Books! Books! Books!

There was a time in my life, a very long time actually, where I defined myself through my books. “I am what I read” could have been my motto. And I certainly looked at and sometimes judged others by their books.

You know what that leads to? Yes, being a book hoarder. My dream had always been a wall of books, and I certainly accomplished that.

It all started in my teens. During my adventures I ended up with a way older guy (at least mid-late 20s!), and somehow we ended up at the apartment of an even way older woman (late 30s?). It would take more than hypnosis for me to remember all the circumstances. But here we are in this woman’s apartment in Heidelberg, admiring her wall of books while she’s getting us some tea.

Admiring her collection, my friend says, “And I bet she’s read all of them.” To which I agreed and internalized that one day I would be that person. People would exclaim at my collection of books and admire me for them, because surely I’ve read them all.

Reality is not quite that glorious. Yes, we have a wall of books, and I’ve read most of them — and many more from the library and other sources. But the feeling I hoped to achieve never materialized. Add to that, having a wall of books I might have read but am in no mood to read again.

So here we are with all our treasures. I have switched to reading on my iPad, because I can do so at night without a reading light disturbing anyone. And no heavy books that drop on my face because I’m about to doze off, though an iPad in your face is not a minor incident either.

I remember the first book I ever read on the iPad: last volume in the Game of Thrones series. It was a library hardback and so, so heavy and awkward to hold and read in bed. Fed up after the third time it fell on my face (a good thing I wear glasses to read), I went online, downloaded it, and continued reading through the night.

I was fortunate to have so much leisure-reading time in my life, compared to Stephen who spent his legal career reading transcripts, briefs, and court opinions. He has a lot of catching up to do. Hence, we keep many books, but not all.

We meticulously sift through our collection — daring not to fondle them too long or read the back covers. We ask each other’s opinions and get in a dialogue about each book. And then, the inevitable: the book goes back to the shelves.

Interestingly, some books had actually made it all the way out front to a yard sale years ago but found no takers, and now we lay claim on them again as ours. How does that happen; are there prodigal books?

We don’t have one of those little libraries where you can take books or drop some off, but in front of our house are several boxes of books: help yourself. Until it rains or I change my mind; then they’ll go to the library.


Usually during the summer months I switch to another craft and give sock knitting a rest, actually all knitting is hibernating during the summer months. The warmth transfers to my hands and the wool does not flow as easily. But it’s a different story with cotton yarn. And honestly, our house stays so cool that even with the door open so Arnold, our Covid dog, can go outside any time he wants, it doesn’t heat up. At its hottest, we might reach 76 in the house, that’s 76 Americans.

So I continue with my latest obsession of stuffed animals and their clothing. I like knitting baby clothes because they go much faster than a sweater for Stephen or perhaps a shawl. But believe me, knitting for a little stuffed toy is the ultimate in almost instant gratification.

Here is the mouse outfit in progress:

My obsession with these animals led me to a blog that has consumed me. The woman writing it creates fantastic patterns I fell in love with and so I bought a rabbit and a mole pattern. They also got me more interested in her blog itself: little cotton rabbits.

As I was roaming around it and reading a post here and there, I realized that she does not have an easy life: her son, now older, I think 20, is autistic. And though autism comes in many forms and shapes, her son is further along the spectrum than many others and does not have speech. As with any and everything I encounter that I don’t know enough about, I immersed myself. I hit the autism category on her blog and read all the posts related to her son. Perhaps that his name is Toby, our son’s name, is what struck me first.

Since encountering the blog, I have read The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida. And I’ve watched the movie, I think streaming on Netflix. The book is available for free from the online library. The movie didn’t impress me as much.

Our lives change forever when we have kids. Mine certainly did. But if your kid is autistic, your life changes even more and for much longer. And though we might all worry a bit what happens to our kids once we die, it is elevated to another level with an autistic child. The blog has opened my eyes even further to what it means to parents of children with difficulties they need our help with. And I’m so grateful for that. I hate walking blindly through life and being oblivious to other’s struggles. Though I don’t know how to be an ally, I will expect myself to act compassionately and supportingly when I return back to the world and encounter someone with autism.

Someone once told me that we all have to bury the children we didn’t get and accept the ones we did. But a much nicer and more moving way of putting this is the following (I’m glad I don’t have to read this to you as I can’t read this aloud without tears):


Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.

Am I Back?

What to write about when stuck in the middle of a science fiction movie that lasts longer than 2 hours? That will last longer than 2 years? My ass is starting to hurt from sitting so much.

