Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tamale Pie

This recipe takes a ton of different ingredients, but don't let that scare you off! Most (or all) of the ingredients are the type of stuff you have lying around the kitchen (at least we did) and the recipe itself is not very complicated.

One tamale pie - about six servings

3 Tbs oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 lb (500 g) ground beef or turkey (we used the typical German pork/beef mix)
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar
2 tsp white vinegar
8 ounces tomato sauce (we used 400 g pizza tomatoes)
15 ounces beans - black, pinto, or kidney (we used 1 1/2 400 g cans of kidney beans)
2 cups corn (if frozen thaw first)
1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter milk (we used 1% milk with a little melted butter added)
1 egg
1 cup grated cheese (cheddar would be great but we only had Gouda)
Spice - we used chili flakes and spicy paprika

Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C)

~If you have a pan that can be used on the stove and in the oven this is the time to use it. We do not so we did everything in a pan on the stove and then transferred it to a glass baking dish. ~

Heat 1 Tbs oil (not all the oil!) in the pan over medium heat. Saute the onion until it is translucent. This may take up to seven or eight minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the ground beef and cook until it is cooked through (brown and crumbly).

Add the beans, corn, tomato sauce, vinegar, spice, 1/2 tsp salt (not all the salt!), 1 tsp sugar (not all the sugar!). Simmer until everything is hot through.

This is a good time to taste do a taste test because after this point you will not be able to add anything to fix the flavor!

While the bean mixture is heating on the stove, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, the remaining 1/2 tsp salt, and the remaining 1 Tbs sugar. Whisk in the egg, buttermilk, and remaining 2 Tbs oil. Mix in 1/2 cup grated cheese.

Transfer the bean mixture (if you are like us and do not have a pan that can be used in the oven) to something ovenproof. Pour the batter over the  bean mixture. Cover with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

Bake for about 20 minutes (check after 15 minuets) or until the cornbread on top is nice and brown.

Hard to serve and keep it looking pretty but extremely tasty. It is like chili and cornbread all in one dish!

This recipe was adapted from Catherine Newman

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday Tales: Daily Food of a Consultant

Back in the Netherlands this week (as will continue for the next few months). I had some caesar salad on Monday. This typical American salad came with pretty little sauce and anchovies. Not my taste due to the lack of dressing which I heard is very untypical in the Netherlands, Apparently, they usually use as much dressing on top of the salad as possible. Well next time I think I will order some additional dressing :).
On Tuesday I had some mixed meat platter with french fries and garlic butter. Very enjoyable with my colleagues which all took the this meal because it was suggested by the kitchen.
On Wednesday I was driving back to Cologne and had a pretty late dinner in my room. The most entertaining part of my Arabiata pasta was the metal food cover which made me feel like in the good old 70s :).

On Thursday was home office day which brought me back to my Swabian roots resulting in making Maultaschen with ketchup (I cheated though and did not make them for scratch, just mixed them with eggs like I did in this entry).
We had visitors from England on Friday and we showed them around Frankfurt and the famous Dippemess which is a kind of fair in Frankfurt. This night ended in Yours American Sports Bar (not to be confused with Yours Australian Bar also in Frankfurt) where I had these delicious chicken fingers at night (maybe a bit too late at night :) ).
On Saturday we cooked some traditional Schnitzel with Rotkohl and potato salad for our visitors in England to prepare us for Ring of Fire which we played afterwards.
Sunday was brunch day at Lokalbahnhof. We had a delicious brunch and this traditional Handkäse with music (pronounced [ˈhantkɛːzə]; literally: hand cheese) which is a  regional German sour milk cheese (similar to Harzer) and is a culinary speciality of Frankfurt am Main. It gets its name from the traditional way of producing it: forming it with one's own hands.
Strangers to this cheese will probably ask where the "music" is. They will most likely be told that "Die Musik kommt später," i.e. the music "comes later." This is a euphemism for the flatulence that the raw onions usually provide.
The other part is the Grüne Sauce:  Green sauce is a specialty of the German state of Hessen. Areas where it is especially popular include the cities of Frankfurt am Main and Kassel, which lay claim to its origins. The Frankfurt-style Grüne Sauce is made from hard-boiled eggs, oil, vinegar, salt, sour cream, and generous amounts of seven fresh herbs, namely borage, sorrel, garden cress, chervil, chives, parsley, and salad burnet.

It was great to finally try these two traditional Frankfurt dishes after living in Frankfurt for over six months!

Mix-Up Monday: The Awful German Language by Mark Twain

A very funny text written by Mark Twain, who, like she has, struggled to learn German. A great read even if you have never learned German - long but worth it! 

The Awful German Language

Mark Twain

from A Tramp Abroad

A little learning makes the whole world kin.
--Proverbs xxxii, 7.

I went often to look at the collection of curiosities in Heidelberg Castle, and one day I surprised the keeper of it with my German. I spoke entirely in that language. He was greatly interested; and after I had talked a while he said my German was very rare, possibly a "unique"; and wanted to add it to his museum.

If he had known what it had cost me to acquire my art, he would also have known that it would break any collector to buy it. Harris and I had been hard at work on our German during several weeks at that time, and although we had made good progress, it had been accomplished under great difficulty and annoyance, for three of our teachers had died in the mean time. A person who has not studied German can form no idea of what a perplexing language it is.

Surely there is not another language that is so slipshod and systemless, and so slippery and elusive to the grasp. One is washed about in it, hither and thither, in the most helpless way; and when at last he thinks he has captured a rule which offers firm ground to take a rest on amid the general rage and turmoil of the ten parts of speech, he turns over the page and reads, "Let the pupil make careful note of the following EXCEPTIONS." He runs his eye down and finds that there are more exceptions to the rule than instances of it. So overboard he goes again, to hunt for another Ararat and find another quicksand. Such has been, and continues to be, my experience. Every time I think I have got one of these four confusing "cases" where I am master of it, a seemingly insignificant preposition intrudes itself into my sentence, clothed with an awful and unsuspected power, and crumbles the ground from under me. For instance, my book inquires after a certain bird--(it is always inquiring after things which are of no sort of no consequence to anybody): "Where is the bird?" Now the answer to this question--according to the book--is that the bird is waiting in the blacksmith shop on account of the rain. Of course no bird would do that, but then you must stick to the book. Very well, I begin to cipher out the German for that answer. I begin at the wrong end, necessarily, for that is the German idea. I say to myself, "REGEN (rain) is masculine--or maybe it is feminine--or possibly neuter--it is too much trouble to look now. Therefore, it is either DER (the) Regen, or DIE (the) Regen, or DAS (the) Regen, according to which gender it may turn out to be when I look. In the interest of science, I will cipher it out on the hypothesis that it is masculine. Very well--then THE rain is DER Regen, if it is simply in the quiescent state of being MENTIONED, without enlargement or discussion--Nominative case; but if this rain is lying around, in a kind of a general way on the ground, it is then definitely located, it is DOING SOMETHING--that is, RESTING (which is one of the German grammar's ideas of doing something), and this throws the rain into the Dative case, and makes it DEM Regen. However, this rain is not resting, but is doing something ACTIVELY,--it is falling--to interfere with the bird, likely--and this indicates MOVEMENT, which has the effect of sliding it into the Accusative case and changing DEM Regen into DEN Regen." Having completed the grammatical horoscope of this matter, I answer up confidently and state in German that the bird is staying in the blacksmith shop "wegen (on account of) DEN Regen." Then the teacher lets me softly down with the remark that whenever the word "wegen" drops into a sentence, it ALWAYS throws that subject into the GENITIVE case, regardless of consequences--and therefore this bird stayed in the blacksmith shop "wegen DES Regens."

