Being back in Cologne I am constantly reminded of THE QUESTION! Mit oder Ohne (literally with or without) is the first Kulturschock for a naive foreigner discovering Germany. It does nor refer to anything existential but how you would like your water and specifically how carbonated should it be. Continue reading Water… with or without?
Food is the first topic of complaint of expats everywhere, it is also the first challenge they need to master directly after arriving in their host country. Finding your favorite products is not easy in a different language and items are often not at all available. Continue reading On the challenge of grocery shopping in a different country
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
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)
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)
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)
Couple of years ago, I used to order one brötchen (bread rolls) at the neighborhood bakery and that seemed to baffle the lady at the counter so much that she kept on pushing me to buy some more, saying it was not enough for one person. I had never thought much about it until I had to spend 24 hours at the hospital and finally … Continue reading What give us our daily bread means for Germans