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Everything posted by cakewench

  1. Okay, I haven't quite had the time to make it back all the way through this thread. Perhaps tomorrow. But for now: General Foods 'coffee'!! French Vanilla! Just those comments took me back to community college, tossing back cups of that (and possibly with added sugar ) with one of my best friends after a night of ... being out too late. mm good times. Hey, and a memory from that same time period, same friend: we used to go to Giant (local grocery store) and buy one of the tiny rectangular birthday cakes they had (in 'normal' portions, possibly meant to serve 4 people. Very small for a birthday cake, clearly just meant for people like us, celebrating things like 'Tuesday'), and share one over the double-shot of MASH the local FOX station would show at midnight. This sort of memory leads to my current username. cake
  2. jinmyo- If you're seriously polling: I really, really like your profile shot. I think it fits perfectly with a lot of your one-line responses. I think 'deadpan' more than 'severe'. one topic: I have long hair, and always have it pulled back in the kitchen. Not out of any feeling of cleanliness; more because I just don't like it being in my way. I think I have managed to get a hair or two in there, regardless, but it doesn't bother me. Now, someone ELSE'S hair. hm. It doesn't bother me as much as it used to, but it is still pretty creepy.
  3. cinghale- In no way was I trying to suggest that Germans don't eat vegetables. I was merely passing on the fact that many Germans themselves joke about this issue, and it fit in with what Adam had said just before me. Unfortunately, I have to disagree on the pumpkin/squash issue. They might be popular in the Frankfurt area, but we didn't find any here in my tiny city in the Ruhr region. Perhaps if I made the hour-long trek to Düsseldorf or Köln, but it isn't mainstream enough to have made it to Bochum! Jck o'lantern pumpkins aren't the sort that I was referring to; the Aussies use a nice, small, green pumpkin (sugar pumpkin, perhaps?) for eating. (no friends on American bases... not even sure there is one around here) Ling- I love your celery story!
  4. Adam, I've heard many comments from Germans regarding ...well, most vegetables. Mainly, that they would be better served as ham. (Savory pumpkin was one of my favorites things to have in Oz. I won't be finding it here anytime soon. Perhaps when we hit the UK) Peanut butter and jam! The jam/jelly thing is a common misconception, actually. Yes, Brits have a product called 'jelly', which in American is 'Jello', but Brits ALSO have 'jelly' in the form that Americans know it. Say, mint jelly? In that sense, the jelly is just the clear juice from that substance (mint), boiled down with sugar until it gets to a vaguely gelatonous quality. Well, in the States, the most popular partner to peanut butter is Concord grape jelly. It's not a jam (jam = bits o'fruit in it), it's a clearish jelly made by boiling down sweet grape juice. No bits of grape, no jam-like qualities. Concord grape jelly is sold in massive jars, and is made to be just thin enough to soak through any sort of bread during the 4 hours you have to wait until lunchtime. It is a popular lunchtime food for middle-school kids. A lot of us make PB&J's from jams, though. I prefer strawberry. And I've drifted enough. I'm certain there is a massive PB&J thread out there, somewhere, addressing this exact issue. Back to the original (sorta) subject: Hey, I like rutebegas. We had them in New England, around Thanksgiving, all the time. They are an acquired taste, though, I think.