N.B.--I was informed, later, by a higher authority, that there was an "exception" which permits one to say "wegen DEN Regen" in certain peculiar and complex circumstances, but that this exception is not extended to anything BUT rain.

There are ten parts of speech, and they are all troublesome. An average sentence, in a German newspaper, is a sublime and impressive curiosity; it occupies a quarter of a column; it contains all the ten parts of speech--not in regular order, but mixed; it is built mainly of compound words constructed by the writer on the spot, and not to be found in any dictionary--six or seven words compacted into one, without joint or seam--that is, without hyphens; it treats of fourteen or fifteen different subjects, each enclosed in a parenthesis of its own, with here and there extra parentheses, making pens with pens: finally, all the parentheses and reparentheses are massed together between a couple of king-parentheses, one of which is placed in the first line of the majestic sentence and the other in the middle of the last line of it--AFTER WHICH COMES THE VERB, and you find out for the first time what the man has been talking about; and after the verb--merely by way of ornament, as far as I can make out--the writer shovels in "HABEN SIND GEWESEN GEHABT HAVEN GEWORDEN SEIN," or words to that effect, and the monument is finished. I suppose that this closing hurrah is in the nature of the flourish to a man's signature--not necessary, but pretty. German books are easy enough to read when you hold them before the looking-glass or stand on your head--so as to reverse the construction--but I think that to learn to read and understand a German newspaper is a thing which must always remain an impossibility to a foreigner.

Yet even the German books are not entirely free from attacks of the Parenthesis distemper--though they are usually so mild as to cover only a few lines, and therefore when you at last get down to the verb it carries some meaning to your mind because you are able to remember a good deal of what has gone before. Now here is a sentence from a popular and excellent German novel--which a slight parenthesis in it. I will make a perfectly literal translation, and throw in the parenthesis-marks and some hyphens for the assistance of the reader--though in the original there are no parenthesis-marks or hyphens, and the reader is left to flounder through to the remote verb the best way he can:

"But when he, upon the street, the (in-satin-and-silk-covered- now-very-unconstrained-after-the-newest-fashioned-dressed) government counselor's wife MET," etc., etc.
That is from THE OLD MAMSELLE'S SECRET, by Mrs. Marlitt. And that sentence is constructed upon the most approved German model. You observe how far that verb is from the reader's base of operations; well, in a German newspaper they put their verb away over on the next page; and I have heard that sometimes after stringing along the exciting preliminaries and parentheses for a column or two, they get in a hurry and have to go to press without getting to the verb at all. Of course, then, the reader is left in a very exhausted and ignorant state.

We have the Parenthesis disease in our literature, too; and one may see cases of it every day in our books and newspapers: but with us it is the mark and sign of an unpracticed writer or a cloudy intellect, whereas with the Germans it is doubtless the mark and sign of a practiced pen and of the presence of that sort of luminous intellectual fog which stands for clearness among these people. For surely it is NOT clearness--it necessarily can't be clearness. Even a jury would have penetration enough to discover that. A writer's ideas must be a good deal confused, a good deal out of line and sequence, when he starts out to say that a man met a counselor's wife in the street, and then right in the midst of this so simple undertaking halts these approaching people and makes them stand still until he jots down an inventory of the woman's dress. That is manifestly absurd. It reminds a person of those dentists who secure your instant and breathless interest in a tooth by taking a grip on it with the forceps, and then stand there and drawl through a tedious anecdote before they give the dreaded jerk. Parentheses in literature and dentistry are in bad taste.

The Germans have another kind of parenthesis, which they make by splitting a verb in two and putting half of it at the beginning of an exciting chapter and the OTHER HALF at the end of it. Can any one conceive of anything more confusing than that? These things are called "separable verbs." The German grammar is blistered all over with separable verbs; and the wider the two portions of one of them are spread apart, the better the author of the crime is pleased with his performance. A favorite one is REISTE AB--which means departed. Here is an example which I culled from a novel and reduced to English:

"The trunks being now ready, he DE- after kissing his mother and sisters, and once more pressing to his bosom his adored Gretchen, who, dressed in simple white muslin, with a single tuberose in the ample folds of her rich brown hair, had tottered feebly down the stairs, still pale from the terror and excitement of the past evening, but longing to lay her poor aching head yet once again upon the breast of him whom she loved more dearly than life itself, PARTED."

However, it is not well to dwell too much on the separable verbs. One is sure to lose his temper early; and if he sticks to the subject, and will not be warned, it will at last either soften his brain or petrify it. Personal pronouns and adjectives are a fruitful nuisance in this language, and should have been left out. For instance, the same sound, SIE, means YOU, and it means SHE, and it means HER, and it means IT, and it means THEY, and it means THEM. Think of the ragged poverty of a language which has to make one word do the work of six--and a poor little weak thing of only three letters at that. But mainly, think of the exasperation of never knowing which of these meanings the speaker is trying to convey. This explains why, whenever a person says SIE to me, I generally try to kill him, if a stranger.

Now observe the Adjective. Here was a case where simplicity would have been an advantage; therefore, for no other reason, the inventor of this language complicated it all he could. When we wish to speak of our "good friend or friends," in our enlightened tongue, we stick to the one form and have no trouble or hard feeling about it; but with the German tongue it is different. When a German gets his hands on an adjective, he declines it, and keeps on declining it until the common sense is all declined out of it. It is as bad as Latin. He says, for instance:

Nominative--Mein gutER Freund, my good friend.
Genitives--MeinES GutEN FreundES, of my good friend.
Dative--MeinEM gutEN Freund, to my good friend.
Accusative--MeinEN gutEN Freund, my good friend.

