Tag Archives: food

Nonna mia


Meeting new people can be exciting, especially when they’re from a different cultural background. When I first met my boyfriend Silvio’s family in Italy I had a few problems with their habits.

Getting nervous

It was summer and we were hitting the road along the Adriatic in my mum’s car. I’d known my boyfriend for a while, but it had taken some time until I got to meet his family. We’d planned to stay at his grandma’s house. All I knew about her at this point was that her name is Lola. After an eleven-hour ride on adventurous Italian roads, we finally arrived at her apartment in a small town located on the east coast of Italy called Chieti. It was late at night and the whole place seemed to be asleep. Suddenly the lights in the dark house came on and a small old woman stepped outside. I was nervous and my stomach was aching: what would she think of me? Would we get along? I didn’t know any Italian, except for ciao or grazie and didn’t know what to say or how to act towards her.

Suffering from Italian hospitality

I was pretty excited. But as soon as we approached her, all my worries were gone. She hugged and kissed us and took us into her apartment, where she’d prepared a lot of food. And when I say a lot, I mean piles of all the dishes you can find on an Italian restaurant’s menu: there were pots and pans full of pasta, vegetables like aubergines, courgettes or artichokes and: meat. Normally I don’t eat meat and I’d simply say that I prefer to eat side dishes only and everything’s fine. In this case, I had to rely on my boyfriend to translate everything for me. But he was no help: he couldn’t convince his grandma that I was fine without meat. She just started heaping our plates with food like pancetta (roast pork) or salsiccia arrosto (fried sausage) and when we’d almost finished our plates, she’d add more and more. She wouldn’t let us go to sleep until all the food was finished. As I didn’t want to offend nonna, I decided to have some meat and put the rest onto my boyfriend’s plate secretly. Problem solved. When we finally went to bed, though, my stomach was aching – not from being nervous about meeting grandma but from being stuffed with meat and tagliatelle.

No Italian? No problem!

But the next day we – nonna and I – were finally able to get to know each other. I was very shy at first and I thought I wouldn’t understand a word. But as I know a little Spanish, I could guess what she was talking about and with the help of online dictionaries we were able to have a little chat. My boyfriend’s grandma used to live in Germany for some years, so we had some things to talk about. But unfortunately, she can’t actually speak German any more. Nevertheless, we had a great time talking about German and Italian traditions and – obviously – food.

In the evening, the rest of the family came around, and I thought I could at least speak English with the Italian cousins. But they didn’t understand a single word, so Italian was the only option. And even though I couldn’t really take part in the conversation, they never made me feel left out, and I had a really good time.

Was it really that bad?

No, of course not! During our stay I met a wonderful heartwarming family, who welcomed me with open arms (and lots of kisses). I really fell in love with the whole family. They showed me that you don’t need to talk much to get along, they taught me a little Italian and gave me an insight to their culture and way of life.

And even though I probably won’t ever get used to their eating habits, I’m already looking forward to seeing them again next summer!

 

Text & Pictures: Ramona Meisner

Turkish food made easy

Have you ever eaten Turkish food and wondered how you can make those dishes with little effort and no time? You have? Well, worry less and read on, because I’m here to tell you how to prepare the most common Turkish-inspired dish with easy-to-find ingredients for, namely, börek. The main ingredients are feta cheese, dry parsley, puff pastry, eggs and sesame seeds, and that’s about it!

As you can see, I haven’t given you any information about how much you need of each ingredient. That’s because my mother used to say “watch and learn – I don’t do measurements! You need to learn that for yourself!” Harsh, right? But it actually helps, because once you figure out just the right amount or what you like best after some maybe disastrous first attempts, it’ll taste just perfect!

Let the cooking adventures begin!

Now, let’s start! This most classic Turkish dish, which is basically a type of dumpling, comes in all kinds of variations. Normally, you need to get up early in the morning to prepare the dough and leave it to rise for several hours until it’s ready to use. But we’re lazy students with no time and energy to do that, so we’re just going to take simple puff pastry, also known as Blätterteig.

Secondly, take your cheese and knead it in your palms to make it all mushy and mix it in with some dry parsley. This mixture is probably the most common one to fill your dumplings with, but you can also take mashed potatoes, minced and seasoned meat or even spinach, but that would take far too long to prepare and no student has time for that!

