Apr 182012
 
granatsplitter- granade splinter

Shrapnel

So, we were back at our favorite bakery today and I made a point of finding out what that weird chocolate covered biskuit thing was from last week’s post.  Turns out it is called a “granatsplitter”.  So, I looked that up on the web and discovered several sites with recipes and pictures- including a wikipedia page in German.  Next step: Google Translate.  Now, Google Translate is a wonderful tool and we really would be lost without it.  But, perhaps this translation will show just the sort of limitations it has:

When shrapnel is defined as a sweet pastry , traditionally made ​​in the pie – and jelly-roll manufacturing is occurring sections produced. These residues are, depending on the recipe with butter, cream , cocoa and rum and mixed to a crumbly pastry – or waffle floor about 10 inches high and then layered with chocolate covered or in liquid chocolate dipped.
Production is due to the filling of a Granatsplitters thus vary greatly, but these changes are desirable and make the particular nature of this pastry. Since the residues required for the production but only in traditional confectionery companies incurred, there are also recipes for shrapnel that do not require these residues and with extra baked biscuits, nuts, etc. . substitute
In Berlin, also called the shrapnel Hackstock Scratch, in the East he was known as Punch mountain. Due to the semantics of the word war in the 1950s was considered a renaming of the pastry in “bear bunch”, but rejected.

Ok….Um, well!  That explains that!  So, yes, “granatsplitter” does translate to “grenade splinter” or “shrapnel”.  This sort of makes sense given the fact it is made from bits of another pastry, called ‘biskuit’ (see below).  But, yowza! There are probably some good jokes to be made regarding “shrapnel” and the fractured nature of that translation, but for now I will leave those to your own making.

Biskuit
     und waffeln

German Supermarkets resemble US markets in many ways.  But, almost every one has a row that would seem mildly foreign to Americans.  Not really completely foreign.  But just… well, different.  It is the “waffle und biskuit” row.

In this row are piles of shelf-stable toaster waffles.  Not frozen in any way.  Just arranged in bags out on the shelves.  We eat them near daily, and I can say that they never seem to get stale- nor do they ever mold!  Nearby, arranged in hanging containers on pegs are the “biskuits”.  There are probably a dozen different kinds of them in any market.  But, they all look almost identical- except for the few offerings that are chocolate.  Otherwise, each one is a large golden disk- perhaps 20 cm across.  All I can figure is that Germans must eat a LOT of these because every store carries so many of them.  They look just like a sponge cake that you might find out near strawberries in the states.  Indeed, “biskuit” translates to “sponge (cake)”.  But, upon opening the package, you will discover a subtle difference.  The are *hard*- stiff and light like a balsa-wood board!  They might remind you of a very large lady finger… if that very large lady had fingers shaped like a cake!

I always feel self-conscious taking photos in the shops,
so just imagine about 1 dozen displays of these
all hung in rows on the supermarket aisle.

Light as a feather, stiff as a board

But, it *looks* like normal cake, yes?

They are meant to be piled high with berries or other fillings and I can only assume that the dry base must be expected to absorb tasty liquids from time to time…. I think I am definitely going to need to experiment with them some.  I served this one with sweetened berries and the family seemed largely to approve.  Perhaps I will break up the leftovers and make shrapnel!

Minor frustrations in the big scheme of things….

Ok, I will admit it.  This week has sort of sucked for me.  Not because of any hugely major issue.  And, indeed, the biggest issue (David’s job) seems, tentatively- and with great knocking of huge wood for the future- to be taking a turn for the more secure.  More on that as info becomes official.

But, we did have several minor setbacks and the result is that my frustration stores need a good clearing out. Or perhaps a good airing out in the form of a blog posting!

