Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cookies + Markets

One thing I desperately miss about the US around the holidays is how everything centers around food.
It's an excuse to gather, to enjoy, and to eat a bit more than usual with pot-luck style meals and cookie exchanges.

Here people tend to do it all on their own.

I'm always impressed when we visit Stefan's family and there are an array of different cookies all meticulously put together and perfectly bite sized. His Mom has a legendary fondue, which has become a fantastic family tradition, too.
Each year I think I should organize a cookie exchange, because I love variety, but the holiday chaos usually gets in the way. It gets a little trying to make an array of cookies on your own. This year Stefan joined me for a glühwein and evening of baking, which was a lot of fun.

I try to make new recipes, old favorites, and learn some German varieties with lebkuchen and the standard Mürbeteig base.
There seems to be a distinct difference from celebrating in Germany and the US. As with many things I wish that I could meld the two together.
Here people celebrate oftentimes outside and away from their homes. They gather with strangers, neighbors, and friends for Christmas markets and festivals.

The US is a bit commercial with a strong emphasis on gifts, family, and individual traditions.

If we ever move away from Germany I'm certain we'll have an annual Christmas market party - complete with lebkuchen, glühwein, spiced nuts, spätzle, open fires, and undoubtedly our own traditions thrown in.
Here are a few photos from the Tollwood festival, which is an enormous organic around the world style Christmas market, similar to Yellow Springs back home. It takes place on the same grounds as Oktoberfest.
We had some incredible schupfnudeln and spätzle, which came in edible dishes. Isn't that ingenious? 
...and of course our fair share of feuerzangenbowle, which a glühwein with rum over pressed sugar that is then lit on fire. 

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