December 2016

- Christmas Biscuits in Germany -


Christmas was over; New Year's was to come. We were, as the Germans say, ‘between the years.’ I had invited my Spanish friend Conxa to stay and now we were sitting in our living room at the table with a round plate full of Christmas biscuits in front of us. “Try this,” I said, handing her a coconut macaroon. Conxa, the connoisseur, tasted it, and her face alone showed her enthusiasm. From deep in her stomach came a purr of approval. “Hmm, that's delicious! I actually prefer savoury things, but these - what do you say - ‘Weihnachts-plätz-chchch-en’,” she laughed at this ‘impossible’ German word for Christmas biscuits, “I simply cannot resist. Did you bake them all yourself?” - “Oh, no, not those. These ones here,” I pointed to the spiced spritz biscuits, “they are from my Aunt Elfriede. And these gingerbread biscuits are from my god mother. Kerstin, my cousin, gave me the croissants and those with the marmalade jam in the middle are my friend Christina's speciality. The bright and dark coconut macaroons were all baked by my mother, only the butter biscuits, so the hearts, stars and Christmas trees, are mine.” - “So, you give ‘Plätz-ch-en’ to friends and family for Christmas? Does everyone in Germany do this?” - “No, no, not all. This is common in some families, others have different traditions - or none at all. But for me, ever since I was small, baking biscuits is part of the run up to Christmas. First, my mother baked with me, then I myself with my children. You know, everyone has favourite recipes and besides, no one who has started baking can stop very quickly. It is like an addiction.” Conxa was amused. “Hohoho, well I can certainly join in with eating the ‘Plätz-ch-en’ ”, biting into a croissant, briefly closing her eyes, and then saying almost surprised: “... not stop at all! But you should paint them before I’ll eat them all!” -  “Oh, yes,” I said, “you have given me a really good idea.”  And so, I took my painting equipment and began with this delicious picture, whilst we chatted, drank tea, and tasted more Christmas biscuits.


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