Posts Tagged ‘home’

A Cake for Berlin: Rhubarb Cake with Marzipan and Almonds

Almond and rhubarb cake (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

This September, I’ll be coming up on my seven-year anniversary in Berlin. It’s funny. I never expected to stay here that long. Hadn’t even been to Berlin before I decided that this was the place I was going to move. “Du bist verrückt mein Kind, du musst nach Berlin,” composer Franz von Suppe is said to have said. You are crazy, my child, you must go to Berlin. “You’ll like it there,” my mother said. My grandma said New York had made me brittle, which in its own way is possibly a kind of crazy, too.

Rhubarb (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Candied orange (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Lemon (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Seven years ago, I wasn’t really moving towards something, but running away. From New York, sure, but also from the person I’d become there and the person I saw myself still becoming. Two of my dearest friends had not long before sat me down on a dock in St. Croix, the sun setting out over the ocean, sand curling over our sunburned skin and said to me, “What’s going on?” by which they meant, Where has our friend gone? And I’ve always admired the bravery of that, because it takes courage to tell your friend she’s been behaving badly. Because it’s true, I had been behaving badly, had let the less pleasant sides of my personality run the show. In drawing comparisons now, retrospectively, I’m not sure if I’d call it armor (sarcasm, skepticism, an easy sneer) or lack of buffer. New York is a city that strips you. Maybe it was a little of both.

Rhubarb cake without cream (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Lemon and orange zests (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Macerating rhubarb (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

But leaving New York was hard. I’d loved it more than any place I’d ever lived. And for everything it took from me, it starkly outlined my strengths. I knew I could make my own way, knew I could start from nothing and build a life. And I’d never known such fierce creativity. » Continue reading this post…

Going Home

The glass mostly full (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

I am strangely at home navigating unfamiliar places. Especially those beneath the earth – the metro in Paris or DC, the London tube, the convoluted network of U-bahn and S-bahn lines that crisscross Berlin like a twisted mesh net. Ever since New York, I’ve learned to love the reliably unreliable rush of trains hurtling to a stop, the stiff speech of the recorded station announcers, the always incomprehensible intercom crackling that the rest of the line is out. Change trains now.

But I digress. Every place has its own rhythm, a tattoo that makes it unique. Yet here and there, in this city and that, patterns repeat, like a subtle three-bar refrain the ear can’t hear but the feet feel. So the unfamiliar, or new, can have an inexplicable echo of what is familiar, or what is old.

Right now, I’m sitting in Tegel, whisking the foam from an overpriced cappuccino as the baristas gossip about their bosses in the repercussion-free feel of the 5 am airport. I’m on my way home for the holidays. » Continue reading this post…

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