And so my darlings, I realize since the holidays just passed, it is a little odd to post everything I made now, but better late than never, right? This year Chanukah ended on the 24th of December (quite late) and since Christmas was the very next day, we had a nice Chanukah meal on the 24th, and went to my fiancé’s mother’s house for Christmas the next day. For Christmas, my fiancé’s sister made calzones, which were fun and tasty, and his mother made this awesome salad out of endives. I have to get the recipe. Germans make the most amazing salad dressings by the way. I don’t know why, but dressing always tastes better when my fiancé makes it.
I am going to post the recipes individually, and also link them in this post, for your convenience. Isn’t that nice? Also, Mr. S (I guess I should call my fiancé that from now on because I am getting tired of typing fiancé all the time) taught me how to link stuff, so I need the practice.
Jewish holidays are really difficult in Germany. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, there is not a huge Jewish population in this country. More than one German friend has proudly proclaimed that the large cities (including Frankfurt) have high Jewish populations. This, I suppose, is relative to what one considers large. Nashville has more Jews than Frankfurt, if that gives you any idea. What this amounts to, is that during the holidays it is almost impossible to buy kosher foods, the one little Jewish markt sadly closed down last year because they couldn’t get enough business, and the next closest one in Offenbach is run by super old people who always close well before the holidays and they don’t have much anyhow, so unless you plan waaaaay in advance, which I never do on principle, you’re screwed.
Luckily for me, I am not religious, so I am ok making my Chanukah meal sans kosher products, although I would prefer not to. Buying grape juice at Rewe won’t kill me. The only Jewish foods you can find here are matzos, but they are not kosher. You won’t find matzo meal, for instance, or kosher noodles, or anything kosher at all, and bagels are extremely rare and precious items (and they usually taste like stale bread). I am not sure what religious Jews do here, but I am guessing they order online from France or something. I am sure Berlin, having the highest Jewish population, has at least one Jewish markt if not several.
Anyway, a little side story, two years ago, when I first started talking to Mr. S on a dating website, it happened to be Chanukah and I was complaining (as is my wont) about this very same issue. For our first date, Mr. S surprised me by taking me to the only bagel store in Frankfurt. Bagel Brothers actually has really great bagels- the best in town- and I was over the moon! Isn’t he thoughtful? What a wonderful, welcoming gesture. I was so comforted by this date, and each year, we try to go and get bagels on our anniversary. If you live in Frankfurt, please visit the Bagel Brothers! Maybe if enough people go, they will open franchises.
Now this warmth and kindness runs in Mr. S’s family. As stated above, it is hard to find Jewish stuff in Germany. Last year, after running around the city desperately searching for a menorah, and finding that the ones online cost too much, he made me a menorah out of fimo. It was totally cute (he is an artist, in fact he designed the logo for this blog) and we were very happy with it. Fast forward to a few months ago- we were at an antique mall with Mr. S’s mother and sister. I wandered off for a few minutes, and when I reunited with the group, they had bought me a gorgeous antique brass menorah! Isn’t that amazing? I was absolutely stunned and overwhelmed.
If you are a Jew who has recently moved to Germany, try not to panic and give the Germans a chance. I know they can seem cold and intimidating at first (well, not Mr. S, he is a sweet fuffball), but the difference is there is no such thing as a fair-weather-friend in Germany. Once you have pierced the seemingly impenetrable cloak of German friendship, you will have a true friend for life.
So, here are the links to my holiday recipes. You can make them any time of year of course, and they are perfect for the cold days we will have for several more months: