Next Saturday my greataunt will celebrate her 98th birthday, and so, earlier this week, I was looking for some nice cake recipes. After having mused over my own cookbooks, I went to my parents’ to sight my Mum’s recipe collection. And there, in her handwritten cookbook, I found the recipes for my grandmother’s famous “Streuselkuchen” and “Rehrücken.” Whenever my grandmother (my Dad’s mother) invited people for coffee, she would bake these cakes (as well as cheese cake and sometimes “Grindkopp” made of a yeasty dough covered with almonds). Finding these recipes gave me quite a pang because I realised how much I miss these afternoons at my grandmother’s.
It also made me realise that my memories of specific people or situations are often connected to food in some way.
For example, when I think of my other grandmother, I inevitably remember her salad: not only did she make the salad dressing with condensed milk and a little bit of sugar, but she also served the salad in these pretty, red-rimmed glass bowls. She got the set of bowls as a wedding present from the family of an American officer for whom she was working after the war. And now I have the remaining three bowls. And whenever I open my kitchen cupboard and spot them, I can’t help thinking of my grandmother and her salad.
Her best friend, whom I called “Tante Herr,” made the best goulash soup in the whole wide world. She and my granny would often have a late breakfast together. They would sit in my grandparents’ tiny, tiny kitchen, eating rolls, drinking sparkling wine and having the time of their lives.
When we lived in the Black Forest and my Mum would take me to Freiburg for a shopping expedition (which in itself was pretty awful, because I’ve always hated shopping expeditions unless they involve bookstores … *g*) (well, by now, shops that sell china or tableware are fine with me, too *ggg*) to Freiburg, we would always buy “Nußecken” (nut triangles?) at a bakery near the multistory car park. Sometimes I still dream of these wonderfully fluffy, nutty “Nußecken.” 🙂