If there is anything I can do to avoid food waste, I’ll do it. While I am not as extreme as my German grandmother who saved every single scrap, her ways definitely shaped me (which you can read about in more detail here). Continue reading
Last summer slugs decimated the strawberry harvest from my garden. This year I was prepared. Or so I thought. I had a bag of diatomaceous earth stand by, and an old salt shaker to spread it around the plants. But there were no slugs. Instead, chipmunks discovered the strawberry patch and took a bite out of every single ripe strawberry. Continue reading
What I probably miss most living in rural America is the exposure to other cultures. I never regretted having moved for love from bustling New York City with its multitude of ethnicities to a tiny hamlet in a county with a highly homogenous population. I did many things on our mountaintop that I would have never done in an urban setting – first and foremost, I became a gardener. But that does not mean that I ever stopped missing the diversity I was seeking when I emigrated to America: people who, like me, came from another country, and with their background and traditions contribute to the rich cultural fabric of America. Continue reading
A cookbook that holds a special place in my collection is Delights from the Garden of Eden: A Cookbook and a History of the Iraqi Cuisine by Nawal Nasrallah. I have the first edition from 2003, a hefty, 650-page book that was self-published and printed in black and white (it was later released as a hardcover with color photos). It’s a book that I turn to when I need to get grounded again about food and cooking. Everything these days is so overheated, short-lived and hyper, and the social media attention keeps moving from one food trend and snippet and Instagram photo to the next within split seconds. Reading a page, or even just a paragraph, about Mesopotamian civilization that goes back to 6,000 BC, to the dawn of recorded human history, helps me to cool it and put things back in perspective. Continue reading
Except for salad greens, and family-size bags of carrots and frozen green beans, we buy almost no vegetables when we go food shopping. During the winter, we mostly eat the bounty from my garden that fills our freezer. At the supermarket, I often get a puzzled look from the cashier or the people in line behind me when I load those 5-pound bags on the conveyor belt. “Those are for our dog,” I say when someone asks. Continue reading
For the longest time, I disliked beets. It was a bunch of freshly pulled spring beets from a friend’s garden that turned me from a beet hater to a beet lover, and now I grow them every year. Since we don’t have a root cellar, I roast or cook the beets right after harvest and freeze them. The beet leaves, if they are still young and tender, go into the freezer as well.
We are skipping the turkey this year. Instead of spending my time basting and stuffing, I want to give a shout-out to the local farmers and producers who have filled our table with such wonderful foods this year.
When I moved to rural northeast Pennsylvania in 2001, it was a real culture shock. Yes, the culture shock did not happen when I moved from Germany to New York City three years prior. It happened when I moved from the city to the country. It was not only because living on a rural hilltop and telecommuting is an isolated and remote lifestyle, it was also because I realized that my image of country life was a bucolic fantasy. Continue reading
Twenty years after I immigrated from Germany to the United States, my ties to my native country are still strong. From the red and black currants I grow in my garden, to the bread, cakes and pastries I bake, there is a taste of Germany, a little bit of German customs and traditions in my life every day.
That’s why I am happy, with my German food blog, Spoonfuls of Germany, to be part of The German-American Friendship Year (Deutschlandjahr USA). The campaign officially kicks off on October 3, 2018, and runs for an entire year.
On Spoonfuls of Germany I explore Germany through its food from the American vantage point. Based on the concept that many foods and dishes have a fascinating story behind them, the blog provides a personal window into Germany’s history, society, culture, politics, arts, and more.
During Deutschlandjahr, the blog will focus on German food culture in the United States, tracing its German origins, how it evolved, and profiling the people behind the food.
In late July, my friend Lise gave me a large bag of wild blueberries that she and her boyfriend had picked. Picking wild blueberries, which taste unlike any of the cultivated varieties, is backbreaking and tedious. In exchange for the wild blueberries, I gave Lise a couple of jars of my homemade elderflower jelly.
Also by bartering, this summer I obtained other fresh local produce, including some horseradish I needed for pickling beets, and a load of peppers when my entire crop failed. I received all these bounties in exchange for my homemade jams, jellies and pickles. Continue reading