Yoghurt Voice

Me as the Happy Yoghurt Baby

Me as the Happy Yoghurt Baby

Yoghurt is a thing in my life. Has always been. I have loved yoghurt since I was a little girl in Heidelberg, asking my mom to buy hazelnut yoghurt from Ehrmann for me. I was so young it did not even weird me out that this yoghurt company’s claim was “Ehrmann – no one turns me on more”. (I hope they have abandoned that yoghortic slogan now.) At work, some of us usually go to the supermarket before lunch and I usually do not because I am either on the phone discussing seating plans for hours and/or have food with me. But I almost always want a yoghurt. People are very helpful and get me a yoghurt (even though only my direct co-worker is a real Helenic Yoghurt Connoisseur who gets me when I say, “Anything but cherry”.) The thing is they do not want to be reimbursed because yoghurt only costs some cents. For some reason – not on purpose – I have managed to always ask a different person so now I have eaten at least 5 free yoghurts. I have brought up the idea of creating a yoghurt account to which I contribute money.

When I read up the weird names of conference rooms to my co-worker (“peach”, “date”, “pear”), she said I had a voice that could totally be in a yoghurt commercial. I would be the perfect person to talk while the fresh fruits were graciously falling into the white yoghurt. “Other people are hand models and you’re the voice woman”, she said. I think that was a compliment. And, I mean, at least I can identify with yoghurt buyers, right?

Spice up your life

029

Whenever I cook for Ingrid and we sit down at the Blue Table and I expectantly look into her face as she takes the first bit, she always says, “Hm, it’s nice but as usual it is completely under-spiced”. Then she goes to retrieve all those different spices I have in my kitchen cabinet. My relationship with spices is Ingrid’s most common criticism about me. Now that she has abandoned me for a month I decided it was a good time to educate myself on spices.

Hamburg actually has a Spice Museum and maybe the randomness of that made me wanted to go there. Our new friend, the professional cook, accompanied me. Spicy’s Spice Museum (the name sounds a little less ridiculous in German) is located in the old storage city because obviously that is where spices were traded. You walk up one of those old buildings and pass oriental carpet shops and opposite the museum is a store that sells all kinds of exotic spices.

023

As a historian, I was most interested to understand when spices came to Germany. I still wonder what food must have tasted like before salt, pepper and thyme. (Even though Ingrid would probably say my food tastes historically pre-spice.) It took quite some reading – the museum still uses very conventional display techniques – but I learned that Hamburg started trading spices in 1794 and is today one of the four biggest trade ports for spices. Germans actually did have peppar before the French Revolution, too, with the South Germans trading spice in the 1600s already. I do hope they sent some up here, too.

"Esteemed housewife!", this instruction starts.

“Esteemed housewife!”, this instruction starts.

My companion and I thought about what our favorite spice is and I decided mine is saffron. Because that is in Persian rice and in Swedish buns. And because it is a luxury. Saffron has always been so expensive that in the middle ages, traders sold fake saffron to Germans. Apparently things got so bad that the town of Nuremburg appointed saffron viewers to prevent spice fraud.

041

I also learned that the pharao Ramses was buried with peppercorns in his nose which is perfectly visible on his x-rays and that pepper was extremely valueable even until well into the 1900s. Rich spice traders were therefore called “Pfeffersäcke” (pepper bags). And if you have a tooth ache and only have cloves in your house instead of Ibuprofen, you can put a clove into your cheeck pouch. It will make your tooth go numb and relieve your pain. If your breath smells bad, you need to chew on cardamom. I still wonder what it means that cardamom buns are so popular in Sweden.

Speaking about that,I learned that the Swedish word for cinnamon, kanel, refers to a special kind of cinnamon that even the Dutch and German call Canehl. As a spice-ignorant person I might also have been the last to understand that cinnamon is made from trees. Now I know!

043

Grand Dinner Party at the Blue Table Edition 1

014

Today I had my first Grand Dinner at the Blue Table. I’ve had dinners before, of course, but this time I invited a lot of people and those brought friends and in the end, there was a real crowd at the table. When Anne, a friend I met at our common friend Anne’s (yeah, same name) wedding, came in, she said, “How on earth did you manage to find so many Swedes in Hamburg?” Because yes, there was a Swedish numeric superiority, so I still have to work on that balance.

Calm before the storm: lots of inside lights now that the dark seasons approaches

Calm before the storm: lots of inside lights now that the dark seasons approaches

One girl who is doing an exchange in Hamburg, Helena, is friends with the Swedish aupairs and knew me from when we met at the Uppsala language cafe two years earlier. (When Evelina first told me, “I met a girl and she knows you!”, my immediate reaction was, “But I am new here, no one knows me”. But the long arm of Uppsala reaches me even here. Or should I say the warm embrace?)

I finally made enough friends to have a grand dinner ;-)

I finally made enough friends to have a grand dinner 😉

Amazingly enough, she remembered everything about me – I was really impressed! When Annika came in later and sat down next to her, her hair being considerably darker than usual because for her formation dancing she had to blacken it with shoe polish, it took a while until Helena and Annika realized that Annika is Helena’s university teacher. We also learned that my friends Chiko and Lisa, who did not know each other at all before, work in the same house and know the same people. The world is small and so is Hamburg!

007

Nadia commented on my home: “You have a balcony AND a bath tub. You are truly living every Swede’s dream”.

In accordance with Swedish tradition (and because it is easy to make), we had tacos. I made my typical dessert, Scottish Delight, a recipe I got from my mom. It is the easiest dessert on earth and still gets everyone to ask for second and third refills. Since I know bloggers post recipes and stuff, I decided to share this brilliant recipe with you. Please call me a food blogger now.

Scottish Delight (for four people)

1 tin of peaches

500 g strawberries, can be frozen

2 cans of cream (approx 500 ml)

500 g yoghurt

vanilla sugar

brown sugar

Chop up peaches and put them in a pan, like a glass casserole dish.

Whisk the cream stiff, sweeten with vanilla sugar and carefully mix it with the yoghurt, pour the cream-yoghurt over the fruit. Sprinkle brown sugar all over and put in the fridge overnight. The brown sugar builds a layer that looks like caramelized and delights the guests.

You can of course use other berries/fruit as well but this is my recommended combination.