N.--MeinE gutEN FreundE, my good friends.
G.--MeinER gutEN FreundE, of my good friends.
D.--MeinEN gutEN FreundEN, to my good friends.
A.--MeinE gutEN FreundE, my good friends.

Now let the candidate for the asylum try to memorize those variations, and see how soon he will be elected. One might better go without friends in Germany than take all this trouble about them. I have shown what a bother it is to decline a good (male) friend; well this is only a third of the work, for there is a variety of new distortions of the adjective to be learned when the object is feminine, and still another when the object is neuter. Now there are more adjectives in this language than there are black cats in Switzerland, and they must all be as elaborately declined as the examples above suggested. Difficult?--troublesome?--these words cannot describe it. I heard a Californian student in Heidelberg say, in one of his calmest moods, that he would rather decline two drinks than one German adjective.

The inventor of the language seems to have taken pleasure in complicating it in every way he could think of. For instance, if one is casually referring to a house, HAUS, or a horse, PFERD, or a dog, HUND, he spells these words as I have indicated; but if he is referring to them in the Dative case, he sticks on a foolish and unnecessary E and spells them HAUSE, PFERDE, HUNDE. So, as an added E often signifies the plural, as the S does with us, the new student is likely to go on for a month making twins out of a Dative dog before he discovers his mistake; and on the other hand, many a new student who could ill afford loss, has bought and paid for two dogs and only got one of them, because he ignorantly bought that dog in the Dative singular when he really supposed he was talking plural--which left the law on the seller's side, of course, by the strict rules of grammar, and therefore a suit for recovery could not lie.

In German, all the Nouns begin with a capital letter. Now that is a good idea; and a good idea, in this language, is necessarily conspicuous from its lonesomeness. I consider this capitalizing of nouns a good idea, because by reason of it you are almost always able to tell a noun the minute you see it. You fall into error occasionally, because you mistake the name of a person for the name of a thing, and waste a good deal of time trying to dig a meaning out of it. German names almost always do mean something, and this helps to deceive the student. I translated a passage one day, which said that "the infuriated tigress broke loose and utterly ate up the unfortunate fir forest" (Tannenwald). When I was girding up my loins to doubt this, I found out that Tannenwald in this instance was a man's name.

Every noun has a gender, and there is no sense or system in the distribution; so the gender of each must be learned separately and by heart. There is no other way. To do this one has to have a memory like a memorandum-book. In German, a young lady has no sex, while a turnip has. Think what overwrought reverence that shows for the turnip, and what callous disrespect for the girl. See how it looks in print--I translate this from a conversation in one of the best of the German Sunday-school books:

"Gretchen. Wilhelm, where is the turnip?
"Wilhelm. She has gone to the kitchen.
"Gretchen. Where is the accomplished and beautiful English maiden?
Wilhelm. It has gone to the opera."

To continue with the German genders: a tree is male, its buds are female, its leaves are neuter; horses are sexless, dogs are male, cats are female--tomcats included, of course; a person's mouth, neck, bosom, elbows, fingers, nails, feet, and body are of the male sex, and his head is male or neuter according to the word selected to signify it, and NOT according to the sex of the individual who wears it--for in Germany all the women either male heads or sexless ones; a person's nose, lips, shoulders, breast, hands, and toes are of the female sex; and his hair, ears, eyes, chin, legs, knees, heart, and conscience haven't any sex at all. The inventor of the language probably got what he knew about a conscience from hearsay.

Now, by the above dissection, the reader will see that in Germany a man may THINK he is a man, but when he comes to look into the matter closely, he is bound to have his doubts; he finds that in sober truth he is a most ridiculous mixture; and if he ends by trying to comfort himself with the thought that he can at least depend on a third of this mess as being manly and masculine, the humiliating second thought will quickly remind him that in this respect he is no better off than any woman or cow in the land.

In the German it is true that by some oversight of the inventor of the language, a Woman is a female; but a Wife (Weib) is not--which is unfortunate. A Wife, here, has no sex; she is neuter; so, according to the grammar, a fish is HE, his scales are SHE, but a fishwife is neither. To describe a wife as sexless may be called under-description; that is bad enough, but over-description is surely worse. A German speaks of an Englishman as the ENGLÄNDER; to change the sex, he adds INN, and that stands for Englishwoman-- ENGLÄNDERINN. That seems descriptive enough, but still it is not exact enough for a German; so he precedes the word with that article which indicates that the creature to follow is feminine, and writes it down thus: "die Engländerinn,"--which means "the she-Englishwoman." I consider that that person is over-described.

Well, after the student has learned the sex of a great number of nouns, he is still in a difficulty, because he finds it impossible to persuade his tongue to refer to things as "he" and "she," and "him" and "her," which it has been always accustomed to refer to it as "it." When he even frames a German sentence in his mind, with the hims and hers in the right places, and then works up his courage to the utterance-point, it is no use-- the moment he begins to speak his tongue files the track and all those labored males and females come out as "its." And even when he is reading German to himself, he always calls those things "it," where as he ought to read in this way:

It is a bleak Day. Hear the Rain, how he pours, and the Hail, how he rattles; and see the Snow, how he drifts along, and of the Mud, how deep he is! Ah the poor Fishwife, it is stuck fast in the Mire; it has dropped its Basket of Fishes; and its Hands have been cut by the Scales as it seized some of the falling Creatures; and one Scale has even got into its Eye. and it cannot get her out. It opens its Mouth to cry for Help; but if any Sound comes out of him, alas he is drowned by the raging of the Storm. And now a Tomcat has got one of the Fishes and she will surely escape with him. No, she bites off a Fin, she holds her in her Mouth--will she swallow her? No, the Fishwife's brave Mother-dog deserts his Puppies and rescues the Fin--which he eats, himself, as his Reward. O, horror, the Lightning has struck the Fish-basket; he sets him on Fire; see the Flame, how she licks the doomed Utensil with her red and angry Tongue; now she attacks the helpless Fishwife's Foot--she burns him up, all but the big Toe, and even SHE is partly consumed; and still she spreads, still she waves her fiery Tongues; she attacks the Fishwife's Leg and destroys IT; she attacks its Hand and destroys HER also; she attacks the Fishwife's Leg and destroys HER also; she attacks its Body and consumes HIM; she wreathes herself about its Heart and IT is consumed; next about its Breast, and in a Moment SHE is a Cinder; now she reaches its Neck--He goes; now its Chin-- IT goes; now its Nose--SHE goes. In another Moment, except Help come, the Fishwife will be no more. Time presses--is there none to succor and save? Yes! Joy, joy, with flying Feet the she-Englishwoman comes! But alas, the generous she-Female is too late: where now is the fated Fishwife? It has ceased from its Sufferings, it has gone to a better Land; all that is left of it for its loved Ones to lament over, is this poor smoldering Ash-heap. Ah, woeful, woeful Ash-heap! Let us take him up tenderly, reverently, upon the lowly Shovel, and bear him to his long Rest, with the Prayer that when he rises again it will be a Realm where he will have one good square responsible Sex, and have it all to himself, instead of having a mangy lot of assorted Sexes scattered all over him in Spots.

