Adventures in cooking

I cooked up our Kurbis for our first dinner party. I figured, like in America, I’d just bake it for a while at 350 degrees. So, I sliced it up (the preferred Kurbis is one that you don’t even have to peel!), tossed it with olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and salt. When I went to turn the over on, however, I remembered (again – how many times can one forget that Europe uses the metric system and the 24 hour clock?) that 350 is not a good Celsius temperature for baking. Aaron was at school, so I couldn’t get his help piecing together the temperature conversion formula. Don’t you multiply by 9/4 or is it 4/9, and then add something random like maybe 270? It’s crazy. Further examination of our oven dial showed me that it only displays about five temperatures. I know that 100 is boiling (212), so 200 should be twice boiling (424), which is too much. My oven only showed 150 and 180. More self-satisfied proportional calculations convinced me that 150 is about 300, so surely 180 must be the useful temperature I needed. Right or wrong, it worked out, and my Kurbis was soft and tasty within 20 minutes. Now we need to get another.


We’ve adopted oatmeal as our standard breakfast. Our furnished apartment does not include any measuring instruments, so we needed to improvise our amounts of oatmeal and milk. Aaron considered the problem, and realized with relief that the density of water (and skim milk more or less) is one, so we could measure that in milliliters. “Now,” Aaron announced, pleased, “all we need is the density of oatmeal, and we can make breakfast!”

We did not wait for the density of oatmeal. We made one coffee cup full of oats mixed with two coffee cups filled with milk (1.5% is the skimmest you can get. Hooray!).

A further complication, and one of the many quirks of our apartment, is that we could not microwave our oatmeal. We are among the luckiest of Berliners in possessing a microwave. But, all our Ikea dishes have a fancy metal decoration on the rims, so we have no microwave safe vessels.

*All nouns are capitalized in German. It’s really useful for reading because you can always tell what part of speech something is – as long as it’s a Noun.


6 responses to “Adventures in cooking

  1. F –> C: (F – 32) x 5/9

    C –> F: (C x 9/5) + 32

    This post made me laugh! 🙂

  2. Ha ha, now you know how I felt when I first moved here. Though the transition was probably a little easier, since Canada still hangs on to things like the mile.

    Glad to hear you’re well fed and enjoying the squash as much as we are. Yum yum.


  3. 40 grams per 1/2 cup

    Steel cut or instant oats may be different, but I would guess not much different.

  4. Thanks, everyone. Now also bear in mind that our “furnished” kitchen has exactly NO measuring utensils.

  5. I’m curious if the varieties of winter squash in Germany are similar to those we have here. We have so many many local varieties here as this genus of plants (Cucurbita) is native to the New World. For that matter, so are tomatoes, corn, peppers, etc — these foods seem to have been adopted so early & completely across Eurasia! Do they also eat turkey ? OK, I’ll admit this reminds me we’ll miss Thanksgiving with you this year. Hope you have your internet by then so we can skype. We’re loving your blog — thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us!

    • They do have all the usual ones, I think. I’ve seen acorn and butternut and spaghetti. And there are also a bunch more. The one we’ve been eating has an Asian sounding name which I can’t remember. I’ve been told it’s popular because you don’t have to peel it. We made one into a kurbis soup earlier this week and it turned out just right! When they translate ‘Kurbis’ on menus, they usually say it means ‘pumpkin,’ but it definitely applies to all squash.

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