Inside Oberursel’s Station

Oberursel Station May 2012Last November I had a chance to look around the newly restored station building in Oberursel.  At the time work was still going on inside the building itself.  With the exception of the service store, only the outside had been completed.

That situation has now changed and yesterday I went back to see how the rooms inside have been transformed. [Read more…]

Fanta comes from Germany

Fanta cans - ©iStockphoto.com/shawn_hempelFanta, the orange fizzy drink produced and distributed by the Coca-Cola Company, is known throughout most parts of the world.  And yet how many people know that the drink originated in Germany?

I was fascinated by the story when I read it for the first time.

During the Second World War it was not possible for the German Coca-Cola subsidiary to import the raw materials necessary to make the original Coca-Cola drink.

Faced with the problem of not having a product to sell, the German bosses came up with an alternative product made from what was available at the time.  The name “Fanta” stems from the German word Fantasie (fantasy).

Amongst the products used were the leftovers from cider and cheese production!

I do wonder how many other things that are known worldwide were invented or discovered in Germany, without that fact about them being well known.  Two that spring to mind – although they are almost 100 years apart – are X-Rays (by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen) and the MP3-format (by the Fraunhofer Institut).

Any more suggestions?

Chinese buffets ask you to avoid waste

A pair of scales with rice and coins - ©Can Stock Photo Inc. / pisuIt must be a sign of the times, that Chinese buffets have started asking their customers not to waste food.

In case you are not familiar with the concept: Chinese restaurants in Germany offer you a buffet for a set price, from which you can eat as much or as little as you like.  The only thing you usually have to pay extra for are the drinks.

You might think of it as an “all-you-can-eat” type of offer.

Except that some customers take more than they can manage, meaning that food gets left on the plate and thrown away.

This is, of course, a waste and it must be something that is on the increase, as I have now seen two restaurants that have signs up about it.

The first one had a large sign over the buffet asking you politely not to take too much, but to come back as often as you liked.

The second one took a more draconian approach by way of a sign on the door, informing the patrons that they would be charged an extra 2 Euros per 100g of food left over.

Whilst I can understand the principle, I think this may be taking things a bit too far.  Perhaps a quiet word from the waiter might be better?  Or a polite sign at the buffet as in the first restaurant?  Although it is a shame that they even have to resort to such measures at all.

But considering the speed at which some Chinese restaurants clear the plates during the midday rush (resulting in the diners using multiple plates from the buffet), I can see discussions ensuing along the lines of “I was going to eat it, but you took the plate away before I could” to avoid paying the fine.

So whilst I would never myself consider intentionally putting too much food from the buffet onto my plate, I might invest in a pair of pocket scales.  Just in case.

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