Samstag, 13. Oktober 2012

The one with the book with the most stunning first sentence - MoFo Book Challenge #13 - Pigeons on the Grass

 Today's book is one of my favourites as it has the strongest and most figurative writing I read by now (and I read a lot). Of course this is a very subjective point of view, but I can only tell how I feel about the book and if you liked my choice of books, this is a definitive must-read. I loved this book from its first sentence: I never read any beginning of a book that got me so fascinated. Even though I do not know whether any translation is as good as it is in German (but comments on amazon suggest that the translated book does not loose anything), I would recommend reading it, because it isn't only Koeppen's language which makes it an absolutely read-worthy masterpiece- I also dare to say that this plot is genius:
Koeppen describes one whole day in after war Munich (in 1947), therefor he switches into different perspectives and tells a story that finally synchronizes. There are American soldiers, famous actors,  a less famous writer (who somehow seems to be something like a main character and a personification of Koeppen himself), Munich women, broke rich men, children and a whole bunch of secondary characters. But all of them have one thing in common: They try to do whatever they can to make a living, they struggle with a situation they were thrown in, they have to face difficulties and some of them even experience the worst or best moments of their life. It is a book about denazification, about followers that just manage to take advantage of every situation and those that finally felt released from a dictator. It also is a book about race discrimination and one that might offer one of the most terrible moments in literature.

Koeppen is a brilliant writer: he exposes his contemporaries and their prejudices, but he also manages to offer a realistic inside of a destroyed country and civil society and a more than interesting perspective on the question how after war civil society dealt with its guilt.

Juniper berries for the win!

For a dish I chose a very simple Bavaria inspired but not too fancy option: I created a a vegan Leberkäs (type of meat loaf that is typical for Bavaria and Austria). As a start I used this recipe and I really recommend having a closer look on the other recipes it offers. As I did not have much time that day, I baked it in a muffin pan, which surprisingly worked perfectly well and halved the baking time.
The cake is something I haven't seen too often, but still a typical Bavarian dish. I made a quick version (means I used puff pastry, which was a very delicious  twist) but if you prefer to store it for a few days, I would suggest to go with the more common way and use plain short pastry instead. 

that's what vitamin c looks like


  1. I love the sound of this book and I love the recipes you shared! My family's heritage is mostly german (with a little swedish on my father side, which is where my first and last names come from). But my mother is 100% german, 2nd generation. For more than 20 years I have looked for traditional German food to cook (she only made sauerkraut) and I am so excited to try this Leberkas! And I love juniper berries!

    1. I love them, too!
      Last year I had German food as a MoFo theme (I tried to spot the culinary differences and found lots of strange and delicious dishes) maybe you will enjoy these recipes :)

  2. the sauerkraut cake looks wonderful! Are juniper berries a must? I don't know where to find them around here...

    the book sounds interesting too. I've really been enjoying your MoFo theme (though I may be behind in reading... I'll catch up. promise! lol)

    1. Nevermind!I guess you have the perfect excuse for having other things on your mind right now.

      I would say that juniper berries are like a must when it comes to sauerkraut in Germany, but if you don't mind eating it without them I don't think this should be a problem at all...

      If you don't think that's too freaky or something (I promise I don't know anyone who could rob your house) send me your address via email ( and I'll organize some dried juniper berries for you :)

    2. aww you're so sweet! if I couldn't find them anywhere, I might take your kind offer. thanks!
      (and I promise too I don't know anyone over there who could rob your house if you put your return address in the mail! lol)


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