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One year ago on Round and Square (13 February 2013)—China's Lunar Calendar 2013 02-13
Two years ago on Round and Square (13 February 2012)—Just Do It Over: Back of the Fridge
|[a] Tangy-warm RF|
|[b] Hamburg Holiday RF|
For a week or so, I couldn't get over the picture ("that's some crown," I muttered inwardly). As time went on, my thoughts deepened slightly to something like "Whoa, big medieval crown." As my early adjustment days passed and I gradually stocked up with supplies, I had less to do in the store each day (just needing a bag of almonds here or a package of smoked salmon there). That gave me time to focus my investigations.
I took a closer look at the ample, one-liter bottle with the impressive label.
In time, I moved beyond the picture, and began to study the embottled mix of language, color, and image—the art beyond the liquor, as it were. I read "Nürnberger Christkindles (Markt) Glühwein" (my bottle has the "Nuremberg" written on it, unlike the one above). The Gerstacker brewery in Nuremberg produced it.
I already knew a little bit about the famed Christmas markets of Germany. They are lively concatenations of holiday ornaments, music, and just plain ol' display (as we say back home). One thing I'll say for Germany—it really has a way with the whole Christmas thing. Pay particular attention in the video clip at about 1:00, when you will see both bratwurst and glühwein (just not together).
|[c] Toss it in RF|
But that was only part of it. I have studied German for a while, although I don't claim to be at all expert in it. That's the schtick behind these posts. I know just enough to act like an early anthropologist—knowing more than enough of the language to make my way around, yet really understanding...nothing. (Oh, and anthropology friends, the sooner we admit this about our field, the better; then we can start thinking about "native" anthropology, deep expertise, and other matters—most anthropology has been done on shaky linguistic foundations, and we need to understand that fully).
As for me, I freely admit my shaky German linguistic foundations.
|[d] Cooked RF|
Still, I knew enough...to know...that glühwein couldn't be particularly "smooth." At the very least it was "under glow," heated, worked-over (like a losing boxer's face, perhaps). Ask Claude Lévi-Strauss—anytime you cook it up, it's going to be complicated. Hot wine for a "hot culture." If you don't know what I'm talking about (this will change next paragraph), you need to buy yourself copies of The Savage Mind (a gullible English translation of the title La pensée sauvage) and The Raw and the Cooked (La Cru et la cuit).
And now, back to that liquor bottle.
Let's just get this straight: this wein ist...cooked. With cinnamon (and orange slices).
|[e] Mulling RF|
I tasted a glass last night, and it is goooo-oood. I love good wine, so I was thrown off by the idea of mulled wine (this is term most often used in English recipes). Most recipe writers state the you should not "waste a good bottle of wine." Huh? One went further, to say that Gallo Hearty Burgundy should do the trick. I am of relatively modest means, but I don't live in that world.
Now I'm all verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic: Gallo Hearty Burgundy is neither hearty...not burgundy (discuss—see 2:30 of the video if you didn't catch the Coffee Talk reference).
|[f] Original RF|
And yet...it was good. Maybe it's those cinnamon sticks.
Or perhaps it's the orange quarters.
Whatever it was, it had a taste that knocked off my ski-socks (I think it's the cinnamon).* I don't know if I am ready to go down the mulled wine road in the future (I might stick to third-tier Bordeaux and second-tier Napa, instead (or maybe we should adjust those downward a notch). In any case, cinnamon in the ol' warm-wine was a big eye-opener (and sock-dropper) for me.
*Sorry if I sound naïve, but I usually have hot chocolate or coffee after my afternoon Nordic skiing workout.
Now I am just trying to figure out where the woman in the picture got that crown.
That's some crown...
Saturday, 15 February 2014
Konfuzius Institut New Year's Gala
Lots of language. Lots of music. Lots of food and drink.
|[g] Some crown RF|