  5. What excellent responses... canned pumkpin is actually something I brought along with me, for my pumpkin bread recipe. That went over well with his family, once they got over the 'pumpkin? bread?' problem. Back to my brownies, one last time. I was very aware that they were rich, so I had cut them into small (miniscule, by American standards!) squares. I knew this was their tea/coffee time, and that this would be the appropriate size for the time of day/ beverage of choice/ tastebuds of someone not used to the richness/ etc. I did put a lot of thought into this, as I have spent a lot of time being the 'the American' foisting off food on non-Americans. heh. Smaller brownies usually work over here, because people are used to having a nice piece of chocolate with their coffee, anyway. For example, cappucinos are always served with a piece of chocolate here, and it is a nice addition. I'm quite certain it was the cheese that made them turn up their noses. More for us, I say. At least my fiance loved them. On the other notes: I can appreciate the analogies to bug eating (I think just a little part of me died inside at the thought of comparing my lovely brownies to Fear Factor food!), but this wasn't nearly so extreme. Those cases are involving ingredients 'we' wouldn't normally dream of consuming (yes, I'm sure some eG'ers would, just work with me on this!), no matter how they were prepared. I wasn't serving up fluffy kitty fetuses, I was serving food made up of ingredients that these people would have happily eaten in any other combination. It was a leap of faith I was asking for, yes, but it wasn't a massive one. As for the 'American' factor: Honestly? Yes, one of the guys in particular probably avoided them because he simply hates all things American. I only know this because my fiance has told me; I have not spoken to the guy, myself. He knows English but won't use it with me (I am in the process of learning German, but am obviously restricted to rather rudimentary sentences in the meantime. And, people like this don't usually want to put up with that sort of crap. ) Perhaps one or two others feel the way that he does, but the vast majority are simply very nice guys. (in fact, the Yank-hater hates just about everything. He isn't exactly personable, and has very few friends. If you can imagine that. haha) On the other end of the scale, there is a Thai man who has a lot of family in the US, loves it there, and has had us over for traditional Thai food. Of course the Swiss man is lovely (neutrality, hah), but above all else, did I mention: The FRENCH guy had FIVE of them!
  6. Hey, that made me feel a lot better, bleu. That is very amusing that we managed to have just about the exact same experience, within the last few weeks... Oh, yes, Compass, I've noticed the lower sugar content in desserts here. (I've actually been over here quite a while) I guess the main thing to point out is that half the guys didn't even try them, once they knew there was cheese involved. The exact same group of guys will eat cheese danish-type cakes like they are getting monetary reimbursment for the act. This group of guys happens to be a fairly international bunch, hence the 'Okay, I'll make brownies' reaction. Anytime one of them has a party or has to bring food for something, it is encouraged by the others that he bring a food from his home country. (boy, am I happy my fiance shares an office with a guy from Thailand. yum.) The encouragement usually comes from the others who are from different countries. The fiance says it's a trait shared by people in this particular region of the country. They don't always want to try something 'new', and evidently, cheese-and-chocolate falls into that category.
  7. I don't know if this is a thread which has come up before. I imagine there must have been something similar, but I couldn't find one, and I was amused enough with my experience that I wanted to share it somewhere. My German boyfriend and I got engaged a month or two ago. I am American, and am living with him here in Germany until his PhD is complete (should be another month or two, then who knows where we will end up!) In Germany, if you announce something like an engagement, you are expected to throw the party, or bring cake to work, or take people out for drinks, etc. (as opposed to the States, where usually do a bit of a celebration for YOU, or a shower, or dinner... whatever. Different cultures) So, he wanted to announce the engagement to his colleagues, and said he was thinking of buying a cake. He knows I like to bake, so he added "or you could do something?" I was already thinking of something good, yet American, that I could make. These sort of things usually go over rather well, when it is a food that people don't get a lot of around here. Especially when it is something they have only 'heard of'. I decided to do brownies. Quintissential American food, and almost never done properly overseas (oh, the hockey pucks I've seen in little cellophane packages, emblazoned with US flags. sigh). I couldn't find my standard cocoa recipe, so I went online to locate a new one. There, I found a reasonable one, with an excellent-sounding cream cheese filling. great. Long story short, I made them. They were fantastic. To die for. I didn't want to share them, that's how great they were. I told him this over the phone to his office, suggested that we might want to go ahead and just buy a cake. In the end, we decided to be nice and share, anyway. In to his meeting-room they went, where his colleagues were sitting to have afternoon tea/coffee (4pm, on the dot). Around the table the brownies were passed. Suspicious looks were given. About half of them took one each (okay, weird... a room full of men who don't have people baking for them, and they passed them up?) The other half... well, once they found out that "käse?!?!" was the filling (cheese!!), they didn't want to touch them at all. We tried to explain. The Germans wanted no part of it. The only guys who truly tried and enjoyed them were the Swiss guy and the French guy. (the French guy had FIVE. I don't think I've stressed how rich these were, btw) Luckily, my fiance loved them, too, so we just took them hope and snarfed them, ourselves. But really. I know other people here must have had similar experiences. Total confidence in what you have made, only to be met with a wall of "you want me to eat WHAT?" Especially amusing when it isn't something you would even consider to be odd. It's not as if I was trying to serve *insert untouchable food item here*. käse, indeed.