Staying inside at first was no big deal. The only outings were usually shopping and medical appointments. And that we could still do though with cautions. Wiping everything down before bringing it into the house, remember those days? Well, I just put everything in our second fridge and didn’t look at it for a few days, that seemed good enough for us.

Moving from curbside pickup to actually going to the store was a big deal. Still is. Whatever happens, I know I can’t survive this virus. And I don’t want to go gasping for breath.

Most days start slowly and late. And most days I face with what some people call soft pants. No one is going to turn me in for picking up the mail across the street in those soft pants. And that is as far as I venture most days.

Stephen takes our dog, Arnold, for walks. He gets out into the world. That’s a little ways off for me just recovering from a broken femur surgery. But the day will come when I can dance again without any consequences. That was the story when we watched Bo Burnham Inside on Netflix. I was so excited that we played the soundtrack right after and I foolishly danced along. Foolishly only because my foot was not ready. It lead to a hospital visit and and x-ray. Again 2 days off the foot and I got a redo with more success and less dancing.

Many of my days are spent cooking, planning, and executing. Our neighbors have 5 chickens I love. I try to talk and visit with them every day when my foot allows/allowed. They talk back to me and come running when I get close. So what do the chickens have to do with cooking. Yes, they produce wonderful eggs. And the generous neighbors keep on giving them to us. That leads to baking and sharing the resulting baked goods. And then more eggs, and more baking….

Cleaning and Organizing Episode #9012

It’s a Facebook log-off campaign, so I ended up here to share my thoughts. Will such a campaign bring about change to Facebook? I’m doubtful, but why not add to the numbers and encourage the organizers.

I’m at it again. Trying for order in my life. What will it take though? What is different this time? Absolutely nothing, so no big expectations.

Since the beginning of the year it’s been one disaster in my life after another. We moved to San Jose to help out with Stephen’s dad until I had a heart attack. Following this I broke my femur and had to stay off my feet for weeks/months.

My craft rooms suffered. Whatever was in the way of a wheelchair ended up in these rooms. Just recently I’m able to move around enough to attempt to bring back order. Every day I tackle a little bit so I don’t burn out.

This has been going on for only two days but the feeling of accomplishment is huge. And it’s a start. How many socks did I actually start and not finish? I tend to almost finish them until it comes to the toes and the kitchener stitch. Since that takes a needle I don’t always have handy, I stop there and then do a few socks at a time.

There is a lovely pair of yellow socks. They must be for me, yellow being one of my favorite colors. Perhaps I will use knitting to get some rest in, as I still can’t overdo it with the hip surgery leg. And just sitting around is not my favorite state of being, I don’t do that very well.

My headaches have been less frequent since the heart attack it seems, but yesterday the neck reared its ugly pain. ‘Headaches’ is the wrong term, it’s a neck pain. Most likely osteoarthritis. My neck has been carrying my head for 67 years now, that’s a long time. At times I wonder if a brace during the days of pain would be helpful.

In any organizing attempt there is stuff that needs to be thrown away, in my case preferably finding a new home as throwing things away is not in my vocabulary. Right now there are fabric scraps from the early mask making days in the pandemic. Some I can use, others are too small for the sewing I do. The first batch of scraps went to someone that works with tiny pieces, but I’m at a loss how I will find the person again. I will have to go through my Facebook messenger but as I said above, I’m part of the Facebook log-off right now, so this will have to wait.

Recently I bought a potholder on Etsy, because it was calling out to me. That doesn’t happen often, and I sure don’t need a potholder. Here it is:

This potholder is inspirational. There are so many scraps in the house and potholders are small projects. Finally a purpose for them. Immediately my thoughts go to all the jeans I saved to make some unnamed craft. I tried to give those jeans away a while ago but no one was interested, so I kept them. Or in some sane or not so sane moment threw them into the garbage. Now I wanted to make potholders with them and the leftover corduroy in the craft room. Found the corduroy, but not the jeans yet. A friend promised a few jeans if I can’t find mine.

Arnold has been a great dog. While off my feet for weeks, he gave up the couch to me. That immediately changed when I was able to walk again. He took back over. Even when I needed to elevate the foot that would swell here and there, he felt entitled. That’s how it came to the photo below.

Baking has taken over my life on some days. I finally experimented with macarons, they are too good so I can’t make them again for a while. Sharing with neighbors, we still had too many for us and the scale stares back at us in the mornings and we’re not thrilled.

