Surprises this week in Germany:
- The baby got cuter. (Surprising, right? We didn’t think it was possible, either.) Brother George came in for a two-week visit, during which time he taught her to waggle her eyebrows. It’s amazingly cute. Also, she’s officially crawling as of this morning, and the combination of her expression of pleased surprise when she makes it across the mat to her toy + an eyebrow waggle when she sees you watching = freaking adorable.
- Tobias’ friend from the rowing team invited us over for brunch last week. Due to a scheduling miscommunication (is that what we call it when we read the email incorrectly?), we showed up half an hour early. They were totally prepared: table set, food ready, daughter playing quietly, and no sign of stress. In contrast, I routinely celebrate the first guest’s arrival with a cheerful, ‘Oh, great, you can help me chop vegetables/shell nuts/shake the salad dressing!’, and have been known, in the case of one habitually late guest, to head to the grocery at the appointed dinner hour. If a guest showed up 30 minutes early I wouldn’t hear the doorbell because I would be in the shower.
- It is full-on strawberry season here, to the point that the weirder berries are arriving at the market. This week’s winner: white strawberries that taste like pineapple!
- While celebrating Tobias’ mother’s birthday in Southern Germany at the kind of restaurant that features seared goose liver, blackberry salad dressing, micro greens, and a crystal bottle stopper so that your fizzy water doesn’t unfizz, we were treated to a piped-in over-loud cover of ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ as sung by none other than the great Dolly Parton. Turned out they played the entire album, which also featured Dolly singing ‘Crimson and Clover’. (Personal message to Tobias: I take it back. Germans ARE funny.)
- There is a German kind of molasses made from beet sugar. It is spread on toast for children’s breakfast, and also mixed with magnesium chloride for use as a de-icing agent. (Personal message to Wikipedia: You’re awesome!)
- Here is the dessert that we made for the get-to-know-you dinner when brother George’s new girlfriend came to Hamburg from Prague for the weekend. Individual pavlovas garnished with a sweet/sour/crunchy fresh flower that I wish I remember the name of:
(Personal message to anyone reading this who does not know George: my inability to remember the name of a flower is not the surprising thing about the dessert comment above.)