One of the things that I love about Hamburg is that the central shopping district is, well, central. The big department stores, high-end fashion boutiques, and sporting goods stores make up the main drag, and there are zillions of little specialty shops filtered in and around them. The whole mess is steps from the main train station, and the serious historical government buildings are right there, too. This means that I don’t have to go to strip-mall suburbia to find running shoes, and it also means that the German and I can shop, if not together, in fairly close proximity. Let’s play…
Impulse Buy
In the following list of items purchased by the Eifert/Rosenbaum household today, try to decide which items were purchased by the author, and which by the German.
• Calfskin boat shoes as a birthday present for a parent
• Smoked Chinese-style ham (I hope, even though it was labeled ‘Vietnamese pork roll’)
• 1.5 kilos of beautifully fresh young ginger
• A really slick-looking pair of dark blue loafers with white soles
• Dumpling wrappers

If you guessed that I forwent fancy shoe shopping to go to the Asian grocery, you’re right! I love the workout that my German/English/Spanish/American Sign Language skills get in the Chinese/Korean/Japanese/Vietnamese/Taiwanese store, and after buying one maternity shirt and one pair of maternity jeans yesterday, I’m done with clothes shopping basically forever (I can just wear a poncho when my one outfit is in the wash, right?)

If you’re thinking that our comparative shopping preferences are a window into the transitory nature of my ‘home’ making, with my preference for goods that are literally consumable, versus the German’s long-term committment to life in the Fatherland evidenced by his choice for more durable goods, let me remind you that I, too, own blue shoes. So there.

Now I’m off to find some super-fresh milk for tomorrow’s ricotta project, along with chicken backs, shrimp, and ground pork for soup dumplings. All that says about me is that I’m hungry, and that I like to cook. I also seem to remember that the recipe for soup dumplings makes a quantity that will last almost as long as a pair of shoes.

epilogue: just got back from the grocery, and got chicken wings, legs, and a whole fryer instead of the chicken backs, and a combination of fresh side and pork neck instead of the ground pork. Don’t get me started on what I’ll be substituting for the ricotta’s cheesecloth. My redemption at the grocery came when a nice woman asked me, in German, the difference between hefe and backpulver. I smoothly replied that backpulver is backpulver, and hefe takes time and with beer. Then we switched to Spanish and, relieved, I launched into a lengthy explanation about the hefe eating sugar and burping out bread bubbles. She thanked me and chose the “white powder to make it bigger fast.” After being thwarted in the meat section, it was really nice to be able to straighten out that confusion in the baking aisle.

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