A better option was making sourdough bread. Usually I make no-knead yeast bread and it turns out great, but lately it has been no-knead sourdough and it’s even better.

Another activity one can do off one’s feet is puzzles. I went a little overboard and at times I did one a day. Here is a 1,000 piece one that took days. A favorite.


Today I was going to start making sourdough bread. Or profiteroles.

My sourdough starter had gone bad after sitting in a jar in the fridge the last few years, it was rock hard. A friend offered me his and I’ve been feeding it every day. Last night it finally took off. Overflowing down a shelf where I shouldn’t have put it. But it was close to a heating vent and I though the heat could only help, and it did.

There is a problem with me making sourdough. Theoretically you should only keep around half a cup and feed that, throw the rest away. If you know me you would realize I throw nothing away and that includes sourdough. Something could happen to it and then I’m left begging again.

Last night I had 5 or 6 jars of starter and thought it was time to bake. It was too late and I put it off until this morning.

I make no-knead bread all the time but this was going to be my first try with sourdough. And all no-knead sourdough bread recipes start with a sentence about overnight. Start in the evening and let sit for 8 to 10 hours. Ok, that would have to wait until this evening.

Profiteroles it will be. That’s when I realize we have no milk. We are vegans now and milk is nothing we keep around. But heavy cream is since it’s an ingredient in my truffle making. And I can make milk out of cream. Problem solved.

But I had problems with my piping bag last week when I made profiteroles. The tip I use for filling the profiteroles exploded out of the bag. The opening was cut a bit wide. I didn’t want to repeat that performance that ended in a second shower that day. Amazon to the rescue?

There are packages of 100 plastic piping bags, all getting several bad reviews because they burst. I didn’t want plastic anyway. So I look for the cloth ones. Then it hits me that we have a kitchen store and I could call and see if they sell them.

But do I really want to go out in the damp and rain and ask Stephen to drive me, since I don’t? Not really. And how important are profiteroles today? Can that be put off for a couple of days?

I’m a pretty I-want-it-now type person and this would require a little patience, waiting. Back to the bread. I decided to start the dough after all, it can’t hurt if it sits there longer, like double the time recommended. And why did I forget to put some rye flour into the mix? I will start another loaf tonight.

I know that malt gives bread a little extra crust, or a lot if you overdo it with the malt. So instead I had bought malted bread flour to see how that turns out. I love playing with food.

For graphic content I’ll give you the profiteroles I made for Toby’s birthday party last week.

P.S. Don’t forget to order some pastry bags!


There’s been a bit of a puzzle-mania at our house. 6 weeks off my feet and then 4 weeks recovery leaves lots of time for getting caught up with reading, getting tired of streaming movies, and doing nothing. Since I was able to sit, puzzles became the big thing. First my friend Ginna dropped off a bunch of puzzles and then our friend Dawn did the same. And if that wasn’t enough, our friend Mike was the latest to leave a stack of puzzles in front of the house.

And ok, I’ll admit it, I bought myself one, too. As it turns out, I bought myself two puzzles. How can that happen? One was meant as a present but that friend said she’s set with enough puzzles before I even presented the puzzle. Immediately it was mine. But, I already wrapped it and I hate destroying my stellar job.

My favorite puzzle ever by far is one of birds. Though it was 1,000 pieces it felt like several mini-puzzles instead. I like working on areas and this one was perfect for my approach.

Mostly I do 1,000 piece puzzles but at times I will indulge in a 500 piece one. Stephen calls them palate cleansers. It seems an apt description. They give my head a break, probably should be called head cleanser, and give me new energy to go to bigger ones.

I now have a connection to the artist of this puzzle. A friend of ours who moved to New Mexico bought their house from this artist. In other news, I’m enjoying my 75% weight on my leg. Doing my new exercises. I want to be compliant with my rehab. The doctor did a good job and deserves my cooperation.

My heart. Doing very little and putting very little stress on my heart did it some good, I hope. At least it felt good in all that time. Instead of giving my heart a workout to get stronger, I need to give it a rest so it can live longer. A new theory of mine.

I have been so lucky with our neighbors and it has been a good relationship during my recovery. They love my food and especially chocolates I make and I love their flowers and eggs from their chickens. A very good trade. Though we’re now vegan, I still like playing around with baking, but would hate to buy eggs from a store. Now I have new flowers on the tables every week. It cheers me up. I sure come a long way from hating to cut flowers, essentially killing them in my opinion, to appreciating them.

