Tuesday, 13 January 2009

A Late Christmas Present...

I came home a little late this evening, after a full day's teaching and an evening Confirmation class, to find a rather large parcel on my doormat.

I knew it was coming, but I didn't know exactly when it would arrive, and so its presence outside my door was a welcome bonus. I manoeuvred it inside, fed the cat (he has me well trained) and went in search of something sharp with which to shred the packing tape.

The friend who had sent the parcel had warned me that she'd been unable to get a smaller box, and rather than incurring a delay, she'd opted for a large box and lots of padding. She wasn't kidding. I was therefore under strict instructions to check the padding for any small items which might accidentally escape. Needless to say, this friend of mine hasn't known me all that long, or she would have realised how unnecessary such instructions would be.

I had sent some traditional English sweets over to my friend just before Christmas, as she teaches English, and she wanted to make her lessons a little more interesting... teenagers always respond well to foodstuffs. Rather than sending over the dreadful English excuse for chocolate (aka Cadbury's), I went to a little sweetshop near me and bought a selection of proper, old-fashioned sweets, that were kept in jars and weighed out. In my childhood it was "a quarter" of whatever sweet you wanted, meaning a quarter pound (4 oz). Now the sweets are priced up per 100g, but the principle was the same. I sent acid drops, rhubarb and custard, strawberry and creams, barley sugars, cough candy, lemon sherbets and so on.

I think they were well received. My friend wanted to know how she could reciprocate, and, after seeing some comments on my blog, told me that she'd send some coffee and chocolate. I forestalled her: after initially protesting that she didn't need to do anything in return, I confessed to a hankering for German sausage. Proper German sausage. I also admitted to a weakness for marzipan. The marzipan you get in England is a pretty poor excuse for marzipan (rather like the chocolate) and is sold for cake-making in big blocks. My grandmother's Christmas parcels had always included proper marzipan...

As you can see, the sausages were included with the parcel, along with some mustard and a postcard of the Holy Father. The sausages are vacuum-packed (just as well, or the sniffer dogs at Customs would have had a hard time of it) but, being proper German sausages sold loose, there are no cooking instructions, and I have had to email my friend for a reminder as to what I should do with them...

The selection of marzipan dainties was amazing. But this wasn't really what I remembered from my childhood Christmasses about marzipan...

What I really remembered was the (very German) sense of humour. German sausage is often sold from kiosks, with mustard or ketchup, and served on little paper plates. Here you can see a typical "take-away," though the sausage is much smaller than normal...

...it is, of course, actually made of marzipan. All of it. Mustard as well. The plate is real paper...

My friend also sent me some coffee beans... wrapped in chocolate!

All in all, a very welcome present...

3 comments:

Kat said...

As to what to do with the sausage: Grill them, or fry them but don't boil them.

Catholic Dad of 5 said...

Funnily enough we have a Slovakian student friend who has been studying at a local school since last September and he is hooked on the 'dreadful' Cadburys. So much so that he took a load back home for Christmas.
My wife, being Italian, scorns the stuff and will only eat Swiss or Belgian.
Perhaps you should send some over to see what their reaction is....

Elizabeth said...

May I vouch for the fact that German marzipan is absolutely delicious. I am now a convert to this type of marzipan. A big thank you Mac.

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