  8. Coming into this conversation really late, but: When a foodie friend of mine came to Oz to visit me (I was in Adelaide, we met up in Sydney), he had done all sorts of research into what restaurants he wanted to try while he was there. He really wanted an excellent sushi dinner, and had discovered that the ANA Harbour Hotel had the area's big (quoted x amount of stars, don't recall, didn't care much about sushi, honestly) sushi chef. He treated me to an very expensive meal there, and he was absolutely delighted with it. He said it was the best he has ever had. He is not prone to hyperbole, so I took him at his word. (my own experience... well, it was okay, but I really am not a sushi person. I like stronger flavors, and cooked food. ) Anyhoo. I would recommend that place, just because he loved it so much. He's hard to please. BTW, the view from the top floor (where this restaurant is) was fantastic.
  9. Hey, if you're going to mention Tim Tams, you can't very well leave out the Mint Slices. Served directly from the freezer, thank you... And the chicken salt I mentioned earlier. It's subtle, but a nice addition to hot chips (fries) and veggies. I still remember the first time I was asked, at a chip shop, "you want salt or chicken salt?" haha. chicken salt?? (it's just a seasoned salt, with garlic, onion, whatever... no chicken essence involved) *edited* to add... oh, Oz also happens to be the first place I ever had quince paste, with a cheese platter. This discovery led me to the Barossa Valley, where I discovered Maggie Beers, and her line of various other 'pastes' and jams, to be had with cheeses. I still have a few containers of quince and cabernet pastes from her... yum
  10. ah yeah, Boags and Cascade were a couple of nice ones, but always a bit high-end for my budget while I was there. Best Cooper's memory: my aussie friend getting up from our table, asking if she should 'get us a coupla Pales?' and my reaction of 'pails of what, exactly??' as if our beer intake hadn't been high enough, she was going to have me drinking by the bucketfull by the end of the evening. ah, fun. Helen, I just love the first visit to a supermarket in a new country! I could seriously spend an afternoon purusing the shelves (and, er, with my questionable knowledge of German, and living in Germany, I can spend that time easily if I'm looking for something obscure. I get sidetracked easily!) The only way you should ingest Cheez Whiz, should you insist upon doing so, should be on a cheesesteak in Philly. There is no other purpose for that substance. (and even then, personally, I'm a provolone gal)
  11. no, he didn't. Real Aussies don't drink Fosters. Or, for the 'special service announcement' version: Real Aussies don't let Aussies drink Fosters. (after this point, you need to break it down by state... I was a Cooper's Pale girl, myself, but I'm sure that'll draw some scrutiny from the clear NSW/Vic majority here!) I think the point of the article is that the author doesn't know what the foods are. At least, that's the point *I* found amusing, along with the guesswork involved as to what the foreign substances might be. This thread is actually serving as a reminder of just how seriously some Americans can take... everything. Are we completely unable to laugh at ourselves? They're just GRITS, for hominy's sake. *edited* for clarity...
  12. Hey, I'll have you know I had my old co-workers in Oz addicted to Nutter Butters (sandwich cookies, in manner of Oreos, but with peanut butter cookies and uh, peanut butter in the middle), peanut butter M&M's, Reese's, etc. My mother used to send packages specifically for my closest friend down there. For my part, I did honestly like Vegemite, and I brought some home with me. It is rather nice on a sandwich with some Tasty cheese. (Tasty = basically cheddar cheese, but Aussies seem to like to call it 'tasty' so that you know exactly what you're reaction to it should be. "what is this?? sure is tasty!" ) I enjoyed the article. Speculating on what the weird Yankee foods might be, based on the name and context in which it was heard, is a bit more interesting than the average taste test... *edited* to add: I forgot my favorite Aussie food item! Chicken salt!! I just used some tonight, as a matter of fact, on my roasted cauliflower. mmm.