I want to plant some flowers come spring, especially zinnias. How does one grow them? From seeds? And when do I start them? There is always the internet for these kinds of questions. I do know now how to save the 2 geranium plants I have for over-wintering. Soon, perhaps when I get to 100% weight on my foot again it will be the perfect first job outside.

Have you heard of FODMAP? I assumed it was a way of eating. But no, it’s a compound found in foods that can cause intestinal distress. Wheat has FODMAPs. But, if the dough rests for 4 or more hours, the FODMAPs disappear. Most commercial bread nowadays rests perhaps for 10 minutes. Is that why so many people are gluten/bread sensitive? Find a baker who rests their doughs or bake it yourself. Of course you can also go with wheat free bread.

Arnold got into the habit of pushing his face into mine while I am asleep. I guess in order to wake me up. But why? He wants my spot on the couch or bed. But he does keep me warmer at nights now that it’s getting cold. Perhaps I should shove my face into his.

A Good Day

This should go down in history as a good day. The day started a little rudely with Arnold jumping on the bed and pawing me. He wanted to go for his morning walk for which Stephen is the designated walker. I don’t do mornings very well. But I did sing him his morning song.

That’s the first song I learned in English class. It goes like this: Good morning, good morning, good morning to you. Good morning Mister Arnold and how do you do? Of course we sang Mrs. Miller as she was the English teacher. Her name was Steinmüller but she translated and abbreviated it.

Then I indulge myself in my German cooking competition watching German TV online. What a treat! Like the Great British Baking Show it is very civilized and everyone is nice to each other. No shouting.

You’re always able to download any recipe that was cooked that day and I did just that. Cooking it now. I changed a few things and will take a photo to show you. It will be at the end together with the recipe. There were some changes to this blogging program and I don’t have total control yet.

I’m also cooking a sweet potato that is one of 4 ingredients for a chocolate pudding. Let’s see if it’s worth a try. The ingredients are a nut milk, sweet potatoes, chocolate powder, and dates.

The other good news is my leg. Starting today I get to put 75% weight on it. As exercise I get to use our living room bike, stand and sit with the help of both legs and hands free, spin myself some yarn. I love my physical therapist. We come up with the same ideas. He suggested I use a bar stool when cooking. I was already doing that.

Breaking a femur is bad news. No walking or weight on the leg for 6 weeks and then 25% weight on the leg after that and after another week another 25%, up to 50% now, and so on. Total recuperation is over 10 weeks.

With the help of friends I had all the tools necessary to survive. From wheelchair in the beginning to a walker nowadays, a fancy shower seat, a high rise toilet, you name it, I had it. And let’s not forget the steady supply of puzzles.

This is a cold salad with red bell pepper stripes, snowpea stripes, green onions, rice noodles, ginger, a little toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, lime zest and 6 tablespoons lime juice, tamari, a little vegan fish sauce, maple syrup, hot peppers, and topped with peaches because i had no mango. add roasted cashews, cilantro, hot pepper, and sesame seeds.

And the success story of the vegan pudding recipe. It would need raspberries on top to make it perfect.

4 ingredients: coconut milk, but almond milk or oat milk, any milk really, would do, 6 pitted dates, 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, and 2 cups of cooked sweet potatoes. Put in the blender and you get this:

1480 Waller

When I met Stephen in 1980 I lived at 1480 Waller Street in San Francisco. Later that year we moved in together. We were a match made in heaven.

At the time, we read to each other. The book that left a big impression on us was Helter Skelter. Apparently Manson had lived in our building or a few houses down from ours, but this was the Haight Ashbury and it seems every house had its myth.

But back to Helter Skelter. In our impressionable 20s it was quite a story, and living on the first floor, though with bars across the windows, and bars across Manson himself, we nevertheless freaked out when we heard a noise.

For whatever reason, imagination rampant, we were convinced someone was trying to get into the apartment from the hallway window or perhaps the kitchen door that led to a garbage area via some stairs. The door had a big wooden bolt across it, a la castles in the 1800s. And perhaps we forgot to bolt it? Or was the little hallway window left open? Damn if either of us volunteered to check it out, mere babes we were.

Instead we devised a plan where we took turns staying awake and protecting each other. I wonder what we thought we would be able to do should an intruder surprise us. We never found out because we fell asleep on the job.

When we checked out the situation in the morning, it turns out that the hallway window had bars and the big wooden bar across the door was secure. The noises we had heard through the night were raccoons in the garbage.