There, now, the reader can see for himself that this pronoun business is a very awkward thing for the unaccustomed tongue. I suppose that in all languages the similarities of look and sound between words which have no similarity in meaning are a fruitful source of perplexity to the foreigner. It is so in our tongue, and it is notably the case in the German. Now there is that troublesome word VERMÄHLT: to me it has so close a resemblance--either real or fancied--to three or four other words, that I never know whether it means despised, painted, suspected, or married; until I look in the dictionary, and then I find it means the latter. There are lots of such words and they are a great torment. To increase the difficulty there are words which SEEM to resemble each other, and yet do not; but they make just as much trouble as if they did. For instance, there is the word VERMIETHEN (to let, to lease, to hire); and the word VERHEIRATHEN (another way of saying to marry). I heard of an Englishman who knocked at a man's door in Heidelberg and proposed, in the best German he could command, to "verheirathen" that house. Then there are some words which mean one thing when you emphasize the first syllable, but mean something very different if you throw the emphasis on the last syllable. For instance, there is a word which means a runaway, or the act of glancing through a book, according to the placing of the emphasis; and another word which signifies to ASSOCIATE with a man, or to AVOID him, according to where you put the emphasis--and you can generally depend on putting it in the wrong place and getting into trouble.

There are some exceedingly useful words in this language. SCHLAG, for example; and ZUG. There are three-quarters of a column of SCHLAGS in the dictonary, and a column and a half of ZUGS. The word SCHLAG means Blow, Stroke, Dash, Hit, Shock, Clap, Slap, Time, Bar, Coin, Stamp, Kind, Sort, Manner, Way, Apoplexy, Wood-cutting, Enclosure, Field, Forest-clearing. This is its simple and EXACT meaning--that is to say, its restricted, its fettered meaning; but there are ways by which you can set it free, so that it can soar away, as on the wings of the morning, and never be at rest. You can hang any word you please to its tail, and make it mean anything you want to. You can begin with SCHLAG-ADER, which means artery, and you can hang on the whole dictionary, word by word, clear through the alphabet to SCHLAG-WASSER, which means bilge-water--and including SCHLAG-MUTTER, which means mother-in-law.

Just the same with ZUG. Strictly speaking, ZUG means Pull, Tug, Draught, Procession, March, Progress, Flight, Direction, Expedition, Train, Caravan, Passage, Stroke, Touch, Line, Flourish, Trait of Character, Feature, Lineament, Chess-move, Organ-stop, Team, Whiff, Bias, Drawer, Propensity, Inhalation, Disposition: but that thing which it does NOT mean--when all its legitimate pennants have been hung on, has not been discovered yet.

One cannot overestimate the usefulness of SCHLAG and ZUG. Armed just with these two, and the word ALSO, what cannot the foreigner on German soil accomplish? The German word ALSO is the equivalent of the English phrase "You know," and does not mean anything at all--in TALK, though it sometimes does in print. Every time a German opens his mouth an ALSO falls out; and every time he shuts it he bites one in two that was trying to GET out.

Now, the foreigner, equipped with these three noble words, is master of the situation. Let him talk right along, fearlessly; let him pour his indifferent German forth, and when he lacks for a word, let him heave a SCHLAG into the vacuum; all the chances are that it fits it like a plug, but if it doesn't let him promptly heave a ZUG after it; the two together can hardly fail to bung the hole; but if, by a miracle, they SHOULD fail, let him simply say ALSO! and this will give him a moment's chance to think of the needful word. In Germany, when you load your conversational gun it is always best to throw in a SCHLAG or two and a ZUG or two, because it doesn't make any difference how much the rest of the charge may scatter, you are bound to bag something with THEM. Then you blandly say ALSO, and load up again. Nothing gives such an air of grace and elegance and unconstraint to a German or an English conversation as to scatter it full of "Also's" or "You knows."

In my note-book I find this entry:
July 1.--In the hospital yesterday, a word of thirteen syllables was successfully removed from a patient--a North German from near Hamburg; but as most unfortunately the surgeons had opened him in the wrong place, under the impression that he contained a panorama, he died. The sad event has cast a gloom over the whole community.
That paragraph furnishes a text for a few remarks about one of the most curious and notable features of my subject--the length of German words. Some German words are so long that they have a perspective.
Observe these examples:


These things are not words, they are alphabetical processions. And they are not rare; one can open a German newspaper at any time and see them marching majestically across the page--and if he has any imagination he can see the banners and hear the music, too. They impart a martial thrill to the meekest subject. I take a great interest in these curiosities. Whenever I come across a good one, I stuff it and put it in my museum. In this way I have made quite a valuable collection. When I get duplicates, I exchange with other collectors, and thus increase the variety of my stock. Here rare some specimens which I lately bought at an auction sale of the effects of a bankrupt bric-a-brac hunter:


Of course when one of these grand mountain ranges goes stretching across the printed page, it adorns and ennobles that literary landscape--but at the same time it is a great distress to the new student, for it blocks up his way; he cannot crawl under it, or climb over it, or tunnel through it. So he resorts to the dictionary for help, but there is no help there. The dictionary must draw the line somewhere--so it leaves this sort of words out. And it is right, because these long things are hardly legitimate words, but are rather combinations of words, and the inventor of them ought to have been killed. They are compound words with the hyphens left out. The various words used in building them are in the dictionary, but in a very scattered condition; so you can hunt the materials out, one by one, and get at the meaning at last, but it is a tedious and harassing business. I have tried this process upon some of the above examples. "Freundshaftsbezeigungen" seems to be "Friendship demonstrations," which is only a foolish and clumsy way of saying "demonstrations of friendship." "Unabhaengigkeitserklaerungen" seems to be "Independencedeclarations," which is no improvement upon "Declarations of Independence," so far as I can see. "Generalstaatsverordnetenversammlungen" seems to be "General-statesrepresentativesmeetings," as nearly as I can get at it--a mere rhythmical, gushy euphuism for "meetings of the legislature," I judge. We used to have a good deal of this sort of crime in our literature, but it has gone out now. We used to speak of a things as a "never-to-be-forgotten" circumstance, instead of cramping it into the simple and sufficient word "memorable" and then going calmly about our business as if nothing had happened. In those days we were not content to embalm the thing and bury it decently, we wanted to build a monument over it.

