Monday, May 13, 2013

Real Life

"What's for dinner, Mom?" "Why don't they have (insert food/drink here) in Germany?"

When we first arrived in Germany in 2005, I felt lost as a goose in the grocery stores. I couldn't read German and so we ate the same foods over and over again. It was "comfortable" and I was already trying to deal with everything else that I literally didn't want to think about food. Baking and cooking is a stress reliever so this was an upset in my whole system and stress ruled until the "food giant" in my life was conquered. After a few months, something had to change and that something was ME. I was hiding. I was fearful.

I finally asked God to help me and here's what He did ...

On this particular weekly shopping trip, I kept looking through the strore. My nerves where just about shot as I looked and couln't find what was on my list. I asked myself, "Why did I even make a list?" Just as I was about to become a huge puddle on the floor, a woman came up to me and she spoke ENGLISH! She introduced herself as Mary Beth and asked me if she could help. I held back tears as I explained my dilema. Mary Beth and I spent almost an hour in the grocery store that day and I found just about everything on my list. A few days later I was invited to her house. I sat on her sofa and poured my heart out over a cup of coffee. She's been in Germany for over 25 years so she had some nuggets of wisdom to share. We sat at her kitchen table as she shared her recipes with me and spent time going over how to make things from scratch rather than open a box.
My life was changed from that day on. The "food giant" was conqured.

Since then I have enjoyed cooking and baking in Germany and now I spend way too much time in the grocery stores because I am simply fascinated with the differences rather than fearful because of them. Since the topic is about food, I had to include one of the recipes from Mary Beth. So simple and delicious! Enjoy!

        •  2 cups sugar                     1 cup flour       
        • 4 eggs                                2/3 cup cocoa
        • 3/4 cup oil                         1/2 t baking powder
        • 1/2 t salt 
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir well.
Pour into a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C for 25 minutes.

God is faithful in every situation. He's concerned with every detail of our lives.

What did you do to adapt to the "food" culture of your new country?


  1. i think the best piece of advice that anyone ever gave me was to learn to cook from scratch before i went overseas. that way, it would already be a habit and that wouldn't be part of the learning curve.

    of course, when we first came and i was still figuring out what was what, we ate a lot of eggs. :-)

  2. Great advice! There is a correction to the recipe. Add 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Sorry, I forgot.

  3. I can relate to going into the grocery stores and feeling overwhelmed! And certainly not because of the amount of choices! :) We also had to get used to how certain things taste differently -such as butter and milk - which just take time to get used to. I realized that we had finally adjusted to the taste of such things when, after having been in Honduras for 9 months, family friends came to visit. Their kids wouldn't eat their toast because they didn't like the butter!

    What a blessing that you had Mary Beth to navigate you through some things. It reminds me to reach out to other newcomers in the same way. And learning to cook from scratch and having confidence to do so is important. It took me awhile to figure it out, but thanks to great resources on the internet, I love it now. We've also had to simplify what we eat and eat a combination of "gringo" foods and local foods. Sometimes we miss fancy things like artichokes, asparagus, almonds, etc. but then we enjoy them all the more as a "treat" when we're on furlough. :)

    One other thing that has helped me is having a few ladies from our church at different times come to my house and teach me to cook something they love. I'm still not as great at some things as them (my beans still never taste quite as good as theirs!), but I have learned to make lots of great natural tropical fruit drinks this way. And the best part is building relationships with the women of our church.