magazine on my doorstep.

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We have an "on again, off again" relationship to say the least.  At this time of year, all is forgiven: less than positive experiences at the Auslanderamt (why is it called "outsider's office" and not "immigration office"?), the dog crap on the sidewalks, the cold breakfasts which look like the beginnings of a boring sandwich.

I take you back in my arms, year after year, because you know how to romance me: hot wine with spices (and nuts if you are lucky enough to find a Swedish stand), delicious things roasted and sweetened, and creative variations on the pancake which I long for all year.

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I eat and I drink and I take it all in, because I know tomorrow, Germany is going to leave the toilet seat up again.

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