It’s coming together…

Now it’s time to cut your puff pastry into square shapes. Then, you take your cheese and parsley mixture and put about one spoonful on each square. Fold the square in half, covering the cheese and squeeze the edges together, so that it looks like a small cheese-filled dough bag. Now, maybe heat up your oven to about 200°, or maybe don’t, to each his own. I don’t think that’s necessary unless you’re baking cookies or something. Anyway, now you beat some eggs, put sesame seeds in it and mix it all together. This is what you coat your dumplings with, so that they don’t end up too dry on the top. And that’s about it! Just shove your tray in the oven and bake everything for a good 10 to 20 minutes, and keep on checking on them. As soon as they turn golden brown, they’re done! It takes absolutely no time to prepare once you get the hang of it, and it’s a nice alternative to eating noodles with pesto every day!

Bon appétit and good luck! Just don’t burn your kitchen down, maybe…

Text & Pictures: Filiz Özer

Russian food will make you go mmmmm…

Russian food doesn’t exactly top the popularity charts in Germany, which is a shame, really, because this huge country has a lot more to offer besides vodka and caviar.

Russian cuisine

Russian food is thought to be crazy, very varied and rich in calories. But is that true? It certainly is. Russians love food and are not afraid of trying new crazy things, which gives you more reason to discover Russian culture on your own while you’re traveling. You may have heard something about Russian traditional foods like ‘borsch’ but have had little opportunity to try them. People who visit Russia are often surprised at the flavors of Russian cuisine. They will make you search for the recipes when you return home!

Typical dinner food

russianfood

For Russian people dinner tends to be a big, social thing for the whole family. Indeed, it may be the only time of the day that the entire family gathers together and so people wait for everyone in the household to get home before eating. A traditional meal in Russia is made up of three dishes. The first is a meat soup with vegetables and grains, called ‘solyanka’ or ‘schi’; second is fish or meat with a garnish like rice, potatoes, pasta, buckwheat or stewed cabbage, and the third is a beverage like compot, ‘kissel’ or juice. Sometimes, instead of a meat dish, a heavy red-colored soup like “borsch” is eaten. This kind of soup is usually served with sour cream and is made with beetroot. Another option for the meat course is ‘pelmeni’ or ‘wareniki’ – something like dumplings made of ground beef or mashed potato inside a dough parcel. Bread is a staple and for example my grandma will not sit down at the dinner table if a pile of sliced bread isn’t present. Tea, mostly black tea, is served for dessert and vodka usually accompanies the meal.

Three foods every Russian grew up with

  1. Blini” with caviar and sour cream:

My mom ate a lot of things like frogs’ legs, snails or innards that horrified me as a child, but I took to caviar right away. “Blini” are thin, crepe-like pancakes made out of unleavened dough usually topped with savory toppings such as caviar and sour cream. Yum!

  1. Herring in a fur coat (“Pod schuboj”):

Imagine a cake layered with salted herring, cooked vegetables, potatoes, pickles and a coat of grated beets and mayo. It sounds gross but it looks like a little pink masterpiece and tastes fantastic!

  1. Olivye salad:

It’ll probably freak non-Russians out a little, but really, it’s just potato salad with veggies like carrots and peas, mayo, and bologna. Looks foul – tastes incredible.

Give it a try!

Author & Picture: Nicole Valuev

Review Trend & Food and Street Food Festival 2016

Augsburg really seems to be becoming a food city. In 2016, the city had three food events. Trend & Food Augsburg, which took place at the Kongress am Park between April 15 and 17, was the first. It really had a lot to offer: bars, food trucks, candy, hors d’oeuvre, vegan 20160416_133415options and much more. And even though the Kongresshalle isn’t that big, there were a lot of different booths and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves. Whiskey, liquor and moonshine tasting were some of the fun booze-related activities you could indulge in. How about some tiny but delicious cupcakes? Sure! At some – if not most – of the booths, you could use the vouchers you got for paying to get in. This way you basically got all your money back and theoretically the entrance was free (with the early bird ticket at least).

