Friday, June 15, 2007

Vermisst im Kampf (in Berlin)

(In case you don't have your trusty online German-English dictionary handy, "vermisst im Kampf" means MIA, or missing in action.)

1. Why doesn't Europe have any screens? In general, it's a pretty nice place and it's not that I'm suggesting everyone go out and get a flat-screen and their own personal rocket, but do they really like living with gnats and flies? I know we're not likely to come down with a bout of Malaria anytime soon, but screens are a pretty simple, low-tech innovation that keeps bugs out and lets air and light in. There really aren't any downsides that I can think of. Yet another thing I do not understand.
2. And about those Rice Krispies, which I still cannot find, I just wanted to reiterate that I know they're not good. But they have much worse cereals here. If they can have Oger Mpfamps (which are pea green and somehow connected to Schrek), why can't they keep a few boxes of RK around? On that note, I was at a catered BBQ last night and got all excited when the grill chef pulled out a portable gas burner, a bag of marshmallows, and some skewers and started to roast them. Alas, he was never a small American boy and didn't have the slightest idea how one roasts a marshmallow. You can't really blame him, bless his little German heart, but he had the burner on high and was just scorching the outsides. Even if you're not a roast-slowly-until-golden-brown girl like I am, surely you can appreciate the importance of at least roasting it enough to melt it in the middle? I tried to explain the process to him, but either he didn't care (probably) or my broken German ("that is too heat, (rude informal) you must slower") didn't quite get the message across. Alas.
3. Why can't I pay with a credit card at the grocery store, or pretty much anywhere? I thought this was a major international center?
4. I know it's my choice, but I'd like to take a minute/line or 2 to mourn the fact that this is the second summer in a row in which I will eat not a single ear of fresh corn. Why does Europe import Oger Mpfamps but not grow sweet corn? Sad Becca. Please eat an ear for me. I can eat something German for you! Gooseberry, anyone? Oger Mpfamp?
5. My ability to spell. Someone actually signed my yearbook in 6th grade: you're a good speller. I've always that was odd to the point of being hysterical (that was the only nice thing she could think to write? isn't it better to go with "have a nice summer!" or maybe she was genuinely impressed with my spelling). Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I actually used to be an excellent speller. Then I learned Spanish and started dropping consonants where there should be two, etc. And now I find myself smooshing words together to make absurd compound words a la Deutsch. Help.

Of course there are nice things here, too. The rhubarb and asparagus are winding down, but the strawberries continue to be excellent. There are also fresh currants and red AND green gooseberries, I think. This is super cool, but also stressful because I don't really know what to do with them. I have my big Berlin catering debut next week and once that potential nightmare is behind me, I'll make my attack.

In other news, the Hamburg trip was cancelled at the very last minute, as one of our hosts is ill. It was a nice weekend in Berlin, though -- platter shopping at the flea market (my attempt to disguise my poverty as retro chic) for the aforementioned catering situation. And a daytrip to Werder Island -- only about 30 mins from here, famous for smoked fish and fruit trees. We ate a nice fish lunch overlooking the Havel River, visited an orchard museum, and then went for a dip in the Havel! If I hadn't forgotten my camera, you might have gotten to see some fuzzy images. Instead, here is a gooseberry tart!

1 comment:

Diana Pittet said...

I think you should call your catering company Screen Door Catering. Maybe even provide screen doors! What did you do with the rhubarb? I don't think the Europeans bake sweets with the classic American combo of strawberries & rhubarb. As for gooseberries, my English grandmother used to make gooseberry fool and crisp, as I recall. As a child, I considered them exotic. As with rhubarb, I think you need to use *lots* of sugar. With the currants, make summer pudding.