Sunday, August 16, 2009

Kochen für die Internationalabens

[ Cooking for International Night ]

The school week has been going very well, and we have been moving quite fast with our German, and for those of us that are really trying to utilize what we are learning at school outside in the city, we can get around now with pretty basic conversations. We also were informed this week that every month the CDC has an international night, Internationalabens, where students prepare cultural performances and stations about their home countries. Since the students at the CDC are so transient, there is and international night every month for the new students that arrive, and so this month we are one of the new groups.

We had some debating over the best way to represent ourselves and our country, and the hardest part was finding a cohesive thing that represented all of us since we are really so diverse and from many parts of the country, especially with food. We all came to the concept of breakfast, because of all the meals, the one that is the most different from Germany is the American version of breakfast, usually very sweet [ and something I already miss ].

We all agreed that breakfast was different, but then we began shouting what constituted as American breakfasts :

Eggs!
Bacon!

French Toast!

Grits!
["That's only in the South!"]

oooh Grits with cheese
["What?"],

Biscuits
[ "no pancakes!" ],

maple syrup!
[ no one eats that, it is too expensive in our part of the country],


Fried Fish

.
.
.

[ "What the?! ...." ].

The fried fish pretty much closed that argument. One of the girls from the south brought that one up. Using this idea of breakfast as an example - yes, there are many American things that are different from Germany, but then that same thing in America is so different depending on the region of our pan continental nation that it is really hard to define it. And the debates in something as seemingly simple as breakfast represents the same difficulties with so many other, and more complex, issues and examples of American culture.

After debating on several topics, we all were going to do individual powerpoints on our states, and as a dish to serve we decided on dessert: what is more American than Apple Pie? We modified the recipe to an Apple Crisp, and we were on our way to a unified presentation.



After school on Friday I joined my fellow classmates Kelly, from Kansas, and Zep, from South Carolina, to buy ingredients and cook the desserts. Both of them study culinary arts and are here in Germany on their scholarships to intern at some very high end restaurants [ and Zep actually studies Brewery and Beer, so he is in a good country for that! and Kelly has actually represented the US in a world student chef competition]. They definitely had the cooking thing down, but I am fascinated from learning from them, and joined them in winging our American pastry production.



The afternoon was very fun. We purchased the ingredients, got some fruit, wine and cheese to have while we cooked, and it turned out to be a really fun social hour as we mass made our desserts complete with apple peeling, crumb crumbling, and cinnamon spicing. We finished just in time to head back to the school for the event, and we hoped that everyone would like it.

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