When I left Germany in 1999 and moved into the middle of the Silicone Valley in California I was immensely homesick. Never in my life had I felt so alone before. My phone bill was at one point larger than my grocery bill, because I had not understood, that one needed to call the phone company to get a better rate.
Things have changed a lot since then and I feel very much at home now here, where I always meet people I know, when I leave the house. One thing though will never change and it was quite unexpected, when I left Germany: I yearn for German food. Luckily there are many Germans here, which results in quite a few stores, bakeries and Delis that cater to these cravings. But still…
I had no idea how much food is tied to emotions and memories. It should not have been so surprising, considering that every get-together is usually centred around food.
I still remember when my husband cooked white asparagus with sauce Hollandaise for all our guests on my birthday. I remember the awe inspiring large number of cakes that everybody had brought to celebrate my Grandparents 50th wedding anniversary.
My mistake was, that I thought, I could replace that special white Bratwurst with Sushi, or Pretzels with Bagels. But no…
One of the many things, that are so special to me is a Plum Preserve, that my Grandma made every year. She calls it “Lattwerk” a term that I have not heard outside her family. It has very little sugar, some spices and needs to cook for 6 to 8 hours and must never be stirred during that time. Every year I would ask my Grandma for a few glasses of it. One year I noticed, that she had not been able to close some of the jars properly and I knew then, she was getting old.
I have made it every year since and it is such a cozy feeling when the smells waft through the house. And guess what, it is my daughter P.’s favourite!