Forward almost 42 years later. Stephen posts a song from the Ace of Cups on his Facebook page. A friend comments with a video of the band. As Stephen is watching the video, he gets all excited and shouts 1480 Waller, they lived at 1480 Waller!

He does a little research and finds the dark sides of 1480 Waller, too. And very dark they are. When reading this article one can see the sociological changes for women from then. Though times seem to be going backward right now, the horrors of this story in the courts make me sick. Read and weep.

The victim is called promiscuous, taking drugs, having tattoos and a hippie lifestyle. The gang rape was called an orgy in the SF Chronicle headlines. Our block of Waller was called “Terror Terrace.” The detectives working on the case were the same ones that worked the Zodiac killings.

We had no idea how many ghosts were in our building, on our block. We might not have fallen asleep that night.

Back Again?

It has been a while and it seems the whole world has changed. Certainly my life has.

At the beginning of this pandemic I saw a chance that we’re all coming together. Being in the same boat/world provided an opportunity to put our differences aside and root for each other. What other option was there?

I look around now and wonder why I had such faith in people. Shouldn’t I have known better? Didn’t 4 years of Trump prepare me for the divide and hate and idiocy? Apparently not.

There is a certain kind of idea of freedom that only exits in this country I live in right now. An underdeveloped idea of freedom, a freedom as a toddler might express. And it goes hand in hand with the belief that this is the freedom other countries can only dream of.

They have no idea that many countries have moved beyond and come together as a community where everyone is valued and that freedom comes with the responsibility to others. OK, only sometimes. I see that in Germany we have the same idiots spouting the same bs as here. It’s discouraging.

In the meantime it’s a grueling and tiring experience to slog through a pandemic that some don’t even believe in.

Although first worried about covid, my personal experience shifted pretty fast. At the end of 2020 we moved in with my father-in-law. After several visits to the E.R. he needed more care and after interviewing several caregivers we decided we would be a better choice.

Though that was true, we didn’t realize how limited Stephen’s work time would become. Or that we basically lived in one room only, the bedroom. Or the kitchen for cooking.

The living room was taken over by the television tuned to the news or sports. Neither of which we had an appetite for, especially 24/7.

There were good times, too. We always ate dinner together with lots of talking and remembering and discussing. And afterwards we would watch Shtisel, a show we all enjoyed. It was fun creating this routine.

Several months later I had a heart attack and landed in the E.R. I had a stent placed, diagnosed with congestive heart failure and eventually with an ejection fraction of 24%. Not good. At the time I was also struggling with bad knees and had hoped for knee replacements. So recovery didn’t include a lot of exercise. Knee replacement was now out and the only way to walk was with a brace a friend had given me. The shortness of breath I now experienced did not help either.

A few days after my release from the hospital, I think it was only 2 days later, I was back at the E.R. with a partial bowel blockage. Talk about pain! And the indignity of having a tube placed through your nose and into your stomach.

What else could happen? Right? Well, a few months later, I fell and broke my hip or rather the neck of the femur. After waiting 2 days in E.R. for a hospital bed I finally got the surgery I needed with 3 screws holding me together right now.

Sorry about all the boring medical details, believe me, I’m as tired of it. Because, here I sit on the couch or lie on the couch or am in a wheelchair on my way to the bathroom. Exciting, yes? Not! And all this for 6 weeks in order to heal the fracture.

My first thoughts were, great, all the streaming catching up with shows and all the books at the library at my disposal. That only sounds good until you do it. But no whining. A lot of people are locked up as much as I am still trying to find the exit to this pandemic.

I still can cook with the help of Stephen. I sit at the table and call out the veggies I would like to appear in front of me. I ask help for a million little steps that involve cooking. And I should be forever grateful to Stephen for being so generous and being part of every process in my recovery.

I hope I’ve broken the ice and will post a little bit more on here.

Let me at least tell you about a book I recommend and one I don’t. Only recently in my life have I started reading mysteries. Henning Mankell being one author I really enjoy. His book The Man from Beijing came as a surprise. So much more than a mystery. I love how he weaves history and social issues into most of his novels.

And the book I don’t recommend is The Push by Ashley Audrain. Unless you have an urge to feel depressed and down. In spite of the darkness I could not stop reading the book. But stay away.

The Baking Experiment

I love baking. But we are only a 2-person household and during Covid 19 we’re not about to launch parties or get-togethers. I also love cooking, but it’s easier to have leftovers guilt-free for days, whereas cakes and pastries etc. are not fooling anyone’s health.