  13. btw, Cadbury from the UK and Cadbury from Oz are two different things. I was absolutely shocked when, upon moving to Australia, I realized that my beloved Cadbury cream egg was practically inedible. My co-workers there waxed on about different diets for cows, and different chemicals used to prohibit melting in their hot weather... etc. Didn't matter, still sucked. lots. Or, 'heaps', as they would say. The Hershey's/Cadbury debate has happened a few times on this board. Hershey's has a higher cocoa content, and therefore I don't think they can be directly compared. I like them both, in different forms. If we want to compare all mass-market chocolate bars, though, neither of them stands up to Ritter Sport (from my current home country of Germany). Now, back to Oz, the Strawberry version of the Cherry Ripe, that was inspired. I'm not sure if it's still around, as it was brand new when I was still there. I don't think I ate many chocolate bars, but the Cadbury cookies (oh yes, I said cookies ) were fantastic.
  14. Since the idea of large menus = lower quality has been raised, I would like to ask what people think of Jack in the Box? I used to go there when I lived in TX, and I thought it was pretty good. Artery-clogging real milkshakes (pumpkin pie flavor around Thanksgiving, ahh), curly fries, and the sourdough Jack will live on fondly in my memories. No, that chain isn't nearly as large as BK or McD's, but they are still a chain, and they somehow seem to do the large menu concept better than the other two. If anyone has an idea as to how, I'd be interested to hear it. I'm glad to hear that BK is being forced back to its roots a bit, so to speak. I used to enjoy going there as a kid. I'm also one of the few people who doesn't mind the McD's switch away from beef tallow in their fries. Though, really, their hash browns are the only thing that truly lures me in to that establishment anymore. Hash browns and an egg mcmuffin. mmm. My favorite airport food.
  15. Yes, golden syrup (on its jar) says it's cane sugar syrup. I had read on another site that it was a clear version of molasses, so I tried to use it as such. hm. Thanks for the tip, Rachel. I hope to get these cookies right over here one of these days.
  16. I would like to make some chocolate chip cookies for my fiance here in Germany, but I'm having some Issues with brown sugar (or, lack thereof). No need to tell me that it's available in *insert big city name here*, just trust me when I say that I am nowhere near any current or former American military bases, or within an hour of a 'major' city. I've made them for him in the States, and they were up to my usual standard. I made them again, here in DE, and they were just a bit weird. He claims he didn't notice, and his family liked them, but *I* noticed, dammit! As far as I can tell, the only difference was the lack of brown sugar. I had tried to compensate by adding a T of golden syrup (a clear molasses), which was suggested... somewhere. I don't think it helped much. For further explanation: by weird, I mean they were a bit dry, almost a bit grainy due to the sugar. I tried creaming the butter and sugar together to avoid it the next time, but I'm not sure that helped. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
  17. (weighing in rather late on the 'schmaltz' comments): In Germany, it's usually lard, or pig fat. If it isn't, they usually have the description in front of it (hühnerschmaltz or whatever, for chicken). I tripled checked this with my ever-present German/English dictionary and the German fiance before I dared post here. Oh, and the currywurst is great. It's not always served in such a frightening style, but yeah, I guess it never looks 'pretty', either! Great blog!
  18. Wow, I love you for starting this thread, fifi! So I have a question: how does one save old beans? Yes, in the bean-plentiful US, you would probably just toss them and pick up another pack, but I am very reluctant to do so here in Germany. My mother was kind enough to mail me 3 packs of Goya black beans after I complained of not being able to make my favorite soup here (I've located canned kidney beans in the supermarkets, and that's about it). I soaked the beans overnight, I simmered in the morning once I realized I wasn't getting anywhere with the soaking alone... and still not much progress at that point. After cooking a bit longer, I finally put the soup together, and blended a larger portion of it than usual with the stick blender. My fiance loves the soup, because it's a style of cooking he has never experienced over here. Meanwhile, I am because my soup is still.. grainy, or whatever you want to call the bits o'hard bean in there. I've let it simmer most of the evening now, and it seems to be becoming edible, to me, finally. Any suggestions will be much appreciated, as I might be having this experience with the next two bags, as well. *edited* to add that we don't have a slow cooker here!
