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Friday, January 15, 2010
I am a Jelly-Filled Donut!
In 1963, John F Kennedy stood in front of the Berlin wall & supposedly proclaimed that he is a jelly-filled donut. The problem with this theory is that the citizens of Berlin do not call jelly-filled donuts Berliners. They call them "Pfannkuchen", which translates as pancake everywhere else in the country.
I don't understand why these delicate baked goods are called "Pfannkuchen" in Berlin, because they are fried in lots of fat or oil. Yes, fat. Lumps of yeast-risen dough swimming in boiling rendered pig or chicken fat - that would be a Berliner. Originally, they would be cooked in whatever oil you could get and up until maybe 100 years ago, animal fat was much more prevalent that vegetable oil. These sweet doughy balls of goodness were originally only consumed during Karnival, the prelude to Lent, or the period of fasting.
There are certainly trials and tribulations involved with living in a foreign country. Sometimes, I sigh & say that something is just so German. Yet, there are things that I love. I am fascinated by the differences in language in such a small area (just a few minutes ago, a friend from Berlin corrected my Facebook status to tell me I'm not in love with Berliners but with "Pfannkuchen"). I love the fact that there are bakeries everywhere. I love not having to drive. I love the Berliners. They are breadier than doughnuts, not as sweet, and the filling is real jam. What's not to love?
I know I should be fasting after the period of Christmas and New Years. I'm trying to be good. I realize that I am no longer the girl who could eat 5 Berliners on her own and not have her clothes shrink. Still, a girl's got to eat. It's not my fault if the bakery didn't have any good-looking sandwiches. It's not my fault if the Berliners look adorable, is it? But beyond looks, it's somehow a part of cultural heritage. At least I can tell myself that as I eye up the rest of them.