Tag Archives: east german

East German potato salad

Potato salad is the perfect summer food: it’s cool, it’s fresh, it goes well with sausages and watching soccer. But what goes into the potato salad? That is the question. For me, part of integrating into German culture these past eight years has meant gradually shifting my taste in potato salad from American (favoring ingredients like peas, […]

June letters, news and moves

This first week of June, things are feeling summery and full of changes at my studio. For one, I’ve temporarily moved to a studio collective in Mitte for the month, after the Multiverso studio collective closed its doors in May. This Monday, I celebrated my first day (Einstand) in the traditional German manner by bringing my colleagues something sweet — strawberries from one […]

Landpartie / eggs

Yesterday, on a Landpartie (countryside outing) to brainstorm some ideas for Schloss Wartin, I admired this sign, whose weird 70’s typeface clashed oddly with the surrounding village, which looked more like 18th or 19th century. ‘frische eier!’ means ‘fresh eggs!’

Cheese wrapper of the month

This wheel of cheese landed in my shopping basket simply because I liked the wrapper. It’s a simple, soft-ripened cheese, like a large, plain-tasting Camembert. The label declares it a handmade (actually, “hand-cheesed”) speciality of Saxony, flavored with caraway. Neither the typography nor the illustration are the world’s most refined, but I like their straightforwardness […]

No French fries here!

In emphatic Berlinerisch, visitors to the little snack bar and beer garden on the Insel der Jugend in Treptower Park are told not to even ask about fries. But there’s Flammkuchen, steak grilled to order, and other specials like homemade ravioli and cake. And cold Staropramen on tap. So no problem. You can also rent a vintage […]

Googly eyes make everything better

Googly eyes make everything better. Even political posters. With elections less than six weeks away, Berlin is plastered with them. As a foreigner without the right to vote here, I am doubly annoyed by this visual pollution—usually. Even by the ones from the Pirate Party, even though they have a great name and I guess […]

Free books

Books for free! What could be better? This relic of East Germany struck me as particularly poignant, not just the sweet composition of crayon-colored triangles typical of DDR graphic design, but the content — presented as a general language guide for tourists, it features just Bulgarian, Romanian, and Hungarian. Within the East Bloc, there weren’t all […]

Pica pica

Saw this sign in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg, for a gallery. Pica pica is possibly my favorite scientific animal name, beating out mus musculus (house mouse) and Rattus rattus (black rat). As you can see from the sign, it’s the name of the European magpie. I have a magpie couple as neighbors in a treetop near my apartment windows. And […]