Monday, July 30, 2007

5 June: A Summer Afternoon with Friends & A Raclette Feast

I walked with Evelyne and Oda this morning while Mom slept in. Evelyne invited us over to their house for a barbeque tomorrow night and I offered to bring “American style” potato salad. Stefanie came over for my German lesson at 11:00 and brought chocolate croissants; Mom was a real trooper and sat through my whole lesson! (Mom spoke English, Stefanie spoke German, and I did the translating between them.) I still can’t figure out how much English Stefanie really knows. She’s a clever one – I don’t think she wants me to know how much English she understands. Our conversation ran from John’s job to having kids to our upcoming trip to Rome, and we looked at some of my Serengeti photos.

In the afternoon I went downtown to the Alte Kanzlei to have coffee with Kris, who is visiting from Michigan and is now about 5 months pregnant, Jane (with new baby Vera), and Beth. (I took a picture of the Smart parking sign at right in the parking garage under the Schlossgarten. I'd really love to know how much money Mercedes gave the city of Stuttgart to put these signs up!) I ordered iced tea mit vielen Eis and actually got a ton of ice for once (Germans are very weird about ice in their drinks; they think it’s unhealthy), along with a delicious slice of kirsch-mohn kuchen (cherry-poppyseed cake). Jane and Kris needed to run some baby-related errands so Beth and I tagged along. We visited an enormous baby store that had the largest selection of strollers I have ever seen. Beth and I examined the diaper bags since Beth is doing “research” for her new handbag company. Afterwards I stopped at the supermarket in the basement of Karstadt, thinking I would surely be able to pick up some Best Foods mayonnaise in the “Taste America” section, but they were all out. I ended up buying some German mayo that actually turned out to be a pretty good substitute (you have to be very careful because most of the mayo here tastes like Miracle Whip, or worse). I drove Kris home in the SLK with the top down, which gave her a thrill, and stopped to say hi to Kris’ husband Thomas and daughter Kalista, then headed home.

Mom came along for our afternoon walk and we made raclette for dinner – this is the first time we’ve used the raclette machine that we bought from the previous tenants of our apartment, and it turned out great…yesterday we bought a raclette cheese platter at Kaufland with three kinds of cheese, along with potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, cauliflower, and a couple kinds of ham. We cooked the veggies on the upper grill surface and melted the cheese over the potatoes, veggies, and meat under the heating element. Delicious!

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