Food for thought:

In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true

Buddha

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I took a day trip with a friend of mine some years ago to a tiny village in the North Eastern part of Germany. I strutted through the town with my dark unruly curly hair waving in all possible directions and dark skin, completely oblivious to the shock I was creating in this sleepy homogenous town. My friend and I entered into a restaurant to have a meal, and it was then that I felt daggers of stares and glares from everywhere.  My friend said that they had been staring at me from the minute we stepped in. She is a native and said that these people had simply never seen anyone like me before and so, I became an object of both great curiosity and scrutiny.

As I tried desperately to ignore the number of eyes that were observing my existence and every move, I noticed that one pair of those eyes belonged to a little girl. She was not glaring or whispering, making comments nor pointing. She was simply looking and had an open look of curiosity on her face.

Her bright blue eyes were glued to me, and I smiled at her. We spent minutes playing a game of stare and smile and look away, until she finally gained enough courage to confront me. She approached me with a timid smile and tugged at my arm, asking me why I look so different than she did.

I was slightly taken back and not certain as to how to respond until I recalled a story that my mother told me when I was a little girl about her age. There was a gorgeous bouquet of flowers on the counter and I pointed to them asking the little girl what she thought of them. They are beautiful, she said. “I love flowers and so does my mom” she proudly replied. I then asked her which flowers she likes, and she responded that she likes so many of them and could not possible choose just one.

Good answer! I thought to myself. I knew then that my mother’s story would come across very well and asked  the little girl to think about how the world would be if all the flowers in the world were all exactly the same-the same color, the same shape and size, the same everything.

She made up her face immediately and said that would be “really boring” and not as beautiful.

Even better answer! I thought to myself. I was so incredibly relieved at her response, because had she responded differently, I would have been at a loss.

I told her (feeling very self-assured now), that the world is just like a garden-much like a flower garden but much much bigger. So people were created just like flowers with different colored hair, different colored eyes, shapes, skin and sizes to make the world garden just as beautiful and interesting as the flower garden.

The little girl looked somewhat confused and after a few second of ponder and big wide eyes, asked me if there were any purple people in the world with blue curly hair.

Wrong question!” I thought! But I smiled at such an adorably innocent question. I replied in the negative, and although she was momentarily disappointed, she quickly looked up at me again-this time with more intensity than before. Does that mean that you are just a normal lady like my mom with curly black hair and dark skin? I asked her to tell me what she thought the answer to that question was.

She said yes, and gave me the biggest, tightest hug around my waist. Her parents then called out to her telling her that her “Kartoffelpuffer mit Apfel” were ready (potato pancakes wit apple sauce), and she ran off looking back at me smiling and waving.

I watched her and realised that I had a tear in my eye.

Each time I eat Kartoffelpuffer mit Apfel I remember that incidence and hope that she does as well!

I also ordered Kartoffelpuffer mit Apfel at the restaurant and finished it off with a most delicious apple cake with vanilla sauce.

Kartoffelpuffer: Potato Pancakes (vegan and gluten free) Ingredients: (for 6 servings)
  • 4 medium sized potatoes ( any starchy potato will do)
  • 1 tablespoon of corn starch dissolved in 2 tablespoon of warm water
  • Ground pepper
  • Freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • Oil for frying
Equipment
    2 large bowls
      Frying pan
        Large spoon
          Plate lined with paper towel
            Instructions:
            1. Peel your potatoes and grate them finely.
            2. Fill a large bowl with cold water
            3. Place the freshly grated potatoes in the bowl of cold water and let it sit for a couple f minutes (this releases the extra starch from the potatoes)
            4. After the couple minutes of soaking, take out the potatoes and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Put the squeezed-out potatoes into the other large bowl.
            5. Add the cornstarch with water, pepper, nutmeg and salt into the potatoes and mix well.
            6. Heat the frying pan to medium high, and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan 1/8 an inch.
            7. Take out a large spoon of the potato and drop it into the hot oil, then flatten it out to make your pancake.
            8. Fry each side for about 4 minutes (depends on how thick your pancakes are). Each side should be nice and golden brown in colour when done.
            9. Drain the pancakes on a plate lined with paper towels and serve immediately.
            10. A great tip: You can serve it with applesauce/applebutter.
            11. Heat oil in a frying pan. You can use a non-stick pan and just a few drops of oil, if you wish, but for best results use 1/8 to 1/4 inch of oil.
            12. Using about 1/2 cup, drop the potato mixture into hot oil and flatten with the back of a spoon. Fry 4-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with applebutter and maybe a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy December 14, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I’ve been looking for a gluten-free vegan potato recipe for a long time now. Thanks!

Linda Langness January 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Such a well-written and beautiful story! I found your website looking for Maultaschen recipes. I once lived in Stuttgart and have been craving Maultaschen this cold winter. You have a wonderful website. I love the recipes, the quotes, and the stories you tell. Thank you for sharing.

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