But in our newspapers the compounding-disease lingers a little to the present day, but with the hyphens left out, in the German fashion. This is the shape it takes: instead of saying "Mr. Simmons, clerk of the county and district courts, was in town yesterday," the new form put it thus: "Clerk of the County and District Courts Simmons was in town yesterday." This saves neither time nor ink, and has an awkward sound besides. One often sees a remark like this in our papers: "MRS. Assistant District Attorney Johnson returned to her city residence yesterday for the season." That is a case of really unjustifiable compounding; because it not only saves no time or trouble, but confers a title on Mrs. Johnson which she has no right to. But these little instances are trifles indeed, contrasted with the ponderous and dismal German system of piling jumbled compounds together. I wish to submit the following local item, from a Mannheim journal, by way of illustration:

"In the daybeforeyesterdayshortlyaftereleveno'clock Night, the inthistownstandingtavern called 'The Wagoner' was downburnt. When the fire to the onthedownburninghouseresting Stork's Nest reached, flew the parent Storks away. But when the bytheraging, firesurrounded Nest ITSELF caught Fire, straightway plunged the quickreturning Mother-Stork into the Flames and died, her Wings over her young ones outspread."

Even the cumbersome German construction is not able to take the pathos out of that picture--indeed, it somehow seems to strengthen it. This item is dated away back yonder months ago. I could have used it sooner, but I was waiting to hear from the Father-stork. I am still waiting.

"ALSO!" If I had not shown that the German is a difficult language, I have at least intended to do so. I have heard of an American student who was asked how he was getting along with his German, and who answered promptly: "I am not getting along at all. I have worked at it hard for three level months, and all I have got to show for it is one solitary German phrase--'ZWEI GLAS'" (two glasses of beer). He paused for a moment, reflectively; then added with feeling: "But I've got that SOLID!"

And if I have not also shown that German is a harassing and infuriating study, my execution has been at fault, and not my intent. I heard lately of a worn and sorely tried American student who used to fly to a certain German word for relief when he could bear up under his aggravations no longer--the only word whose sound was sweet and precious to his ear and healing to his lacerated spirit. This was the word DAMIT. It was only the SOUND that helped him, not the meaning; and so, at last, when he learned that the emphasis was not on the first syllable, his only stay and support was gone, and he faded away and died.

I think that a description of any loud, stirring, tumultuous episode must be tamer in German than in English. Our descriptive words of this character have such a deep, strong, resonant sound, while their German equivalents do seem so thin and mild and energyless. Boom, burst, crash, roar, storm, bellow, blow, thunder, explosion; howl, cry, shout, yell, groan; battle, hell. These are magnificent words; the have a force and magnitude of sound befitting the things which they describe. But their German equivalents would be ever so nice to sing the children to sleep with, or else my awe-inspiring ears were made for display and not for superior usefulness in analyzing sounds. Would any man want to die in a battle which was called by so tame a term as a SCHLACHT? Or would not a comsumptive feel too much bundled up, who was about to go out, in a shirt-collar and a seal-ring, into a storm which the bird-song word GEWITTER was employed to describe? And observe the strongest of the several German equivalents for explosion--AUSBRUCH. Our word Toothbrush is more powerful than that. It seems to me that the Germans could do worse than import it into their language to describe particularly tremendous explosions with. The German word for hell--Hölle--sounds more like HELLY than anything else; therefore, how necessary chipper, frivolous, and unimpressive it is. If a man were told in German to go there, could he really rise to thee dignity of feeling insulted?

Having pointed out, in detail, the several vices of this language, I now come to the brief and pleasant task of pointing out its virtues. The capitalizing of the nouns I have already mentioned. But far before this virtue stands another--that of spelling a word according to the sound of it. After one short lesson in the alphabet, the student can tell how any German word is pronounced without having to ask; whereas in our language if a student should inquire of us, "What does B, O, W, spell?" we should be obliged to reply, "Nobody can tell what it spells when you set if off by itself; you can only tell by referring to the context and finding out what it signifies--whether it is a thing to shoot arrows with, or a nod of one's head, or the forward end of a boat."

There are some German words which are singularly and powerfully effective. For instance, those which describe lowly, peaceful, and affectionate home life; those which deal with love, in any and all forms, from mere kindly feeling and honest good will toward the passing stranger, clear up to courtship; those which deal with outdoor Nature, in its softest and loveliest aspects--with meadows and forests, and birds and flowers, the fragrance and sunshine of summer, and the moonlight of peaceful winter nights; in a word, those which deal with any and all forms of rest, respose, and peace; those also which deal with the creatures and marvels of fairyland; and lastly and chiefly, in those words which express pathos, is the language surpassingly rich and affective. There are German songs which can make a stranger to the language cry. That shows that the SOUND of the words is correct--it interprets the meanings with truth and with exactness; and so the ear is informed, and through the ear, the heart.

The Germans do not seem to be afraid to repeat a word when it is the right one. they repeat it several times, if they choose. That is wise. But in English, when we have used a word a couple of times in a paragraph, we imagine we are growing tautological, and so we are weak enough to exchange it for some other word which only approximates exactness, to escape what we wrongly fancy is a greater blemish. Repetition may be bad, but surely inexactness is worse.

There are people in the world who will take a great deal of trouble to point out the faults in a religion or a language, and then go blandly about their business without suggesting any remedy. I am not that kind of person. I have shown that the German language needs reforming. Very well, I am ready to reform it. At least I am ready to make the proper suggestions. Such a course as this might be immodest in another; but I have devoted upward of nine full weeks, first and last, to a careful and critical study of this tongue, and thus have acquired a confidence in my ability to reform it which no mere superficial culture could have conferred upon me.

In the first place, I would leave out the Dative case. It confuses the plurals; and, besides, nobody ever knows when he is in the Dative case, except he discover it by accident--and then he does not know when or where it was that he got into it, or how long he has been in it, or how he is going to get out of it again. The Dative case is but an ornamental folly--it is better to discard it.

In the next place, I would move the Verb further up to the front. You may load up with ever so good a Verb, but I notice that you never really bring down a subject with it at the present German range--you only cripple it. So I insist that this important part of speech should be brought forward to a position where it may be easily seen with the naked eye.

Thirdly, I would import some strong words from the English tongue--to swear with, and also to use in describing all sorts of vigorous things in a vigorous ways.
Fourthly, I would reorganizes the sexes, and distribute them accordingly to the will of the creator. This as a tribute of respect, if nothing else.

