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The story so far....

Cooking_Monster's picture

(post #57228, reply #1 of 12)

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As I guess many already know, I'm in the itinerant phase of my big move back to North America.

A little over a week ago I said goodbye to my belongings, wished them well on their trip through the Panama canal (I'm jealous, I'd like to travel through the Panama canal!) and left Berlin via the overnight train to Munich to spend some time with my future DH. Here I've been trying to soak up as much German culture as I can before I head on to my next stop (London).

Spargel (aka white asparagus) season is winding down, but the strawberries are still in full swing. They've become our nightly dessert - lightly sugared with a dollop of mascarpone on top. Quark would be a more authentic topping, but I don't like it.

I buy the strawberries at the Viktualenmarkt - the huge open air farmer's market in the center of town - where they also have excellent Metzgerei (meat and cold-cut) stands that serve hot roast pork sandwiches with crackling that are juicy, and crispy, and savoury and worth every second of standing in line for 20 minuted on a Saturday for. This is also where satisfy my craving for tender, thinly sliced, true black forest ham, one of the foods I'll miss the most. It's smoky and salty, and perfect on toast for breakfast or wrapped around a stalk of asparagus for dinner.

On the weekend we traveled up to the northern reaches of Bavaria (i.e. Frankonia) to have lunch with SO's parents and sister at a restaurant/butchers specializing in game. The venison stew was delicious, as was the peppery mixed game goulash, but the Wildsaurückensteak (literally: wild-femaleboar-back-steak) was by far the best. I'm not sure what part of the animal it was exactly, but the meat was tender and soft like a filet, yet more flavorful, and not shaped like a filet. It came smothered with pfefferlinge - local peppery mushrooms - and with a spoon of wild cranberry preserves on the side.

After lunch we went for a walk through the forest to a monastery and old sandstone church hidden in the valley. One of the monks caught me taking a photo of a sign leading to the giftshop and advertising "lots of great christian gift ideas" that I somehow found amusing. Luckily, the monk found it amusing too, because I was really embarrassed when he asked what I was up to. He was the first monk I'd ever met, and definitely looked the part, except, as he confided, he really wasn't supposed to wear shoes, but given the terrain around there the brothers had decided sandals would be OK.

The next day we drove south to visit SO's great aunt, who is a nun. She lives in a nursing home for nuns in the middle of a large convent in a little town with the most elaborately decorated roccoco church I've ever seen. Every surface was painted in gold or pastels, and much of it was elaborately molded plaster, the organ was surrounded with alabaster cherubs...you get the general idea.

Then we drove down past Neuchswanstein to wave at it, and swung back up towards Munich, passing the Zugspitze (tallest mountain in Germany) along the way, and stopping at Kloster Andechs (a monastery/brewery just south of town) for dinner and a glass of the world's best beer. It was a very religious weekend.

Otherwise I've been busy working, and shopping. I even purchased a pair of pink pants. Well, they're more magenta really, but close enough. They were on sale for about $12, and they fit perfectly. How could I pass them up?

I've also been trying to sample as many cakes as possible. Hopefully my new pants will still fit by the time I leave.

samchang_'s picture

(post #57228, reply #2 of 12)

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I wish you the best, CM. I think everybody who has had to leave a place where so many important things happened to them for another where brighter prospects lie can feel the bittersweet sentiments ringing through your post.

SandraM's picture

(post #57228, reply #3 of 12)

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Echoing Samchang's sentiments, but selfishly hoping your relocation means that we can actually meet some day. Your post is just one of the reasons why I think we need a special folder for memories, stories, and all the connecting threads that join us in this extraordinary extended family.

Pi's picture

(post #57228, reply #4 of 12)

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CM, I,too, wish you all the best.....At least now you'll be a little closer to Cleveland! Come visit again.....

Adele_'s picture

(post #57228, reply #5 of 12)

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CM- so glad you had the extra time to spend it sightseeing and eating all your favourite German foods.

Adele, proud owner of new pink capri pants. LOL

cam14's picture

(post #57228, reply #6 of 12)

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CM - happy to hear things are moving along, will be good to have you closer - hopefully we'll get to meet. Just think, soon you will have your mixer back. Keep us posted on your move and also your wedding arrangements.

Cooking_Monster's picture

(post #57228, reply #7 of 12)

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Thanks for the sentiments. I'm really looking forward to moving back to N.A., but anytime I move somewhere new there are always things I miss about the old place.

Tomorrow is SO's birthday. He wants a caramel cheesecake. I'm going to mostly wing it, but does anybody know if I add a caramel swirl whether or not it will stay swirled or melt into the batter when it bakes?

Other highlights of my stay in Munich so far include a swim in the Olympic pool on a grey, rainy day. The hall is cavernous, the pool was nearly empty, and I coud pretend I was swimming for team USA as I did my laps. Team Germany beat us by mile, but we didn't care, because it was just such a nice place to swim.

SO and I also took a trip to Dachau, where they've turned the concentration camp into a memorial/museum. That was a pretty intense experience. Dachau was the first concentration camp constructed, and walking around the museum and the reconstructed barracks gave me a sort of sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. As we got to the crematorium, I caught just a glimpse of the ovens through the door and I burst into tears. I felt kind of silly because all the other tourists seemed to be handling it just fine, but my feet were stuck in place. There was no way they were going to let me enter the building. And Dachau wasn't even one of the camps where people were brought to the gas chambers. The crematorium was to incinerate the bodies of those who had died of "natural" causes. We left, but my mind still wanders back there from time to time.

Chiffonade_'s picture

(post #57228, reply #8 of 12)

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i ...I've also been trying to sample as many cakes as possible. Hopefully my new pants will still fit by the time I leave.

Just think...you'll be indulging in all the sweets you want, and returning to the "Land Of A Zillion Diets." Pants will fit after one or more of these plans is applied ;).

Cleaver's picture

(post #57228, reply #9 of 12)

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Great posts, CM! I am anxiously awaiting your arrival.

Your friend,

Cleaver

Seema_Shastry's picture

(post #57228, reply #10 of 12)

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How did the cheesecake turnout? As always enjoy reading about the travels.

Cooking_Monster's picture

(post #57228, reply #11 of 12)

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The cheesecake turned out great. I was too tired to bother with the caramel swirl, so instead I made a regular mascarpone cheesecake, substituting brown sugar for the white. I served it with sliced strawberries and burnt caramel sauce, both of which added more acidity to balance the sweetness.

Cooking_Monster's picture

(post #57228, reply #12 of 12)

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London...
Most of my time in London was taken up with work activities. Actually, pretty much all of it was, until Sunday, when Ashley and his DW picked me up at my hotel for a lunch trip to the Fat Duck, a Michelin starred restaurant famous for its unusual food combinations. More of that in another thread.

They thoughtfully took me on a little detour to see Windsor Castle - as close as we could get to it, and provided me with a little goodie bag of British delicacies, including some positively addictive cheese crackers, which I've already nearly polished off, proper biscuits, and a hunk of excellent unpasturized cheddar, which thankfully the customs officers failed to notice when I arrived in NY.