Trend & Food was pretty small, but the bigger event was the Street Food Markt, which took place in May andCIMG8428.JPG between September 23 and 25, 2016 at the Gögginger Festplatz. Compared to 2015, there were almost twice as many booths and almost no waiting time at all. Everybody seemed to be crazy about those potato spiral thingies – they were delicious, but we couldn’t figure out if there were bread crumbs on them or not. The smoothie booth was a nice touch. I actually ordered the first Green Bull of the day. The pies, a ton of different versions of hot dogs, BBQ, pizza, Israeli and vegan booths also gave visitors an opportunity to try something new. One of my favorites was definitely the donuts: they looked, smelled and tasted like heaven! And if you were there early, you could easily get a very nice spot on a deckchair and enjoy the sun while nibbling on something yummy and drinking a cocktail, beer, smoothie or just plain water.

So… you might like to consider going to one of those festivals. It’s definitely worth it!CIMG8420.JPG

Author & Pictures: Susi Tallmadge

New year, new me

You might think it’s a bit late for a New Year article, but is it really? It’s only one month into 2017 and I don’t know about you, but I’ve already ignored half of my New Year’s resolutions at least once. If experience in the past few years is anything to go by, though, I’ll have to wait until next year to give it a go again. But there’s a way to break the trend and still achieve your goals. Yes, even today!

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Less chocolate, more sports

Judging from the commercials and articles I see around this time of the year, the top resolutions are: being healthier (including doing more sports, losing weight and downing smoothies for breakfast), as well as classics like quitting smoking. Being more organized is also a favorite, at least for me anyway. I don’t know how you feel, but the Christmas holidays, including New Year’s Eve, are (also) exceptional compared to other times of the year. So this might be the worst time to start working on goals that you want to continue to work on when you’re back in your normal routine. But that doesn’t mean
that you shouldn’t have them.

Start next Monday 

Know the feeling when it’s 3:11 p.m. and you have to study, but you just can’t because 3:11 isn’t the right time? You have to wait until 4 p.m.! I think most of us struggle with our resolutions in a similar way. But here’s the good news: you don’t have to wait a whole year to achieve your goals. There are so many new beginnings: start in the next hour, next Monday, next month – whenever you feel like it!

Small steps 

Needless to say, goals require a plan, and plans require to-do lists (written on pretty paper because that makes you more organized, of course). Instead of writing “Be a perfect student from next week on“, you might prefer “set aside fifteen minutes a day to keep track of assignments“. This not only sounds more doable and motivating, but actually ticking off things on your list will give you a good feeling.

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Help! 

Still thinking this won’t work for you? It’s time to look for someone you can tell what you’re about to do. Whenever I tell someone about my plans, I get motivated on the spot. The next time you see this person, you’ll obviously want to tell him or her about what you’ve done since you last saw each other. And answering “Hmm…nothing“ doesn’t feel too good, does it? Let’s try to achieve our goals together (in 2017, not 2018)!

Author & Pictures: Laura Annecca

What a feast!

Everyone celebrating Christmas knows the struggle. You do one thing on the days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve: eating. No matter if it’s traditional stuff like roast, gravy and dumplings or more fancy dinners; it’s all about food.

scaleLittle helpers

Magazines, fitness tutorials and gyms seem to know exactly how everyone should lose the few extra kilograms after the Christmas holidays. But looking at those advertisements and instructions, it seems more like a torture. So, I thought of some fun ways to get your flat belly back without any kind of dieting or forcing yourself to a fitness marathon.

Sledging and aqua fit

Unfortunately, the most important thing for my first idea was missing until the beginning of January. I can hardly remember a white Christmas. In the last few years, there wasn’t even a single snowflake during the Christmas holidays and without snow there is no chance to go sledging. We’re lucky, because we’ve got some snow now, so you could go out, get your old sledge out of the cellar or the attic, run up the next hill or mountain and enjoy coming down. It’s as much fun for adults as for children and walking back up will shed the extra pounds you gained from too many biscuits.

You may have seen following sport once in an indoor swimming pool, but I guess you were too ashamed to participate. Personally, I had also been embarrassed to do aqua sports for years until a friend of mine – under the age of 30 – dragged me along to a lesson in my local swimming pool. Surprisingly, it was a lot of fun and it turned out to be very effective: I woke up the next day with sore muscles. The coach chose cool music and the movements got more and more difficult. So, next time you’re in a public swimming pool and they offer aqua courses, give it a try – you won’t regret it.

sled

Icy conditions

I discovered this new way of losing weight after Boxing Day. My nephews and I were stuffed with delicious food cooked by my mother and we were longing for fresh air and a bit of exercise. We took our table tennis bats and went out to the public table for a game. It had been rainy and chilly the whole day and the table was icy in some places, but we didn’t mind and started our first round. Whenever the ball hit the icy spots it glided uncontrollably in an unexpected direction. This made our match more fun. Don’t be afraid of an icy ping-pong table – if the ground is solid you’ll have an arduous game.