Fifthly, I would do away with those great long compounded words; or require the speaker to deliver them in sections, with intermissions for refreshments. To wholly do away with them would be best, for ideas are more easily received and digested when they come one at a time than when they come in bulk. Intellectual food is like any other; it is pleasanter and more beneficial to take it with a spoon than with a shovel.

Sixthly, I would require a speaker to stop when he is done, and not hang a string of those useless "haven sind gewesen gehabt haben geworden seins" to the end of his oration. This sort of gewgaws undignify a speech, instead of adding a grace. They are, therefore, an offense, and should be discarded.

Seventhly, I would discard the Parenthesis. Also the reparenthesis, the re-reparenthesis, and the re-re-re-re-re-reparentheses, and likewise the final wide-reaching all-enclosing king-parenthesis. I would require every individual, be he high or low, to unfold a plain straightforward tale, or else coil it and sit on it and hold his peace. Infractions of this law should be punishable with death.

And eighthly, and last, I would retain ZUG and SCHLAG, with their pendants, and discard the rest of the vocabulary. This would simplify the language.
I have now named what I regard as the most necessary and important changes. These are perhaps all I could be expected to name for nothing; but there are other suggestions which I can and will make in case my proposed application shall result in my being formally employed by the government in the work of reforming the language.

My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years. It seems manifest, then, that the latter tongue ought to be trimmed down and repaired. If it is to remain as it is, it ought to be gently and reverently set aside among the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it.

Gentlemen: Since I arrived, a month ago, in this old wonderland, this vast garden of Germany, my English tongue has so often proved a useless piece of baggage to me, and so troublesome to carry around, in a country where they haven't the checking system for luggage, that I finally set to work, and learned the German language. Also! Es freut mich dass dies so ist, denn es muss, in ein haupts:achlich degree, h:oflich sein, dass man auf ein occasion like this, sein Rede in die Sprache des Landes worin he boards, aussprechen soll. Daf:ur habe ich, aus reinische Verlegenheit--no, Vergangenheit--no, I mean Hoflichkeit--aus reinishe Hoflichkeit habe ich resolved to tackle this business in the German language, um Gottes willen! Also! Sie müssen so freundlich sein, und verzeih mich die interlarding von ein oder zwei Englischer Worte, hie und da, denn ich finde dass die deutsche is not a very copious language, and so when you've really got anything to say, you've got to draw on a language that can stand the strain.

Wenn haber man kann nicht meinem Rede Verstehen, so werde ich ihm sp:ater dasselbe :ubersetz, wenn er solche Dienst verlangen wollen haben werden sollen sein h:atte. (I don't know what wollen haben werden sollen sein hätte means, but I notice they always put it at the end of a German sentence--merely for general literary gorgeousness, I suppose.)

This is a great and justly honored day--a day which is worthy of the veneration in which it is held by the true patriots of all climes and nationalities--a day which offers a fruitful theme for thought and speech; und meinem Freunde--no, meinEN FreundEN--meinES FreundES--well, take your choice, they're all the same price; I don't know which one is right--also! ich habe gehabt haben worden gewesen sein, as Goethe says in his Paradise Lost--ich--ich--that is to say--ich--but let us change cars.

Also! Die Anblich so viele Grossbrittanischer und Amerikanischer hier zusammengetroffen in Bruderliche concord, ist zwar a welcome and inspiriting spectacle. And what has moved you to it? Can the terse German tongue rise to the expression of this impulse? Is it Freundschaftsbezeigungenstadtverordneten- versammlungenfamilieneigenth:umlichkeiten? Nein, o nein! This is a crisp and noble word, but it fails to pierce the marrow of the impulse which has gathered this friendly meeting and produced diese Anblick--eine Anblich welche ist gut zu sehen--gut für die Augen in a foreign land and a far country--eine Anblick solche als in die gew:ohnliche Heidelberger phrase nennt man ein "schönes Aussicht!" Ja, freilich natürlich wahrscheinlich ebensowohl! Also! Die Aussicht auf dem Konigsstuhl mehr gr:osser ist, aber geistlische sprechend nicht so schön, lob' Gott! Because sie sind hier zusammengetroffen, in Bruderlichem concord, ein grossen Tag zu feirn, whose high benefits were not for one land and one locality, but have conferred a measure of good upon all lands that know liberty today, and love it. Hundert Jahre vor¨ber, waren die Engländer und die Amerikaner Feinde; aber heut sind sie herzlichen Freunde, Gott sei Dank! May this good-fellowship endure; may these banners here blended in amity so remain; may they never any more wave over opposing hosts, or be stained with blood which was kindred, is kindred, and always will be kindred, until a line drawn upon a map shall be able to say: "THIS bars the ancestral blood from flowing in the veins of the descendant!"

We want to hear what you think, especially if you have struggled with German!

Thanks to Georgetown for this version!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Exploding Chocolate Chip Lava Cookies

These look like muffins but taste like chocolate chip cookies. Even better, take a bite and melted chocolate explodes into your mouth. The only negative? Just eat one and you are full...guess that means the leftovers last longer :)

10 cookies:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated (white) sugar
1 egg
1/2 Tbs vanilla
1 3/4 cups of flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 large block of milk chocolate (about 1 1/2 cups of chips)

Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).

Take 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and pour them into a plastic bag (like Ziploc). Lay flat and microwave for about 30-45 seconds or as long as it takes for the chips to melt. Set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy (we did this by hand but using a machine would be much easier). Add the egg and vanilla and beat again. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda to the wet mixture. Stir and then add the other 1 cup of chocolate chips. Stir until well combined.

Roll the dough into 20 evenly sized balls. Although the original recipe says to just do ten at first, we did all 20 to be sure that we would have enough to finish the recipe.

Flatten slightly ten of the balls and place each into the bottom of a muffin tin/cup.

Take your melted chocolate (should be slightly cool by now but if it is too cool microwave it again) and cut a small hole in the corner of the bag. This will make it easy to squeeze the chocolate onto the cookie dogh.

Squeeze some chocolate into each muffin cup. We did not use a lot and perhaps next time would use more (so don't hold back!)

Next, take the other ten cookie balls and flatten them slight. Use each cookie ball to top the cookie/chocolate cup. Slightly press around the sides to push the cookie together.

Bake for about 9 minutes.

~We baked our cookies and tried to eat them right away. The problem with this is that they fell apart when trying to get them out of the muffin cup (and looked  not cooked through to us) so we put them back in the oven. Later we realized we should have just let them sit a few minutes before trying to take them out of the muffin cups and they were cooked through. Ours ended up being a little over cooked after the second time in the oven. ~

You can microwave these cookies for a few seconds to make them warm and chewy before eating. We suggest serving them with a scoop of ice cream and drizzling any leftover chocolate on top. Yum!

