Holy moly! We only have two days left in Berlin! I knew it would fly by, but I can’t believe it’s the end. We leave for London on Thursday morning and from there head back to Chicago on Saturday. This has been a great experience, but I’m also ready to be to home.
I’ve been slacking a bit on writing with packing and other things, but there are still a few things I want to share with you before we head out.
I want to tell you a little bit about my experience cooking here in Berlin. Over the last few years I have really started to enjoy cooking. Partially because I like to have control over my food, so I can make sure it’s healthy. In Chicago we eat at home most weeknights and we tried to do the same here with pretty good success. I usually search for recipes or go through some of my favorites and menu plan for the week, but it was a little more difficult here. There are certain things that I use at home a lot that are not as available or are more expensive here. For example, tacos. In general Mexican food is hard to come by around here. I don’t think I’ve seen any corn tortillas and definitely no taco seasoning. Avocados are also a little more expensive here and rarely ever ripe. They do not sell lean ground beef, which meant I wasn’t buying it. After I got a better handle on what products I could typically find I was able to plan out our meals a little better.
The other challenge for me was letting go of following recipes step by step. I like rules. I like measuring things. This was a problem here. I could pretty easily convert measurements to the metric system with a little help from Google, but I could not for the life of me find measuring cups or spoons. I went into a kitchen store and the clerk there showed me a large liquid measuring cup and said that was all I had. She also could not make any suggestions as to where I might be able to find measuring cups and spoons. I was very surprised by this. I realize that a lot of cooks don’t measure exactly, but in baking you have to and they bake like crazy here. It made no sense to me, so I Googled. Do you know why they don’t have measuring cups here? They weight everything with a kitchen scale. I learned that this is actually a more exact method and it made sense, but it didn’t make sense for me to buy a kitchen scale. I learned to make due with guesstimating and using regular spoons.
All in all I think everything turned out pretty well and I think I’ve learned to ease up a bet on the exact measuring, as least for cooking. I even made a chicken one night with no recipe at all! Pretty easy I know, but not something I would usually do. (Side Note: This is what happens when you grow up with a mom who reads all posted rules out loud. Love you Mom!) I have also learned that fresh ingredients really do make a difference. Asha has been really into getting whole chickens here and I have yet to buy one that doesn’t have remnants of feathers. They have clearly never been frozen. We all agree that the chicken we have had here tastes even better than home.
I have definitely not abandoned recipes completely and thought I’d share a few that I have made while here and really enjoyed. None of them are German. Sorry. We are over German food for a while. We need a break from schnitzel and wursts!
Roasted Garlic Tomato Lentil Salad (I served this with crumbled feta)
Spicy Thai Kohlrabi Salad (Kohlrabi is very easy to find here. If you can’t find it I think jicama would be a good substitute)
Damn Fine Chicken (I’ve used this with drumsticks, thighs, and a whole chicken)
I guess I should go pack some more. The clock’s tickin’!