I hope you’ve all had a fun, happy, safe holiday! I went down to my parent’s apartment in Tübingen and celebrated (along with my parents) with my aunt Inge from Australia, my sister Hanna from Japan, and my grandmother from the Lake of Constance (my grandmother I call Oma, but her real name is Gertrud).

Counter to popular opinion, my long pause on my blog has not indicated a pause in my cooking and eating. In fact, it’s the exact opposite! We’ve been cooking and eating non-stop since I got here! It’s been wonderful. On the first night my sister made Japanese food: udon noodles with chicken in broth, teriyaki chicken, aubergines, and rice. Saturday we had cheese fondue (for the second Saturday in a row! I would love to continue this trend), and last night we ate salmon with a lemon, dill, and caper sauce. Today we ate a delicious turkey dinner, for which I prepared Julia Child’s garlic mashed potatoes.

Be prepared for a review of my family’s adventures (I am going to try my hand at a photo comic strip but can’t make any promises) including our tree with real candles, our walk-out fridge, playing Nerts (the world’s best card game), Inge’s first-aid response, frosty mornings, and much more!

To tide you over though, I will give you a recipe for a couple very tasty drinks that I prepared. The first is egg nog, which I had to cook because German eggs aren’t very reliable to eat raw, and the second is white glühwein. Two holiday drinks from the States and German respectively, though this particular glühwein is usually not as well-known as the red wine version. In Germany glühwein is served at every Christmas market in special mugs. Most markets will have their own mugs, designed especially for that year. You pay a deposit, about two Euros, and may choose whether you want to keep the mug or give it back and spend the money on some more glühwein. Often I can’t drink more than half a mug of this incredibly sweet, potent drink, but the nice thing about this recipe is, like the egg nog, the cook has total control over how much sugar comes into play. I found also that the use of white wine makes this a much tastier alternative, and so has everyone else I’ve served this to!

Cooked Egg Nog

6 eggs
1 liter (1 quart) Milk
1 tsp ground Nutmeg
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
dash of rum or schnapps

Mix half of the milk and all the eggs together with the nutmeg, vanilla, and sugar, and slowly cook it on medium-low heat until it becomes a bit thick, stirring constantly. Add the rest of the milk and the spirits. I hesitated putting in any alcohol; however, I realized that without it the nog tastes more like vanilla pudding. Store-bought egg nogs will put in alcohol aromas, so without some it will taste like something is missing. The amount of sugar you can increase or decrease as you like, depending on if you like sweeter or more sour nog.

Weißer Glühwein

1 liter semi-dry White Wine
200 ml (a little under 1 cup) clear Apple Juice
4 whole Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick
1/2 slice Lemon
100 ml (about half a cup) orange liqueur

The quality of the alcohol in this recipe is not important. Trust me. It doesn’t taste better if you spend $50 on your wine, or dole out twenty-five Euros for a bottle of Cointreau. Go ahead and buy the screw-top or the tetra pak wine, and the non-brand liqueur. You will not be sorry – if at all, you will be happy you did, because you got much more for your money, which means you will get to enjoy much more of this drink!

Pour all the ingredients into a large pot, and heat on low heat until warm. Let it steep for about half an hour before serving. Don’t let it boil, as the alcohol will eventually cook out!

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