This recipe was adapted from Kevin & Amanda

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday Tales: Daily Food of a Consultant

This week's Tuesday Tales: Daily Food of a Consultant comes from Holland... 
Wait, no not really Holland...see for yourself:

So, now that we know we are in the Netherlands, here is the food I had this week:

Monday started out with a specialty, as I would name it, from the Netherlands: The "Kroketjes." Somebody wanted to know what is special to eat here in the Netherlands - so I was searching constantly for specials :). 
A Kroket can be found on every corner in the Netherlands it is basically some meet or vegetable filling surrounded by coating made of bread or something with a similar consistancy. Mostly fried, but sometimes backed, a usual in-between snack which was first described in a recipe in 1691 by the French kind Louis XIV.
Beside the Kroket I had also some salmon with vegetables on monday which was very enjoyable.
Tuesday gave me a club sandwich with delicious bacon on it and chips.
On Wednesday, the Kroket returned but in company with some salad and a vegetable soup. Most of my Dutch collegues eat sandwiches 24 hours a day (at least sometimes it feels like ;) and look at me confused If I request some "real" food for lunch.
A real entertaining in-between snack from the vending machine was shown to me by another collegue. It is the Gevulde koek which means filled cake and is in my eyes is a very tasty cookie filled with marzipan. But actually instead of marzipan it is amandelspijs, which is in Germany is the raw form of marzipan and something completely different and not comparable in any way to marzipan in the Netherlands (at least this is what my collegues told me :P).
On Thursday I got noodles with prawns which where edible but a little oily for my taste. Friday while I did home office I had some leftover potato soup and sausages. Due to my sickness on the weekend she cooked every meal for me so I got waffels for breakfast and an awesome recipe on Saturday which you will soon find in our blog.
Sunday was noodle day with a new kind of noodle we never tried before. It was basically a Spaghetti with a hole in the middle but I do not recommend it. Eating is only possible if one cuts it several times, otherwise these things start having their own will :).

Mix-Up Monday: The Too Complicated World of Tax

The plan today was to discuss tax in Germany versus the USA. Since it is tax season, the hope was to start with income tax and then go into other topics from there. The problem is that IT IS COMPLICATED! Too complicated to be fun to go into on a Monday night (especially when brain power needs to be saved for the pub quiz later tonight).

Overall lesson (in her point of view) - Americans, stop complaining! Personal income tax in America is quite reasonable. Yes, there are some downsides (when you make a ton of money and live in a different country you end up getting taxed twice - and we mean a TON of money, fewer taxes means fewer social services, probably some other things can be listed here too), but for the most part, personal income tax in the USA is low(ish).

On the other hand, if you own a company, Germany might be the place to be (when speaking about taxation). Corporate taxes in the USA are on average higher than they are in Germany.

Value Added Tax - You know, that tax that shows up at the bottom of your receipt - is also much higher in Germany than in the USA. 19% is the average in Germany, except for certain products such as certain foods, flowers, and books. When she lived in Maryland, the sales tax (there is no federal VAT tax in the USA so sales tax basically takes its place) was only 5% and she thought it was crazy that in California it was over 8%. Now that does not seem so bad to her. Again, like in Germany, certain foods and products are exempt from this sales tax or are taxed at a lower rate.

The point is, it is all a matter of perspective. Are you okay with paying more in taxes if that means the government has more to put toward social systems? Do you want to clearly see how much tax is added (the reason why sales tax is added at the register in the US instead of being included in the price you see) or do you only care about how much you are paying in the end? Like they say, you can only be sure of two things, death and taxes. We can guarantee you that is true for both the USA and Germany!

~Now after doing lots of research online her head is spinning. Federal tax, state tax, tax for this, tax for that. This is just a general guideline. Actual tax brackets will vary by place and circumstances, meaning for each person/company, what country may be "lower" or "better" depends on that company/person's situation.~

Friday, March 15, 2013

Soup Bread Bowl

Turn soup from boring to entertaining by serving it in a soup bread bowl!

We had company over last weekend and wanted to serve something simple that could be made ahead of time. What we decided on was salad, chevapchichi, and potato soup.

By itself this seemed pretty boring, but we got an idea from when we were in San Francisco two years ago and served the soup in a bread bowl.

This time we bought the bread, but next time we want to try to make our own. Either way, once you have your large loaf of bread (circle shape), it is not hard to make a bread bowl.

Any type of bread should work. SF is famous for using sourdough but because we were buying on a Sunday morning in Germany the choices were limited (more than limited, this or nothing). We ended up with a whole grain bread. It went pretty well with the soup but was definitely not something we would choose again.

Making a soup bread bowl:

Cut the top off the loaf. This lets you get into the bread to scope out the inside and  while also giving you a nice lid to serve with the soup.

Scope out the inside of the bread. Save this! We saved ours and the next day made knödel from it. Make sure to be careful when scoping out the inside. You want to leave a thick enough boarder that you do not break through the crust and if it is too thin the soup will soak through.

Use a brush and brush olive oil all around the inside of your soup bowl. We don't know if this really does make a difference but we heard that if you brush on olive oil and then cook the bowl for a bit, the bowl becomes "sealed." We did this and we can say that our soup did not come close to leaking out of the bowl.

~`We did the previous steps early and then waited until about 15 minutes before we were going to serve the soup to actually warm it up.~

On 175 C (350 F), cook the bread bowl for 15 minutes. This will "seal" the bread bowl because of the olive oil and also make it much more tasty to eat with the soup.

Add the soup and serve! It is sure to get the attention of your guests :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday Tales: Daily Food of a Consultant

There are many names for what I had on Monday this week. In some areas of Germany it is called "Bulette" (e.g. the area my boss is from) or Klops, Fleischpflanzerl, Fleischküchle (Swabian - so where I am from), Hacktätschli, Beefsteak, Brisolette or Fleischlaiberl. Basically, it is a type of meatball. I had this together with some decent noodle salad and very good ketchup (mmmh Heinz - as she would say).

Tuesday was enriched by a very traditional meal: Hackbraten with potato dumplings and red cabbage.

No picture on Wednesday but instead a lonely candle... which actually lit up an awesome and tasty pizza. The residual current operated circuit breaker went off when I greeted my favorite pizza man on Wednesday. Unfortunately when I entered the pizzeria, the power went out and I had to order in the dark and got only a  drink. I tired to help the pizza man fix the power by circeling the circuit to one located in the kitchen and after about 30 minutes he was finally able to use the oven again to bake me some awesome pizza. In the end he even gave me some free Grappa. Sometimes it really pays to stay longer ;).