  19. E-mail is an entirely appropriate way to communicate, and just as valid as a 'real' letter or a phone call. As stated above, if they actually publicize their email address, they must expect to receive correspondance there. Of course, if you are sending a professional e-mail, it's also assumed that you are including a telephone number as well in case they want to speak to you on that medium. It's pretty standard to include that info at the end, in the 'business card' format. This is not to say that I don't believe in the power of writing a physical letter. Honestly, the best format (in my opinion, of course! ) is to send the e-mail right away, and if there is no response within the reasonable time frame (although, in this case, 'reasonable time frame' is 'immediately'), then send a follow-up hard copy through snail mail with a meticulously polite "here is the correspondance I have already sent, to your email which you helpfully posted on your menus/business cards. I was just curious as to why I haven't heard back..." So yeah. I think fifi is correct. I would have expected a full refund, in this case. For the record, I am not one who expects free food when items are late (okay, I've been in Europe too long, perhaps. We just waited an hour for our food at lunch on Sunday, with just a 'yes the kitchen is busy' after about the 50 min mark. Hey, at least we had good conversation...). This isn't your typical service-related incident, though. At the very least, the refund is warranted because the product was faulty. Unfortunately, faulty in this case has serious consequences (illness, or worse).
  20. Zora is a wealth of information! I'm coming in on this a bit late- I was lucky enough to be able to stay with my Egyptian cousins in Heliopolis for several weeks back in 95. I wasn't quite the devoted foodie I am today, but I could still appreciate the tasty simplicity of much of the staple dishes. The fava bean dishes are right on the money. I cannot for the life of me remember the names of the dishes I had, but what Zora has described sounds fairly accurate to me. The cold fava bean paste is very often served on bread (pita, or a similar flatbread), with chopped tomatoes and other fresh vegetables added. Heaps of garlic somehow find their way in there, as well. I mention these sandwiches to every Egyptian I've met since that trip. They always, always respond with a smile and a "oh YES, bean sandwiches!" and if we are being introduced on a personal basis, an invitation to share the sandwiches always follows closely. Wonderful people... So yeah, bean sandwiches. Very Egyptian. Also, the aforementioned falafel and hummus. I would give you the Egyptian recipe my cousin gave me directly, but I won't be home with it for another month. There was always a plate of cheeses in the fridge, to have after dinner. mmm...
  21. pizza. though 'cheese' and 'crab' are runners-up. Tough call.
  22. Yes, thank goodness you didn't get snooty on us. I second Pan's comment; the posts aren't really focusing on 'food' so much as they are your experience of being in a new country. That isn't to say that they aren't interesting, of course. If you would like a few ideas of some travel forums, let me know. I travel a great deal, myself (am currently living in Germany, after 7 months in Australia), and do a lot of public online journaling about that subject. For this particular forum, though, I would suggest squeezing in some details about your meals in Greece. I believe a lot of people would be interesting in hearing about them, side benefit being that you will probably get the responses you crave.
  23. I ate a whole lot of .. lettuce sandiches when I was a kid. Some squishy white 'bread' (we weren't rich enough for actual Wonder), mayo, and iceburg lettuce. mmm. I want one now.
  24. 28c is actually closer to 82F. Which has nothing at all to do with your wonderful post from Greece. Please don't mind the pedantic American in Germany. I haven't had enough... tea... this morning. I love reading new views on different cultures. One of my grandmothers was from Armenia, so I look forward to hearing about some familiar foods!
  25. hallo! A Bircher update, because I said I would! Thanks again for the recipe help, Boris. I've tried a couple of variations this week, always plain yogurt instead of the milk, a few different fruits (bits of coconut to fit with an orange theme, yeah), etc. Less water, as I like the oat-y texture. etc. The next victims are the pears my overzealous bf purchased at the market this past weekend. They haven't been touched by either of us since, and someone has to do something with them!
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