Biggest hit: We found out this week that DS did not get in on this round of applications to Hogwarts.  There is a small chance he will be admitted in the next round in June.  But, this is a very small chance.  The likelihood is that he will need to continue schooling in Durmstrang while DD schools at Hogwarts.  Frankly, he is not thriving right now and it worries me.  The change in schools might have offered opportunities to adjust things that need adjusting.  Plus, the added daily stress of trying to juggle their two school schedules and the amount of driving it entails is a huge strain on the entire family.  On the other hand, I am not sure that Hogwarts would have been a perfect fit for him.  He would have had to learn French along with the German- though that would be offset by some classes taught in English.  And, given that they were full-up in his grade last year, we had no real reason to expect things would be different now. Still, I find myself disproportionately disappointed by this turn of events.

In the continued trudge department: No sooner had the family almost kicked the shackles of the flu, a full month after it started- but this week DH suddenly came down with a very snotty head cold.  Ick.  And, poor DH!  He even came home from work sick one day- something I have only known him to do perhaps 4-5 times ever.  This meant that not only did we have more plague and pestilence in the house, but more of the driving duties fell on me.  Not usually a big deal, but I am struggling to catch up with my work from that long string of illnesses.  So, when yesterday’s schedule looked like this:

6-8:30 Get kids ready for school and serve as school bus.
8:30-9:30 eat breakfast and answer email
9:30-10 Drive David to work
10-11 Shower and clean bathroom
11-12:15 Work!
12:15-1:30 pick up David from work and inefficiently get lunch
1:30-2 Work!
2-2:45 Pick up DS
2:45-3:15 Work!
3:15-5:30 Pick up DD and go food shopping
5:30-6 Work!
6-7:15 Make and Eat Dinner
7:15-8 Work!
8-9 try-but-fail to work as DH talks on skype and get kids to bed
9+ Realize that my brain has left the building and collapse.

… my frustration level increased more than it ought.  That, by the way, was about 180 minutes of driving, or a full 3 hours spread throughout the day. Which, it turns out, is just slightly less than the 3 hours and 15 minutes of my actual paid career style work I managed to get done.  If you take into account that I lost a minimum of 10 minutes trying to get back into the right mindset each time I restarted, I actually only got a little under 2.5 hours of actual paid career style work done that day.  And yet, by 9 PM I somehow felt like I had been working all. day. long… Funny about that.  Blarg.

Also speaking of work, I found out this week that I misinterpreted one of the parameters on my current  project and need to repeat a bunch of what I already had done.  This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it is always a drag.  It is embarrassing, frustrating, and inconveniences my editors (not that they are ever anything but completely sweet about it!!)  I will work hard and do as fabulous a job as I can to make up for it, but I do not like making mistakes and I don’t like repeating work. Plus, this time I really liked what I had done, so yet another “Whine!!!” 

I will fully grant that these are mostly inconsequential, minor, first-world sorts of pampered whines.  But, this particular week, they are frustrating to me nonetheless.  Of course, these are all piled on top of the normal day to day frustrations we all encounter- traffic issues (that lady who rolled backward at me, the man who gesticulated angrily at me when the lady on the other side of me nearly drove me into his lane),  sick friends and relatives that I want to help and can’t, tiredness, cranky children, zits, bad hair days, and the looming project of Taxes!!! (we get a 2 month extension for living abroad, but I tried to take a first pass and got literally nowhere… to say our situation is complex this year is an extreme understatement).

Did I mention that the weather has also been cruddy?  Grey and overcast and drizzly during the day and COLD- like frosty cold- overnight.  I think a little more sunshine would definitely lift my mood.  So, come on Spring Warmth! You gave us a glimpse a couple weeks ago… where have you disappeared to?

Purge Purge Purge…. So, ok, enough of that.  Yeesh.  Living in gorgeous green Germany, opportunities all over the place, friends coming in another couple months, good work to do, enough food on the table, and a warm, lovely apartment to eat it in!  Time to reset the brain and get back into the adventure of it all.

Coming up: DS goes on a field trip to a local farm.  DD participates in a French Flash Mob.  Stephanie Gets her Attitude in Gear.  David Gets Well!  Knock wood!

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