Wednesday, March 05, 2008

hey, act your age, not your shoe size!

Anyone ever say that to you? Well, you won't hear it in Germany because as many confused expats have discovered, they measure feet differently here. A newborn, should he actually find himself in need of a pair of shoes, might wear a size 13, whereas a big guy like Dirk Nowitzki wears a size 50.

Mr. M, quite the big guy himself, is somewhere in between, and as of yesterday, his age IS his shoe size and will be until early March of next year. Yep, 46 on his feet and in his head. Another birthday come and gone.

A 46 is about the equivalent of a Canadian size 12 1/2 and while my husband does sometimes act like a pre-teen, the expression just doesn't cut it in this country, I'm afraid. Here are his big clodhoppers compared to my ladylike size 40.(And please excuse our dust, the front yard is still a construction site)

Celebrating your birthday in Germany can be rough. There's just no getting out of it unless you're like me and refuse to participate in The German Birthday Rules. Poor M. M had to provide breakfast for 20 of his colleagues yesterday morning. Breakfast in this case being several kilograms of raw seasoned minced pork (Mett in German), a bag of onions, various cold cuts, cheese, butter, dozens of fresh rolls and myriad bottles of sparkling wine to wash it all down with. Oof! Stomachs of steel, those Germans, especially when it comes to free food.

After work a visit to the parental units was in order since the father-in-law doesn't get out much any more. Cake and coffee, coffee and cake, same old, same old. As if Mr. M hadn't had enough, as soon as he arrived home the neighbours dragged him over to their place for more wine. While he was gone another neighbour showed up with a jar of homemade jam for 'The Boss'. Germans love calling each other on their birthdays and the phone rang off the hook all evening, including a couple of calls from Canada to shoot the breeze.

At the birthday boy's request I attempted a rack of lamb (recipe and video!) and I must say that it was very simple and totally delicious served with sauteed green beans and cherry tomatoes and potato croquettes.

For dessert I made an Austrian cake called a Donauwelle which translates as 'Danube wave' I guess because of the wavy pattern of the batter and chocolate topping. The sour cherries sink into the white and dark batter while the cake is baking and layers of vanilla buttercream and bittersweet chocolate finish it off later. Trust me, a small piece is all you need.

As you can imagine, by the end of the evening the 46-year-old Mr. M was really showing his age and had to go to bed early to rest up for next year!

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At March 05, 2008 4:46 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Donauwelle looks fabulous... I'm drooling onto my keyboard

At March 05, 2008 6:12 p.m., Blogger Alison said...

The cake looks divine! Happy B-day to the Mr!

At March 05, 2008 10:02 p.m., Blogger Silvia said...

drooling is not a word...LOL
Happy Birthday to your Hubby!
You've outdone yourself with the Donauwelle, and let me tell you how much I miss the german way of celebrating birthdays, it doesn not happen that way over here - ever!*sad*

At March 05, 2008 11:26 p.m., Blogger Thimbleanna said...

Happy Birthday to Mr. Mausi! That cake looks divine. You KNOW you're going to get requests for the recipe LOL!

At March 06, 2008 4:58 a.m., Anonymous ian in hamburg said...

Canadian Living! I love it. The irony of it all is too much.

At March 06, 2008 10:05 a.m., Blogger The Big Finn said...

Wait a second...

They ate raw pork???

I have another 1.5 years to go until my age is my shoe size: 47.

At March 06, 2008 10:48 a.m., Blogger Pippa said...

Wow, that looks delicious! And it seems to me that the Familie Mausi will just have to eat their way through this month of birthdays. :) Our family has a LOT of birthdays in March as well, but we take the more relaxed approach.

At March 06, 2008 12:54 p.m., Blogger Diane Mandy said...

I love coming here and reading posts. I always learn do much. Haven't had the birthday or shoe-shopping experience. Now I feel fair warned.

Happy Birthday to your husband.

At March 06, 2008 4:08 p.m., Blogger Betty said...

Are those crocs? I love your cakes. Amazing!!

At March 06, 2008 5:11 p.m., Blogger Betsy said...

Am glad to hear the Mr. had a good birthday!

Have you had your quota of the raw pork / baking sessions for this month or do you have more birthdays coming up?

At March 06, 2008 7:01 p.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

Ooooh. Happy belated B-Day, Mr. M. Hope that you recovered well :)

I've passed my shoe size in age some time ago, and I still don't act like it ;)

At March 06, 2008 7:37 p.m., Blogger beaverboosh said...

Congrats to Mr. M for living his shoe size! Do Germans ever say I hope I live to my shoe size? A couple of more years of Mett brekkies and he may have trouble making it to Dirk's!

At March 07, 2008 12:15 a.m., Blogger Mike B said...

That cake looks rich enough to put any youngster to bed.

At March 07, 2008 9:43 p.m., Blogger christina said...

planetgermany - It didn't turn out quite like I expected it too, but it got gobbled up anyway.

Alison - Thanks! He ate the last piece tonight.

Silvia - Yes, it's weird how it's different in every country. I guess you just have to MAKE it happen.

thimbleanna - It was kind of a combination of different recipes and a bit of research and there are a couple of things I'd do differently next time to tweak it a bit.

ian - I know! Must keep the home fires burning. Actually, that was the second thing that came up when I searched for a recipe so I went with it since I'm a big fan of their magazine anyway.

TBF - They didn't just eat it, they probably scarfed in all down in a matter of minutes and begged for more. It's that popular here.

Ah, I see you have large feet as well. Boy15 is also a 47. We're getting worried.

Pippa - Yes, it's hard to be relaxed here sometimes with all the rules and traditions but we have to go with the flow, I guess.

diane - yeah, the birthday stuff can be a shock sometimes if you don't know about it. And I'd peg you somewhere between shoe size 39 - 42. :-)

Betty - YES, they are Crocs. My mother bought all four of us a pair last time we were in Vancouver and we really like them.

Betsy - One more party, but no pork for that one, thank goodness, just pizza. :-)

Canswiss - I'm almost 5 years over my shoe size but it doesn't feel like it!

beaverboosh - I don't think they say that but maybe they should. We try to limit the heart attack on a bun between birthdays so hopefully he'll reach old age unscathed.

mikeb - We've been eating it in stages. One small square could be used as a lethal weapon, I think.

At March 08, 2008 6:02 a.m., Blogger KW said...

Oh my goodness, the food, the cakes, the octopus covered presents! You guys really do it up right! I would like to see a video of YOU making rack of lamb LOL

Sadly I have never been my shoe size, and now it is too late...unless I move to Europe and my feet get really really big.

Happy Birthday to all and sundry xoxo

At March 09, 2008 3:25 p.m., Blogger poppy fields said...

I think I am going to come live with you and eat your cakes!
ps my husband is the same age as yours...until august

At March 10, 2008 6:44 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

That cake look divine. Could you please share the recipe?


At March 10, 2008 11:37 a.m., Blogger Sparky said...

Happy Birthday to the hubby... happy BIIIIIRTHDAYYYY to him!

At March 11, 2008 4:56 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

I was wondering if you were getting through all the birthday hoopla, Christina. But of course! Leave it to you to not only do it all but record it for us with the kind of humor only you have. I love it.


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