East meets West: politeness and social conventions

The very first time our families met, one of my sister and nephew greeted my sister-in-law with the traditional french la bise . Basically they went straight to her and hit each of her cheeks against theirs quite quickly. She was totally taken aback believing she was getting french kissed for greeting. Continue reading East meets West: politeness and social conventions

Miscommunication and the challenge of speaking English differently

One day this man I barely knew looked at me and asked: “last chance for the hotel”. That day I learned that most Indians use the word hotel and restaurant alternatively. So he was not making me an indecent proposal but was just inviting me for an innocent dinner. Continue reading Miscommunication and the challenge of speaking English differently

Galette des rois (three Kings cake)

In France everyone eat a special dessert on the day of epiphany to commemorate the visit of the magi bearing gifts for new born Jesus. When dessert comes, the youngest around the table go bellow the table and assign each piece of cake to a member of the party. Inside the cake is a surprise (usually a tiny China figurine but in older days people … Continue reading Galette des rois (three Kings cake)

Vanillekipferl (Vanilla crescent)

Another Christmas Cookie Plätzchen recipe which I bake every year is Vanilla Kipferl. They are very soft melt into the mouth and are my family’s favorite (both in France and in India). They are pretty easy and inexpensive to bake provided one follow a few simple tricks which I wrote in Italic in the recipe below. Ingredients for the dough: 250g of flour 210 g softened … Continue reading Vanillekipferl (Vanilla crescent)

Zimtsternen (cinnamon stars)

One German tradition which I truly fell in love with is to bake Xmas cookies called Plätzchen to give it to friends, families and colleagues during the advent time. There are hundreds of different cookie type and family recipes are passed down through generations. Normally I meet with my girlfriends on a Sunday to bake Plätzchen, listen to Xmas Carols and bake hundreds of cookies. Since this … Continue reading Zimtsternen (cinnamon stars)