You can discover many more funny ways of losing weight. This was just my small contribution and if you’re too lazy to start right away, there’s plenty of time left to lose the extra kilograms by the summer holidays.

Author & Pictures: Marlene Hupfer

Happy Thanksgiving!

The origin of Thanksgiving

In the year 1620, a group of 102 men, women and children also known as the Pilgrims, wanted to find religious freedom and they sailed on the Mayflower to a shore in America called Plymouth, Massachusetts. They arrived in America on December 11, 1620. The first winter was very harsh and 55 of the 102 Pilgrims died of hunger or sickness. Thankfully, in the following year some friendly Indians called Wampanoag helped them by teaching them how to grow corn, how to harvest berries, and where and how to hunt and fish. Because of this the next harvest was good and the Pilgrims had enough food to store for the next winter. In October, 1621 they celebrated the first Thanksgiving to thank God for helping them. In 1863, US President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving Day to be a national holiday. He proclaimed the last Thursday of November an official day of celebration.

Why Thanksgiving Day is my favorite Holiday

hamThe spirit of Thanksgiving has endured throughout the years and has made it one of the most important holidays in the USA.

Born to an American mom and a German dad, my life has been shaped a lot around American holidays and traditions and my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. To me it’s special time of the year with memorable moments, as different things are shared on this special day: preparations, typical smells of homemade dinner rolls and sweet pies spiced with cinnamon and cloves. I love the warm comfortable atmosphere, good conversations, family quality time and friends coming to visit and not to forget all the delicious food like roast turkey, baked ham, cranberries and sweet potatoes.

What did the chicken say on Thanksgiving Day?
What did the chicken say on Thanksgiving Day?
The chicken said: “hey!”,
I’m glad I’m not a turkey
I’m glad I’m not a turkey on “Thanksgiving Day“

Same procedure as every year

The turkey and ham are ordered a week before. Even though Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the last Thursday in November, my family celebrates Thanksgiving on a Saturday. It would not be possible during the week here in Germany. We prepare pumpkin and pecan pies the day before. The first thing to be done on Saturday is to pick up the turkey at the local poultry farmer, as it’s too big to fit in the fridge! The bird weighs 8-9 kg, as we’re always a big group getting together in the evening. The bird is prepared and stuffed with old-fashioned bread stuffing and put into the oven. One hour for each kilogram – makes nine in total. Only then can we begin with the cranberry sauce, glazed ham, mashed potatoes, rolls, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and the vegetable sticks.

What did the rabbit say on Thanksgiving Day?
What did the rabbit say on Thanksgiving Day?
The rabbit said: “hey!”,
I ‘m glad I’m not a turkey
I ‘m glad I’m not a turkey on “Thanksgiving Day“

Getting ready for the feast

TurkeySlowly but surely the house fills; family first, to help with cleaning up and laying the table and then the friends arrive around five o’clock. Everybody mingles. The whole house smells amazing. We’re all starving since we haven’t eaten much during the day in order to have enough space in our stomachs for the feast. Finally we gather around the beautifully laid-out dinner table and say grace.

The tension increases when the star of the evening is taken out of the oven. How did it turn out? Is the meat juicy, tender and the skin crisp? This delicious smell of cooked turkey adds to the other aromas in the air: scents of stuffing with celery and sage, toasted marshmallows and candied sweet potatoes, roasted sizzling ham and red wine.  My brother-in-law cuts the turkey. When everybody has filled their plates we finally start.

Yummy!

What did the turkey say on Thanksgiving Day?
What did the turkey say on Thanksgiving Day?
The turkey said „hey!”,
It’s tough to be a turkey
It’s tough to be a turkey on “Thanksgiving Day.” (Carolyn Graham, Holiday Jazz Chants)

Time for dessert

cakeHaving eaten far too much, we start emptying the table, put the leftovers in containers to go, and pick off the last pieces of the turkey meat for turkey sandwiches the next day. Before we get ready for the sweet finale, we retell the story of the first Thanksgiving or we take a moment and write down what we are thankful for. Then it is time to enjoy the pies.

Author & Pictures: Elisabeth Stützel