This past weekend provided both great weather and great observational opportunities.
Saturday saw yours truly ride the s-bahn out to a German Flohmarkt (flea market). Much like the American equivalent, you’ll see plenty of haggling, fake antiques and rather unsavory characters hawking questionable merchandise. However, compared to some of the swap meet/flea markets I’ve been to in California, there was much more a “garage sale” feel. Many of the stalls were simply operated by a regular Joe er… Hans, who attempted to charge far too much for his collection of novelty beer glasses. I did decide on one item at the market. A piece of faux coral which is now the keeper of my necklaces.
I endeavored to make pumpkin whoopie pies. These consist of two chocolatey cookie/cake halves brought together by the sweet seduction of pumpkin cream cheese frosting. Despite the fact that I had no mixer/emulsion blender and had to mix, smoosh and cream by hand, the most difficult part of the baking process was simply acquiring the ingredients. The baking section in your local German grocery store is quite extensive. A myriad of powders, mixes, flours, flavored sugars, sprinkles and other doo-dads invites you to make all manner of treats. However, initially you will be puzzled by the flour situation. German flours are not sorted by name as in “all-purpose” “cake” and “self-raising”. Instead, they are sorted by ash content and listed as a number like, “405”. After consulting some expat boards, I figured out the number I needed and gathered the rest of my ingredients. I had to do without brown sugar and pureed pumpkin as I’ve yet to find either in a grocery store. Also, I’m not certain that measuring spoons are used in Germany as I have seen no sign of them. Though delicious, making these little pies took a great deal of energy.
After my baking extravaganza, I was rewarded with beautiful weather and a rare day-off with PC. We began with a leisurely Sunday brunch (the Germans do use the word “brunch” instead of something like “Frühstagessen”). One of the favorite jokes of PC’s teammates is the Tracy Jordan quote, “I don’t get why people like brunch. What’s the benefit of combining break dancing and lunch?”. 30Rock lovers where you at? Anyways…Brunch was followed by a trip to Schloss Nymphenburg. Thankfully, the castle is one of the only things actually open on a Sunday in Germany. I’m sorry but I can’t get with the whole ‘everything’s closed on Sunday’s thing. I want to shop, and go to the grocery store and do what I want. I just don’t like it okay. The palace grounds were packed with couples, little kids, dogs, elderly companions and joggers enjoying the sunshine.
After the castle, we stopped for a coffee at a Starbucks-esque establishment. Now, at these sorts of cafes, the etiquette I’m used to is as follows: order at the cash register then take a seat or wait a respectable distance back from the pick up counter until the barista calls out your name/drink order. Not so here. We observed as person after person made their order then stood and leaned over the pick up counter until their drink was finished. I can’t help but feel that it’s rude. Just sit yourself down a sec and let the barista make the damn drinks. I don’t think hovering is going to make your frappucino appear that much faster. Additionally, I don’t want to be forced to squeeze through a wall of four of you to retrieve my coffee when yours won’t be up for another five minutes. relax and enjoy the comfortable seating.