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Showing posts from January, 2011

Schokoladenstückkekse? No Chocolate Chip Cookies in Austria

Today as I was making chocolate chip cookies it came to me: these baked treats which any US American child grows up with don't exist in Austria. There isn't a German term for them. Schokoladenstückkekse? The word doesn't exist. German recipes for chocolate chip cookies call them just that, by their American name. The funny thing is Austria is famous for its pastries. I have some wonderful recipes for Christmas cookies:  Vanillekipferl, Kokosbusserl, Ischler T ö rtchen, Lebkuchen, Spitzbuben, Nussstangerl...   They are all delicious but not one is as easy to make as a chocolate chip cookie. My recipe for chocolate chip cookies is from the Los Angeles Times.  I found it in the printed edition many years ago. Unfortunately I cannot locate the online version of the article but here is the scanned original: I make the cookies much smaller than the LAT chefs do, using about one and a half tablespoons of dough per cookie and baking them ten minutes at most. As you can s

A Book Club Divided: How Funny Is Franz Kafka?

Yesterday evening my book club discussed Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, in which a man wakes up one morning and finds he has turned into some kind of vermin. Opinions on the 50 page story were sharply divided. My Austrian friend and I talked about how we cracked up reading; our American friends shared their feelings of depression and disgust. Is it a coincidence that the difference in perception runs along lines of nationality or is it cultural? Put differently: do you have to be Austrian/Central European to feel comfortable with Kafka's humor?

Glock: Austrian Company Profits from Tucson Shooting

Question: if a gunman gets out his Glock pistol, goes on a shooting spree in a shopping center in Tucson, Arizona, kills six people, injures 13 others - who profits? Answer: a company in Austria. I find this ironic but first some data. According to a Bloomberg news article published last Tuesday "one-day sales of handguns in Arizona jumped 60 percent to 263 on Jan. 10 compared with 164 the corresponding Monday a year ago". This was the second-biggest increase of any state in the country. On the same day sales rose by 65 percent in Ohio, by 16 percent in California, and by 33 percent in New York. The nationwide increase was five percent. The reason for the rise in sales? Incidents such as last weekend's spark anxiety that gun laws could become more restrictive which in turn makes people want to stock up. Arizona gun dealers noted last week that semiautomatic fire weapons of the type gunman Jared Loughner used in Tucson - it was a Glock 19 - were among the biggest sell

The Customer Is King: Story of a Faulty Food Processor

After ten years of living in the U.S. many things still amaze me. The high level of customer service is one of them. Here's my latest story, that of the returned food processor. I bought one of those machines at Macy's on December 24th because I was planning on chopping Brussels sprouts on Christmas Day. When I emptied the box one blade was missing. I went back to the store on the 26th, returned the unused processor, picked up a new one - and got 20 dollars back because the price had dropped since my original purchase two days earlier. For American readers this exchange may sound like the most normal thing in the world. I was flabbergasted. In Austria I would have had a hard time convincing the sales person that the machine was faulty from the get-go. She might have said something like: Da  könnte  ja jeder kommen (anyone can say that), implying that it was my fault if a part was missing; she would have sent me home with the original machine and no blade; I would never hav