Archives for December 2008

Same procedure as last year?

No, that is not a reference to “Dinner for One“, which millions of people in Germany will be watching this evening, but to the sign in our local supermarket with the opening times for New Year’s Eve.

Once again, the word “Silvester” has been mis-spellt with a “y”.  As James would no doubt say, “I’ll kill that cat!”

Happy New Year!

Raclette, Fondue & Bleigießen

In this edition of German Words Explained we take a look at three traditions associated with New Year’s Eve.

Raclette is originally a traditional Swiss dish made from cheese.  A large piece of cheese is put near a fire and is brought to melting point.  When the cheese is soft and about to melt, a layer is scraped off and eaten with bread.

The modern raclette is an electrical table-top heater.  Small dishes are filled with chopped-up vegetables, eggs, sausage rings and other small pieces of food and then covered with cheese.  These are then placed under the element of the raclette.  Many raclettes have a metal top where meat or bread can be fried, some even have stone tops for cooking steak.

Foundue is probably the most well-known outside of Germany, also being a traditional Swiss dish.  Originally made by melting cheese and often wine over a flame, many people in Germany use the same form to heat cooking oil on New Year’s Eve and cook small pieces of meat in it.  Others melt chocolate instead and dip pieces of fruit in it.

Bleigießen is definitely not to eat, it is a tradition that families carry out on New Year’s Eve.  They buy small packets of lead – often together with a special spoon.  The lead cubes are placed on the spoon and held over a candle so that they melt.  Once the lead is molten, it is dropped into cold water where it sets into a new form.  The trick is then to decipher what the form means for each person for the coming year.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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(Press the “play” button to listen to the podcast)

Download a transcript

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These are tough times

The World’s financial system is going through a crisis, countries such as Germany are entering a depression.  That’s the news that I hear every day in the news.
Are these tough times?
Strangely enough, my business is doing quite well considering the current economic climate.  I think that people are more willing to invest a small amount in having a computer problem fixed, rather than the larger – more tempting – amount of buying a new one instead.  That is, of course, good for me as a service provider, even if it’s not such good news for manufacturers.
Despite this, I’ve still decided that it is time to start reading Robert H. Schuller’s book “Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do!“, something I first read about on another blog.  The first chapter alone, in which he talks about one of his own experiences, left me thinking “OK, it’s not that bad yet”, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the book.

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