Cross-cultural baking

After an unbroken string of 5 gorgeous, sunny days, today we get our comeuppance. It is 13 degrees. It is raining. And not just normal rain – this is the wind-swept, sideways, blow-your-umbrella-inside-out sort of rain.

We have friends in town and we did our best to brave the elements and do some exploring this afternoon, but the weather got the best of us. We were soaked through in just a few minutes, and there wasn’t a table to be found at any of the warm and cozy-looking cafés. So we surrendered. Returning to the apartment, I decided it would be a great day to do some baking. Chocolate chip cookies would make everything better. We took a quick inventory, made a list, and headed back out into the wild rain for provisions.

Well. I suppose I should have expected this, but my local grocery store does not have even half of the things you need for Toll House cookies. No chocolate chips. No vanilla extract. No baking soda. No brown sugar. So, Mission: Cookie was a failure. As a back up plan we grabbed some instant brownie mix. The box actually has an American flag on it and says “1-2-3 pakket voor Americans”, so it’s obviously made for expats like me, in search of a little taste of home, who can’t be bothered to do more than add water to dry brownie powder. It even comes with its own little paper baking pan, so you don’t need to dirty a dish.

The brownies have just come out of the oven. The tops were starting to burn, although I suspect they are still undercooked. The rain continues, and from my seat at the kitchen table I can see that it’s falling sideways again. We are warm and dry and relaxed, if a little restless. The brownies will make everything better.

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