Monthly Archives: September 2008

The beginning of the end for German cuisine…

One of the things I always liked about living in Germany is the near total absence of “convenience foods” in German supermarkets.

Instead of rows of ready-meals, the German supermarket tends to offer packets of pasta, bags of potatoes and a range of fresh produce with which the Hausfrau is supposed to feed her family.

Visiting friends and relatives in Britain became pure joy as other parents squirmed in embarrassment as their kids whined for tinned Thomas-the-Tank-Engine pasta shapes, while mine ate what was put in front of them (give or take a few exceptions like sprouts).

But last week I saw the start of the long slippery slope for German cuisine in our local supermarket. Readers… I give you exhibit A:

Packet Scrambled Egg?

Packet Scrambled Egg?

This, readers, is a packet of scrambled egg mix.

Now, I may not be the most accomplished chef on the planet, but I do know how to make scrambled egg. You break a couple of eggs into a bowl, add a splash of milk and a pinch of salt, mix it up and cook in a pan (or even easier – microwave for a minute or so). It’s got to be one of the easiest things on earth.

Packet scrambled egg involves opening the packet and cooking it in the same way as with the real egg.

As we all know, modern day packaging is designed so that you need first to buy a hammer, chisel, monkey wrench and chainsaw in order to actually get into it…

And once inside the package you find not just egg-extract, but reconstituted milk and a list the length of your arm of preservatives, colours and flavourings (well… I suppose they have to make it taste of egg somehow).

So I am struggling to work out how packet scrambled egg could possibly be considered more convenient than making real scrambled eggs… you know, using, like real eggs. And given the long list of additives… how it could be a superior product?

Not only that… a 3-egg portion costs more than a box of 10 eggs from the same supermarket.

Could anyone enlighten me as to who would buy this stuff?


Filed under food, Life in Germany

Time for a meme!

I’ve been tagged by Nikki Pilkington.

This is a sort of playground game for bloggers… you chase each other round the internet, and if you get tagged you get to play “truth or dare”. In this particular game I have to reveal 6 random things about myself… and then tag six more bloggers to do the same. By the laws of exponential calculus this means that in about a month the whole world will have revealed six facts each and none of us will actually be any wiser.

Anyway. Here are my six things:

1. I am the granddaughter of one of the first ever international footballers. Really. My Grandad was trialled by Preston Northend in about 1910 and offered a place as striker in the first team. But his father wouldn’t hear of it. So my Grandad ran away from home and joined the merchant navy. After a time he ended up in Germany and played football for F.C. Solingen between 1911 and 1914 (when he returned to England ahead of the outbreak of WW1).

2. I am married to a rock star. OK – you might not actually have heard of him. My husband sings and plays bass for a group called The Afflicted.

3. My workplace is a pig sty. I’m not just referring to a messy desk (though I have to plead guilty to that one!). No – my office is actually in a building which was formerly used as a pigsty. Obviously it now has smart wooden flooring, broadband internet etc. and no pigs. (I’m waving nicely at my colleagues while typing that….)

4. I once wrote an article in an academic journal on Dutch literature. It was about a medieval manuscript (currently in an archive in Amsterdam) telling the story of a young nun who fell in love and ran away from the monastry, became a prostitute, had seven children and then on returning to the monastery found the Virgin Mary had taken her place in her absence and nobody had notice she’d been gone. It’s a cracking story. Shame they didn’t have the Booker Prize in those days….

5. I once broke my thumb falling off a tandem. Yes.. I know, I know. Someone with my lack of physical co-ordination shouldn’t have been on a tandem in the first place… frankly I was lucky it wasn’t my neck that I broke. All I can say is, when flying at high speed through the air towards a gravelly road with a workman’s hole in it, extending your thumb and expecting to make a soft landing on that digit alone is not a realistic option. Trust me… I’ve been there….

6. Osama bin Laden missed me. I was due to be in a meeting in the World Trade Center on the day it was bombed (not 9/11, but the time a couple of years before when a car bomb went off in the basement). At the time I was working for a big German bank and was in New York, supposed to be seeing one of their clients on one of the top floors of the WTC. I was in a taxi on the way there, but there was gridlock traffic. (It turned out to be because the area had been cordoned off following the explosion). Attempts to phone ahead to the client and apologise for lateness failed – no-one was answering the phone (in fact they were on a looooong walk down the dark, smoke-filled staircase). I never did get to meet that client.

Okay, for those of you tagged, here (apparently) are the rules, as I was given:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Here are the following six people I tag:

1. Ian in Hamburg – because everything he writes about himself is fascinating… and leaves you wanting more

2. Blogging Mama – because she writes much more perceptive stuff about life in Germany than I do and knows lots of other great bloggers

3. ClickClackGorilla – because she finds ways to describe people and places that send shivers down your spine. And because she blogs about doing things the rest of us wouldn’t dream of getting ourselves into – let alone in a foreign country….

4. Big Apple to Big Bear – because she has the coolest masthead on the whole blogosphere (I like to think it’s inspired by the words Planet Germany – but I’m probably kidding myself)

5. Pasi in Finland – because he’s green. And because he does cool things like keep ants and build saunas in the woods.

6. Deutschland über Elvis – the coolest blog-title and the funniest photos on the web.

(Only if you want to – obviously)


Filed under Life in Germany

How to be top nation

Once again at the Olympics, Germany shows its complete superiority over other nations at the art of cheating swimming…

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Filed under comedy, German video

Death of a movie trailer voice artist

I was gutted this week to learn of the death of Don LaFontaine – the voice of over 5000 movie trailers.

This, I think, would be the fitting tribute….


Filed under comedy