I’m back from Germany and I may want to post some German journal entries in between other entries. Since I still haven’t written that journal, I will throw forth this opening gambit for your amusement…
Sheila and Michael’s Refrigerator (Stadecken-Elsheim,Germany)
They say that when you penetrate the event horizon surrounding a black hole, you become subject to extreme gravity, from which not even light can escape. But if you can skim past the event horizon and veer away from the black hole without being pulled in, you hardly notice at all. I believe Sheila and Michael’s refrigerator operates on the same principle. Perhaps you’ve experienced this with your own refrigerator or that of a friend. When you try to open it, the door won’t give, so you pull harder. But by the time you’ve pulled hard enough to bring the door to its escape velocity, you’ve pulled too hard and the door flies open, jeopardizing the jams and jellies and rattling the mustard.
Inside Sheila and Michael’s refrigerator sit several items of note: zucchini, celery, tomatoes, cherry cheesecake, and spargel (fresh white asparagus). Addie (age 9), CC (age 7), Eva (age 4), and I remove the veggies to make garnishes. CC especially has been waiting for this. We make a tomato crab, an apple swan, and a flower pot from a sliced column of zucchini with celery leaves thrusting themselves up and out and over the top. Our apple swan is precise, elegant, classical, as a swan should be. Our flowerpot sculpture is wilder, overflowing, even extravagant. A romantic counterpoint. Our tomato crab is hard to plot into the classical and romantic coordinates. It somehow lacks the gravitas of our other, more formidable plantae. Its black peppercorn eyes give it a mawkish, unsophisticated look, its tomato body a squishy joke, all in all a mere cartoon of a garnish. We eat it first.
With no such aesthetic qualms, we tear into the bright red and soft yellow of the cherry cheesecake. Or in the vernacular, the kirschkäsekuchen. This was a real tongue-twister for me, so I thought I should push it as far as I could. “I can cook the church’s cherry cheesecake,” or “Ich kann die Kirches Kirschkäsekuchen kochen.” This is too much even for the girls, and they are the household experts in the German language, trying to teach their parents and me as we fitfully retreat into our own mastered tongue.
Oh, the spargel. One is reminded at every restaurant, every weingut, every market: Germans are crazy for spargel. Especially in spring time.