I came home early on Thursday and prepared some Käsespätzle for her with a mixed field salad.

We were very happy on Friday because her colleagues, which traveled recently to Texas, brought us back some beloved and missed Cholula sauce from America. Together we enjoyed the sauce with a delicious takeout pizza - the perfect dinner before preparing for going out on a Friday night.

On Saturday I did not have any interesting food so I decided to show you our experiment. We tried to plant some hot pepper seeds - lets see if they grow...  I will keep you informed :).

On Sunday we made a potato soup for our friends. We based this on the famous clam chowder soup we had when visiting San Francisco, by serving the soup in a bread bowl, just like they did in SF.

Mix-Up- Monday: Auto Love

Two weeks ago we wrote about the cars in Germany. She wants to expand on that topic.

Although the types of cars found in the USA and Germany differ only slightly, the love people have for their cars differs a great deal.

Germans love their cars. They take care of them, they are proud of them, they keep a close eye on them, and they cringe when you just mention the idea that someone else may drive their car.

There is actually a song in Germany (that makes fun of Germans overall), which has one line that says German men take better care of their cars than their wives. Now overall she has to say Germans are extremely nice and she is sure they make very nice husbands...but she would not be shocked if this was true. Germans just love their cars that much!

People are just not attached to their cars in the USA like they are here in Germany. Of course there must be a few people who are, but on average, having a car (or two) in America is pretty common and considered "normal." Even things like the ease of getting a license in America (and how cheap it is) compared to Germany makes learning to drive exciting but not as thrilling and special as it is in Germany. The idea that a friend would drive your car is not strange in the USA, with you in it or not. Cars are things (yes, expensive things), but still things that can be replaced.

Watch a German cringe when they see people park bumped to bumper in countries like Italy and you will start to understand how special "das Auto" is.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Kale Chips (Grünkohl Chips)

A friend came over last weekend and made these for us. Luckily she left some kale behind so we could make our own, because we were addicted!

Kale chips are super easy, the toughest part is finding kale in season (which luckily is now).

All you need is:

Kale, washed and ripped into small/medium pieces
Oliver oil
Salt (either table salt or thicker salt (like pretzel salt)

Preheat the oven to as high, or as almost high, as it goes. We cooked ours at 230 C or so (450 F).

Wash and dry the kale and rip (or cut) it into smaller pieces.

Place the kale in an oven safe dish with sides. We used a glass dish.

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the kale (we made a lot of kale and used less than a tablespoon). Less is more in this situation because you do not want the kale to be soggy and greasy.

Use your hands to work in the olive oil so every piece is covered.

Sprinkle with salt and stick it in the oven (toward the top). After about 5 minutes flip the kale and let the other side cook. In about 10 minutes it should be crispy (a little brown) and delicious. A healthy type of chip!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

How better to start Sunday morning than banana chocolate chip pancakes in bed?
These pancakes are sweet but not too sweet. We didn't even need maple syrup to enjoy them. Just a little whipped cream, fresh coffee, and a side of bacon. Yum!

For two people (about four pancakes each):
3/4 cup flour
1/2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cinnamon
5/8 cup of milk
1/4 cup banana, mashed (we used one large banana)
1/2 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chocolate chips (save a few to decorate)
Whipped cream or maple syrup as topping

Combine the sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the milk, mashed banana, egg and vanilla.

Mix well and then fold in the chocolate chips.

Heat a skillet over medium and spray with oil (you can also use a paper towel to lightly dab on the oil).

Once the pan is very hot, add a scoop of the batter (we made two pancakes at a time with about 1/4 cup batter each).

Cook until the pancake has many bubbles and then flip.

Cook another minute or until golden.

Serve with slices of banana, chocolate chips and whipped cream (or maple syrup).

If you are worried about the pancakes getting cold while you cook the others, you can stick them in a low-heated oven to stay warm.

This recipe was adapted from BestTeenChef on

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tuesday Tales: Daily Food of a Consultant

It is time again for the Tuesday Tales. First scary tale comes from a local fast food establishment in Frechen. I had so-called "Broccoli Noodles" which were 99.9% white, not to be defined but maybe, cheese sauce, with noodles and 00.1% Broccoli.  Literally the broccoli you can see on the picture (or not see) was the only piece in the whole meal. Well the luck of Monday at its finest :).
Very enjoyable was Tuesday. I enjoyed the taste of a Ruccola and Parmesan Pizza.
Wednesday enriched my day with this spicy hotpot including packed noodles and good sausages.

Thursday and Friday look kind of boring this week. All just because I forgot the yummy pictures of the meals I made at home. So the Schnitzel and the Semmelknödel had to make way for the rolls in the office and my salmon roll. Go me for making pictures of every meal I eat... I should just remember them next time :)
On Saturday we cooked our yummy lemon pasta with smoked salmon (the rest I had from Thursday - home office day). Please find the recipe here:
Sunday was eating out day with friends and planning of our Kenya holiday trip. We went to a local Chinese place in Frankfurt and ordered, thanks to our Chinese/Japanese professional friends, in style and awesome food. I chose one of the six meals we got - sizzeling sea food in a pot - as a final ending of this week.

Mix-Up Monday: Dogs Dogs Everywhere!

Her dog back in California
This week’s pub quiz inspired yet another Mix-Up Monday. When I got to the pub, I had to climb over two very cute black noses to get to my seat. These noses belonged to two, rather large, rather hairy ,dogs.
Unlike the United Staes, seeing dogs in stores and restaurants is not uncommon in Germany. Although not all restaurants allow dogs, (for obvious reasons, food!) almost every store, no matter how large or small, allows people to bring their dog in with them. This includes shoe stores, department stores, home and garden stores, and so on. Many people who bring their dogs shopping with them have quite small dogs, but sometimes you go into a store and must compete for space with a great dane or Burmese mountain dog. (We are dog people so this does not bother us in the slightest, unless the dog is not well-behaved or makes a lot of noise.)
The picture on ticket machines
Even more common than in stores and restaurants, dogs riding public transportation is a daily sight in Germany. In Frankfurt, unlike some other cities, dogs ride for free. Where we used to live, dogs paid the same price as children. The machine actually had a picture of a dog and a kid on it so you knew what button to push :)
In high school she raised guide dogs for the blind and was one of the few Americans who got to take her dog everywhere with her. After that experience, she definitely can agree that it is nice for both owner and dog to be able to shop together.  Now if only we had our own dog to take around town...
Perhaps we should start a rental service. Rent a companion by the hour or day to take shopping :)