Have to Learn to Improvise

1. As a first task you guys will make a drawing. Each of you draw whatever comes to your mind. Understood?
2. How? Everyone whatever comes to his mind? You don’t give us any plan?
No plans at all. You have to learn to improvise.
3. No plans at all. Have to learn to improvise.
4. Do we come here to be instilled with the national defects?

This is one of my favorits of “MAFALDA”, incredibly more than half a century old – and still very much up-to-date!

I think, to live in this country, you have to be somewhat relaxed, flexible and willing to improvise, especially if one is used to West European standards. Things just work a lot different over here – and sometimes they don’t work at all – and sometimes things work when you least expect it.
So we don’t make concrete plans on what we will cook, but go to the store, see what they have and decide then on what we will have for dinner.
If something breaks in the house, we do not run to the next hardware store expecting to get the spare part or a replacement – we probably would only get disappointed. Instead, we first try to improvise – and look for a lasting solution later.

Of course, if one lives in another country, one can’t expect to find all the favorite products on the supermarket shelves.
What we really miss the most, though, is “Quark” (a kind of low-fat cream cheese), to bake German Cheesecake and the Turkish 10% natural yoghurt to make Tsatsiki. (Greek style creamy yoghurt with shredded cucumber and a lot of garlic).
Good thing, I brought my electric yoghurt machine. In Berlin I have not used it often, because you can find natural yoghurt in every store.
Making yoghurt is very easy: You just mix half a cup of natural yoghurt from the store with a liter of warm milk and keep it warm for about 8-10 hours, either in a thermos bottle or with the help of a yoghurt machine.
SUPER! Hahaha, the big problem here (but in many other countries, like the United States, as well!) is to find natural yoghurt. ­čÖü On the supermarket shelves one can find all kind of flavors, but rarely “yogur natural”. When I was so lucky to find natural yoghurt in our local minimercado, it turned out to be sweetened.

Oh My God!!! And the list of ingredients was frightening.

At least it contains milk!

I decided to give it a chance, anyway. And ÔÇŽ what shall I say? IT WORKED.
I put the yoghurt (which was quite liquid) in a very fine strainer, which came with my yoghurt machine. (It also works with a fine cotton cloth or cotton diaper). I put it in the fridge over night. Next morning I had more than a pound of wonderfully firm yoghurt, almost the consistency of “Quark”. I filled some of it into a jar and put it in the fridge for the next time.
Of course the yoghurt that resulted was still somewhat sweet. And because it looked so much like “Quark” I used it to make the filling for cheesecake, just as if it really were “Quark”. And ÔÇŽ IT WORKED.

Argentine Cheesecake German Style

Next round, I used the yoghurt I had set aside in the fridge for another liter home-made yoghurt. I used this yoghurt to make our beloved Tsatsiki. And IT WORKED and it was DELICIOUS!

Almost nothing left!


Another favorite of ours is “Griesbrei” (sweet semolina cooked with milk).
I have not seen semolina anywhere around here. So we tried to replace it with polenta. WHAT A DISASTER! While it was still warm, Norbert ate a portion. He even said it tasted okay (with cinnamon and sugar).
After the stuff got cold, it was hard like a rock.
I sliced it and let it dry in the oven. Then I’ve cut it in little cubes and put it into the sun to let it completely dry.

The chickens LOVED it

Those wonderful chickens give usually give us 5 or 6 eggs per week. We keep them for Sunday breakfast. And we simply love them just soft-boiled and enjoy each and every one of them.
But to really enjoy a soft-boiled egg, one needs an egg cup. We did not see anything alike around here. We found one in “Mercado Libre”. But it was ridiculously expensive, plus we would have to pay for shipping. We thought of constructing something similar to it with some of Norbert’s electrical wires.

Or to fold one out of paper (Origami) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YozKtt0bFs

But then we had another idea to improvise an egg holder: Norbert simply drilled holes into two of our breakfast boards – and the eggs were in a safe place to be enjoyed.


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