Alsatian Folklore Museum in Strasbourg

On our most recent trip to Strasbourg, we stopped at the Alsatian Folklore Museum, a.k.a. the Musée Alsacien, and we loved it. We viewed most of it in an hour, but it was so interesting, we could have easily stayed longer, had it not been for having to return to our hotel in time for check-out.

There are many sections to view, such as traditional rooms, costumes, paintings and historical Alsatian tools, glass paintings, and masks.

What caught my attention were these Kleiekotzer or Mehlkotzer (the one puking flour) or in proper English: flour mill spouts. The term Kleiekotzer dates back to the 18th and 19th century, when these masks were used by millers to let the flour pass through the masks’ mouth into the troughs.

 

In 1903, the antique dealer, Robert Forrer, donated this large collection of carved wooden flour mill spouts to the Society of the Alsatian Museum in order to obtain its membership. His donation back then included 20 mill spouts, 20 chairs, and 30 cask bungs, but today this museum room only houses his flour mill spout collection.

Working at Camp King Oberursel in the mid-1980s

On one of the ‘Camp King Open House’ events, I ran into Lale, whom I had met in 1998, when both our sons were at the same kindergarten. At the time of the event, she told me of her employment at Camp King in the 90s. So this is her little story about how she got the job and what working there meant for civilians.

Q: You have German and American citizenship, I assume. Was it easier getting a job in Camp King with an American passport?
 
A: Actually, I only have American citizenship, because dual citizenship for Germany and the USA was not possible then (*Lale was born on U.S. soil, so the U.S. Government does not recognize dual citizenship with Germany). When we moved to Germany, my stepfather took a job with the army in Offenbach, and that’s how we got an ID card with privileges. When he returned to the USA in 1981, we had to turn in our ID cards. We were still able to enter the the military camp as long as another soldier would sign us in. We had to present our passports, nevertheless.
 
Q: When and in what position did you work at Camp King?

 

A: I was part of the cleaning staff for the military base. My favorite place to work was the gym. I was even once nominated “Employee of the Month” (Lale added, “a thorough cleaning goes a long way”, while laughing). This award made me proud in the sense of my work being appreciated. Once I was even asked to clean the top-secret underground offices. I only cleared the bins in the company of an MP. We had to leave the building immediately after that.
I can’t quite remember how long I worked there. It was only a temporary solution until I could find permanent employment. I worked there sometime in 1984.

 

Q: During your time at Camp King in 1984, what are your most memorable moments?

 

A: Oh, the fun times we had (snickering). At the former Disco ‘La Soiree’ in the Vorstadt (today: Bärenarkaden shopping center), we used to party and sometimes went back to the base to party a little bit more. Ela’s Stübchen was also a popular spot. A lot of friendships developed during that time, some in a romantic way.
Years later, in the early 90s… there was one scary moment when I saw G.I.s walking the Camp King fence with their machine pistols. This could have been the time of the Kosovo war. The soldiers, usually always friendly, were under some stress during that time. I tried to stay away from that fence as far as possible on my way to the then nearest U-Bahn station ‘Kupferhammerweg’.
It must have been during that time that leaving camp became more restricted – no entry between 2 – 5am.
Some went out nevertheless and then we just partied till 5am, when the gates opened again.

 

Q: In those years you mentioned, 1984 to early 90s, did you live close to Camp King? Did you hear the daily reveille calls? Some German neighbors found this annoying.
 
A: Unfortunately, I can’t remember this. Our apartment was facing the Feldberg Mountain, and so it was relatively quiet. But I do remember loudspeakers all over the camp. There were also announcements made throughout the day, but I can’t remember about what.
 
Q: You had mentioned a plain building near the tennis courts? Was this a special place?
 
A: Right between the tennis courts and the motor park, there was this square building, made of cement, and I believe it housed the computer server and all the equipment. Once I had to cover my colleague’s shift and my task was to clean the bins and this had to be carried out in the presence of a civil servant.
Thanks, Lale, for sharing this with us.
Ela’s Stübchen in the Henchenstraße has been closed for a few years. I was there once, it might have been 2010, and then it was called the Schnitzel Haus by some friends.

Saturday Market in Suresnes, Paris

I could not find a boulangerie open on Saturdays (!), so I bought some day-old croissants at a small supermarket. And yes, I gave up quickly.

I am sure there are plenty of boulangeries open for business if you’re willing to search in an unknown neighborhood, but I was too hungry to continue looking for one. I thought about asking one of the locals on the street, but knowing how this would end, ” à droite…. à gauche…. encore à droite….”, I chose the easy way out.

Around 11am, we went to the nearby market to buy roasted chicken with potatoes, seafood, and cheese for lunch. Here are some impressions of a French market on a Saturday morning.

What looked like cantaloupe from a distance was actually 36-month old Dutch cheese called Mimolette. You could have fooled me. Even when wearing my glasses.

Aged Dutch cheese - Mimolette

Aged Dutch cheese – Mimolette

Of course, the two Marylanders (my husband and his brother, a veteran Paris expat) had to get seafood for lunch.

Market in Suresnes, Paris

Market in Suresnes, Paris

And yes, the French do eat horse meat. The stand offered chevaline (horse meat) and it looked pretty much sold out at 11:30am.

Horse meat at the market

Horse meat at the market

 

At home, the big boys enjoyed their seafood lunch, while I had poulet rôti and potatoes for lunch. Can’t get the farm girl out of me.

seafood lunch

So we saw some unusual cheese, the boys splurged on seafood, I stuck to the familiar poulet rôti, and horse meat was sold out. I love Paris.

My Experimental Kitchen – Korean Jeon

Aeri’s Korean Cookbook is a wonderful and easy to use cookbook. Her directions are short and precise, her photos are descriptive and for a personal touch, she adds a bit of her own childhood food experience.

Very recommendable!

I started with the recipe for Zucchini Jeon (aehobak jeon), which looked very easy to make, and it was! I cut the zucchini julienne (2 cups), added some green onions, and a dash of red hot pepper (optional).

zucchini julienne

To make the batter: 1 egg, a bit of salt, 1 cup flour and 1 cup water. Then add the vegetables.

zucchini in batter

Drop the mix, spoon by spoon, into the hot frying pan (use vegetable oil). Fry until golden brown on both sides.

zucchini jeon and potato jeon

The Zucchini Jeon were really good and easy to make. Serve with a dip: 1 part soy sauce, 1 part vinegar, and add some sesame seeds. All done.

This is a good snack, or it can be served as a side dish.