2020 is such a horrible year thus far that every opportunity to smile or laugh is welcome. The weather in Berlin the past few days has been grey, drab, dreary, wet and miserably cold so I am beginning to feel the usual withdrawal symptoms when faced with an absence of sunshine. But, this year is a continuous on-going lesson on resilience and finding those silver linings for the sake of our mental health. We have to fight this emotional and psychological black hole together otherwise we will not survive the pandemic. Avoiding COVID-19 is just the tip of the iceberg, and as all the governments are signalling, we are in for more lockdowns pretty soon.
So, come smile with me:
Owning Persian cats is a challenge on the whole, especially senior ones like mine. Brushing and grooming challenges aside, Cherry and Lolita are an absolute joy to have. So when I curl up on the sofa in my conservatory and look down at the snoring cat next to me, I can’t help but hear my mother’s words echo in my mind: now where is your nose? Did you not line up for one when God distributed them?
A lot of small bakeries around town are closing down or have shut down in the past months, all victims of COVID-19 and social distancing. It is so sad to walk down familiar streets and find so many empty spaces, with more and more small businesses disappearing, taking away that sense of continuity and constancy. Even if the shop owners themselves are resilient people, if they don’t have enough customers to meet the sales quotas, especially those who rely on walk-ins, or as is the case with many Asian supermarkets, the supplies are not being flown in, they have no choice but to cut their losses. This means that many of us are re-discovering homesteading, pickling, baking and cooking items at home that we would have quickly run out to buy outside under normal circumstances. For those who have joined the ranks of several hundred thousands of unemployed, this is also a crucial time to stretch the budgets as thin as possible.
Above are images of lemon squares (a personal favourite of mine because they remind me of so many beautiful moments with my mother), coconut vanilla scones, and today’s experiment, spelt (Dinkel) breakfast rolls, a new recipe I found and am quite happy about – but will tweak over the next few weeks. It helps maintain that equilibrium, gives a sense of accomplishment, but also those familiar aromas wafting through the home are incredibly comforting.
Halloween is just around the corner but this year, much as I love this tradition, I refuse to decorate my home simply because the entire planet is currently one big Halloween scene at the moment. Think about it, what do we normally need for Halloween? Masks, spooks, scary stories, and copious amounts of the unexpected. Sound familiar? We all have masks already, the spooks are all in government, we live and breathe scary stories at the moment, and we walk into the realm of the unexpected each time we leave our homes. So why would we need giant spiders when we have pink multi-apendaged creatures floating around? Who needs witches and ghosts when we have 2 billion people wearing masks? The number of decorations I have seen online already of giant COVID-19 germs in gardens is a reflection of the times, but should you still doubt the authenticity of COVID-19 and insist on going out for Trick or Treat, click HERE for some mask-friendly costume ideas.
Last but not least, how many of you grew up with Kellog’s Rice Krispies? If you raised your hand, then you know the beloved elves that belong with the cereal – Snap, Crackle and Pop. Home Office can lead to a lot meaningless surfing, and the gathering of truly useless but entertaining knowledge. My daughter and I realised that in spite of our affinity to German culture and language, we had no idea what these characters are called in German. Much to our delight, we discovered that they are called Knisper, Knasper and Knusper. This prompted me to continue the search and this is what I found:
Admit it, you had to smile!