Tag Archives: Dessert

Fun fact: I tried killing it with fire, which just resulted in a lovely golden brown crust.

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Someone recently told me that I need to start “lifestyle blogging” instead of just travel blogging, which sort of confused me, because my everyday life isn’t necessarily something you’d want to emulate. Most days, I’m locked in a battle with myself about whether several cookies and a glass of milk are as nutritionally viable as oatmeal.

That fight often turns ugly. The Pioneer Woman does not have such quarrels with herself, I’m sure. I bet she makes really healthy oatmeal that tastes like a cookie. I bet her children have zero cavities.

I bet she never sniffs a shirt to see if she can wear it again.

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Many months ago, I wrote a post about the wonders of Bavarian food. I didn’t spend a lot of time fixating on dessert, which shows you just how darn good the sausages and breaded meat and dumplings of Southern Germany are (parenthetically, all of those dishes sound like euphemisms). A few folks told me that next time I found myself in that part of the world, I needed to try a dessert called kaiserschmarrn.

This intrigued me for several reasons:

  1. Kaiserschmarrn sounds like a term describing a sort of obnoxious, egotistical king. “Ugh, Henry VIII went through wives like a kindergardener does goldfish. He was such a kaiserschmarrn.” (In fact, the name literally translates to “the emperor’s mishmash”.)
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  2. It is rare that I encounter a dessert I’ve never heard of before. It’s like when biologists discover a new species of animal in the rain forest. On the one hand, it was bound to happen, but on the other? It’s crazy shocking that something this big escaped my notice. I AM AN EXPERT, PEOPLE. I should know about these things.

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I’m taking a brief reprieve from my tales of Paris to tell you about a French Bakery … in Vancouver. I’ll get back to the city of light tomorrow.

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I am standing on a street corner in a dodgy part of Vancouver, British Columbia, on the verge of a hunger-induced meltdown.

I’m blaming Oli.

I suppose, if I were clearer of head, I’d realize it’s not really his fault. He meant well when he advised Rand and I to head south on Main street. We’d find lots of interesting shops and boutiques, filled with stuff from local designers. Perfect. That’s exactly the sort of thing Rand and I love.

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Today we are going to talk about eclairs. Because my blog tackles the tough issues.

But first, let me tell you about one of my earliest memories. It is, depending on how you look at it, equal parts tragic and wonderful.

When I was a wee little Everywhereist (back during a time when a more apt name for me would have been “the Whinerist” or “The Brattist” or possibly even “The Boogerist”), there were no sweets in my home.

I am convinced that this deprivation in my early years has led directly to my soul-consuming, insatiable sweet tooth as an adult.

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For many years, I didn’t really get macarons.

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{For those who have devoted less of their waking hours to the study, acquisition, and consumption of baked goods, I would like to take a brief moment to delineate French “macarons” from “macaroons”. While it is, essentially, the same word (one is the French variant, the other the English), here in the states they mean two very different things. The former is a sandwich cookie of French origin, made from egg whites, almonds, and sugar. A multitude of flavors and colors can be added to the batter, to compliment the filling that is smooshed between the halves. (I’ve encountered such awesome macaron fillings as: Nutella, frosting, dulce de leche, homemade fruit preserves, and PURE MAGIC). The latter is cookie composed of shredded coconut, sugar, and egg whites. I’ve made coconut macaroons for Passover before, and the consensus was that they were a teeny step up from eating burnt cookies.}

Interestingly, a image search for “macaroons” yielded pictures of both. Which made creating this graphic really easy. MS PAINT 4 EVA.

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One of the better things I’ve ever had in my mouth. #thatiswhatshesaid

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I’m having a brief moment of wakefulness right now. I haven’t had too many of those as of late. I’ve gone through the last few days in the fog of jetlag, waking up at 4 in the morning and crashing (heavily) around 7 or 8pm. My body and my brain are making it painfully clear that I can’t travel like I used to.

And so I’d like to take this brief moment of lucidity to tell you a bit about Africa. I hate to say that it was a life-changing experience, because that expression is so melodramatic and overused. But the thing is, it was precisely that. There was more than one occasion where I would pause, take in my surroundings, and realize that it was in the middle of one of the more incredible moments of my life.

Between the immensity of that, and my lack of sleep, I’m having trouble knowing where to start. How do you even begin talking about your first visit to a new country, and a new continent? How do you sit down and write about your visit to a place that is (almost exactly) on the other end of the world?

For me, I do it by talking about fudge.

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(Note: I just got back from South Africa yesterday. My brain has absolutely ZERO idea what time it is. I contemplated blogging last night, but I was deliriously tired, and acting slightly more crazy than normal. At one point, I may have fallen over my husband in the kitchen because I wanted to bite his arm. When he didn’t acquiesce, I started whining like a four-year-old.

So he let me bite his arm. 

I’m still kind of out of it, but I’m pleased to say that the attempts at spousal cannibalism have become far more infrequent since that episode. I’m going to try and get my bearings over the next few days. In the meantime, I’ll be posting about a few trips that we had prior to South Africa, that I haven’t gotten around to telling you about. Enjoy.)

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Like any good alchemist, I spend a lot of time at home trying to turn lead into gold. Or, more precisely, flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and a bit of vanilla into cake.

Same thing, basically.

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My family members do not always understand me. I feel like a foreign exchange student in their homes – I’m most definitely welcome, but damn it, I’m strange. My accent is funny. I don’t eat pasta daily. I don’t have several gallons of sauce sitting in my freezer, in the event that we might have unexpected company. I purchase pre-made gnocchi, and I don’t drink wine out of a box.

And most significantly, I like sweets. This is perhaps one of the biggest things that separates me from 80% of my blood relations. They are perfectly content to go days, if not weeks or lifetimes, without anything that even remotely resembles sugar. I’ll never forget the time my aunt once told me not to frost a cake that I had made.

“You know,” she said, gently, “because some people don’t like frosting.”

“Bwa-whaaaaa?” was all I was able to sputter out before promptly fainting. She might as well have asked me not to bake the cake, too, so ridiculous was her request. (When I came to, I frosted it anyway.)

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