9/11/09

The advantages of being confused


I've always said that one of the reasons I like vegan cooking is the creativity it inspires. Without use of certain canonical ingredients, you're forced to rethink recipes and flavor combinations and challenge your notions of what makes a meal. In a way, the same can be said of traveling. Lacking the regular faculties at your disposal (language, culture, ect) you can sometimes come up with something bizarre and wonderful. But like veganism, it takes a little getting used to.

This was especially true of me at the cool bio-market I found in Kreutzberg. I was so stoked to find an organic market with plenty of veggie options, but it was also completely overwhelming. I went with the intention of making enchiladas, since German living has made me heavily crave some Mexican food. (It just isn't done here, man!)Walking around though, even armed with a dictionary, I had massive problems finding the needed ingredients. They had bizarre and enticing items but not some of the normal stuff I live for. (A thick soy creamer that was awesome, but no tortillas or chipotles, for instance.) The prices made no sense. (1 euro for apple-juice but 5 euros for veggie dogs?) I ended up deciding to make a simple pasta with soy-sausage, just to test things out. (And to stop walking around the store in circles like a weirdo.) Among my loot was vegan chorizo and an ostensibly normal pasta sauce- papaya chile!? Is this what Germans eat? Evidently not, as meine freund was equally surprised by the combo.

The dinner, however, turned out fabulously. The pasta sauce was slightly fruity and spicy and perfectly complemented the smoky chorizo. With some whole wheat pasta and a beer I was in heaven. The sausage was especially impressive- which only makes sense given the over-availability of all kinds of sausage in these parts.

Now, by baby steps, I feel a bit more prepared to take on something slightly more complicated... maybe bagels? Or a plum-cake? Maybe I should just stick to the ingredients that are readily available before I start getting fancy. :)


Song of the Day: Metric- Gimme Sympathy

11 comments:

J. said...

Courageous! It looks delicious. Can't wait to find out what will happen in Belgium!

The Voracious Vegan said...

We get a lot of those same products and brands here in Saudi. I looove provamel soy milk! Delicious!

HayMarket8 said...

This looks like a very fun adventure!

pixiepine said...

Yum- that looks good.

noodlebang said...

That looks and sounds delicious!

Good luck with the bagels - they're something that I never get quite right. Is there no german equivalent?

vegan.in.brighton said...

That looks like a great dinner, can't believe I never found the bio market when I was in Berlin.

jessy said...

i probably would have been so overwhelmed in that organic market, T - i woulda had a brain fart or something. i am sure the store layout there is different, and trying to find what you need & translate stuff, too! oooooh - crazy! i'm glad you found some yummies, and i'm so happy the soyrizo & pasta sauce combined to make such a delicious meal! it looks mighty fine! i bet within the next few weeks you'll know those markets like the back of your hand. hooray for some tasty eatz!

miss v said...

when i came back from studying in europe, i was like 'bring mexican food to the airport!'..... isn't it funny what you miss when you can't have it?
kudos for you for trying to make something from the mysteries of german cuisine!

Recipe man said...

wow! It looks so delicious.
looks so much fun too

Mihl said...

A friend of mine loves close to that store in Kreuzberg. It's not cheap there, but they have such an awesome variety of foods...I always stop by.

caribbeanvegan said...

Glad to see u are enjoying germany.I amheading to Paris for a few days myself and there are new vegan restaurants there I cannot wait to try and post.I am looking forward to your Belgium post. Someone told me they have a meat free day in the week like the uk