The idea of baking through the Dr. Oetker baking book has tapped on my brain before, but this time I opened the door and it actually settled down in a comfy chair. To make the baking healthier, I decided to offer what we couldn’t or didn’t want to eat on Facebook.

There was only partial success. And every time there were leftovers for us. That’s when I decided not to bake until all was gone and even give us a day of rest here and there.

Though the intention was to go from page 1, actually page 1 is only the title of the book and several pages follow with no recipe in sight, only the promise of things to come.

The first recipes showed various waffles, also not what interested me. So I skipped right to page 20 and what are called “Amerikaner” in Germany. With research I was hoping to discover the name’s history, but no luck, there is no definitive answer.

They turned out ok, though had a very different flavor from the ones I remember from my childhood and our neighborhood bakery. Thanks to Covid 19 I can’t hop over to Germany and do a taste comparison.

Never one excelling in the art of decorating, let me present you with a photo of my “Amerikaner.”

The next recipe was one I didn’t feel like making so I decided to include another book into the baking experiment. A chocolate book: Cocolat, by Alice Medrich.

Cocolat was a chain store in San Francisco in the 1980s that featured her chocolaty delights. Stephen’s apartment was right across from her little shop on Steiner street, and the bathroom window above the tub let me glimpse at it during after-midnight showers when I got back from an evening/night shift at Harrington’s in the financial district.

Alice Medrich is also the person who inspired my chocolate truffles. I think it was she who introduced the bigger-size truffles to an American audience. Her story is a sad one, as she eventually got embezzled by an employee for $500,000 and a fire destroyed her Berkeley headquarters. I have no details but am happy she continues with cookbooks after she had to give up her chocolate chain, or actually sell it, with all the financial troubles she was in.

So I switched it up and went straight to the first recipe in the book on page 34: Chocolate Hazelnut Torte. Being a sucker for hazelnuts, I actually had enough to make this cake. And a success it was. I eventually added tons more hazelnuts to the decoration but didn’t take another photo.

The experiment paused for one day as we tried to stuff our faces with chocolate. Two people who were interested in their portions reneged. One never answered and the other decided on a last-minute trip. I have to say: their loss. This was a good one.

Then back to the Dr. Oetker book. Let me tell you something about Dr. Oetker. His books and products are omnipresent in Germany. He dominates the baking industry and now the frozen pizza industry.

But there is history. Dr. Oetker collaborated with the Nazis. He was a national socialist and part of the Waffen SS, the military branch of the Nazi party. It took his son to finally face the past and admit Dr. Oetker’s part in it. The company funded a book by a German historian that uncovered the ugly past. I have not read it and don’t know the details.

Below is a little more information about this infamous company from this web site:

“Dr Oetker is a family-owned frozen pizza and processed foods firm that was run during World War II by Rudolf-August Oetker, a member of the Waffen SS. Oetker supported the war effort by providing pudding and other food mixes, and manufacturing howitzer shells and machine gun parts for the Nazis.

“After hiring historians to document this relationship, the company subsequently began to investigate the provenance of its art collection. A silver goblet, for example was discovered to have been the original property of Emma Budge, a wealthy Jewish socialite, philanthropist and art-lover from Hamburg.

“The company’s board, which includes members of the Oetker family, commissioned the audit by historians in 2015. As of August 2017, four artworks were restored to their rightful owners, including the goblet.

“Dr Oetker’s researchers say it may take decades to determine how many more items in its collection are due for restitution.”

It’s way too late for me to boycott Dr. Oetker, I own several books and throughout my life have bought their products. Recently I have switched to cheaper identical products from another company. But since that company was founded in 1920, before WWII, who knows what’s hiding in their mixes. Though I have found no information. Best to make my own puddings and whatever else they offer.

But back to the Dr. Oetker baking book. Next recipe was “Buttertörtchen.” They didn’t look all that exciting to me and I came up with a new method to choose recipes. Random number generator with input of the recipe pages, or perhaps a random opening of the book, or just pick a recipe where the photo speaks to me. I decided to keep on going for now, and those little “cupcakes” with almond topping were a delight. Definitely something I’ll bake again.

Due to not enough takers, we are on day 2 of eating these little precious marvels. And now I need a break from sweets and am craving something with a totally different flavor. Perhaps Chinese?

Thanks for letting me share this here. I wish I could just beam these to you. One day perhaps.