Sunday, May 10, 2009

Recipe, Schmecipe

Life in another country is often very similar to life in the United States. Or at least it is after one gets over culture shock and learns the language and how things work. I am very fortunate here in Germany to find many things or even the same things as in the US. I still buy Bounty paper towels and Charmin toilet paper and the kids still get peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (just with less sweet pb and no grape jelly). I can even buy some luxury items (like cake mixes and Pop Tarts) if I am willing to pay the astronomical prices! We bake and cook a lot of things from scratch and they usually are as good or better than what we would have had in Texas.
But, as I was preparing to bake a cake for a collegue, I ran into the problem that makes cooking and baking here in Germany a challenge. I first looked for a recipe for strawberry cake. (Sure was missing the cake mixes from the states!) I found a recipe that went a little like this:

One white cake mix (why do they do this?)
1 Package frozen strawberries (how much is that exactly? and can you switch that to metric?)
3/4 package powdered sugar (it has been over 3 years since I bought a package of anything and so I can't remember how much comes in a package.)
1/4 of said package strawberries hold back for icing (aghhhh!)
3 oz. strawberry jello (2 problems with this: one, no strawberry jello, two, jello packages here are different sizes and don't come with sugar, that must be added)

Well,my cake turned out okay even though I guestimated the amount of strawberries and used strawberry pudding mix instead of the jello. One must be flexible when baking here and open to failing when trying new recipes! I won't even go into the difficulty that arises when trying to make anything that calls for Cool Whip or cream cheese! And I haven't found anything comparable to Rotel and creamed corn, so a few recipes must be sacrificed.


Janis said...

Oh, I've been there and experienced that! You do a great job adapting! We enjoyed our meals there.

Becky Dietz said...

Wow---don't know that I could have figured out how to substitute as well as you did! Way to go!

Jason said...

I thought it turned out great!

Madge said...

I have run into the same problem! One of the favorite birthday cakes in our family is that SAME strawberry cake recipe using a boxed white cake flour mix and all of the vague measurements. So I went to and found a scratch recipe for raspberry cake and just subbed out for strawberries.
As far as canned cream corn, I have a basic recipe that my family now thinks is better than the canned kind.
I have problems w/ flour and correct measurements, since the milling process is different and there are so many choices! My cakes just do not rises the way they did in the US.
ah well I am enjoying the less sweet taste of the cakes and cookies here.

Lindsey said...

I probably would've given up at the powdered sugar. I probably would've stopped, gone to a stinkin' bakery and bought the strawberry cake. Way to see it through!

amy wright said...

Wow...things that I would never think about.

Emily Panter said...

Mom's altered recipies were my favorite (and all my friends favorites.) I will never forget the disapointment when we moved back and she started buying canned this and boxed that! It didn't tasteright. I still make many things from moms altered recipies here even though I could buy the original. They just taste so much better. Keep it up! you are creating memories for those numerous children you have :)