We were huddled under the awning on a rainy summer’s evening at Shaniu's House of Noodles (which, in my mind, is the glorious House of Dumplings). Ash was writing down the Cantonese name for the off-menu beef and Szechuan pepper dish she had ordered for us (and which we had devoured in a thrice); Giulia was telling me about the readable, well-researched book she had just published on moving to Berlin. One regret, she mentioned, was not having enough space to write about finding American ingredients in Berlin. “You should write a guest post!” I said, and lovely Giulia, she did.
Demerera sugar. Cane sugar. Sugar in the Raw. It’s the bane of my existence as an American! What the Germans call brauner Zucker is nothing like the sweet, wet, clumpy masses I grew up with. No, my brown sugar had to be carved out of a block with a large spoon (or a chisel if you didn’t have a microwave and piece of apple handy to soften it up). It had to be pushed down into a measuring cup with the spoon, a sandy-sweet lick its own reward....
A rainy Tuesday seems the time to reflect on a radiant autumn. This tiny girl has now started school.
Lately, every sunset in Berlin has been remarkable: after the show's over and I've drawn the curtains, I bask in the glow of sunsets from other Berlin neighborhoods in my Instagram feed.
The other day we baked a cake and celebrated a friend's birthday on Peacock Island. It's perfect in the autumn, for conker-collecting and more. The wind off the Wannsee was so strong the candle went out twice before we got it to burn long enough to sing a fast round of 'happy birthday'. The birthday girl wasn't halfway through when an avid peacock darted over and - yes! - seized her chocolate cake in his beak. A minute later, only crumbs were left.
On Sunday, we spent an idle afternoon at Cafe Botanico, about which more soon. For now, this crate of black walnut drupes and a head of mottled hydrangeas to mark the mid-point of the Cold Dew term.