The story of a New Yorker in Berlin

(We have another lovely guest blogger. Meet Julia from New York who will tell you something about living & grocery shopping in Berlin.)

Although I set foot in Berlin from New York little under two months ago, I’ve already got a pretty great handle on the U-Bahn, picked my favourite doner kebap stand and for the most part, reset my expectations on German customer service. For my first time living in a country whose official language is not English, I’m rather proud of myself. However, despite the glow of pride I had when touring my visiting parents everywhere from Turkish markets to Tempelhof, there remains one place where I still feel like an absolute weirdo: the supermarket.

Becoming accustomed to hearing conversations in a language you can’t understand and tacking new letters onto existing alphabet knowledge takes a certain comfort level with unfamiliarity.. but I underestimated the perils of grocery shopping. To this day, you can spot me at Rewe lifting jars oddly close to eye level, staring too long at labels and just standing in the middle of aisles in general bewilderment. From an outside view, I imagine that I look like one out of two things:

  1. Extraterrestrial being, trying to look like your average human shopper but unusually entranced by packages of dried beans.
  2. Height challenged time traveler in modern clothing, inspecting examples of this newfangled “can” technology.

After a while, googling long German ingredient lists and trying to figure out the syntactical difference between Red Kidney and Pinto beans proved too painstaking to be worth it. I decided to stick to buying what I knew. (Is this a squash? Buying it. Oh, potatoes! I know what to do with those.) Luckily, this mild anxiety of buying mysterious food products led to much healthier eating: only eat what you recognise.

I’m also a short term Berliner, so the usual conveniences of having a fully stocked kitchen don’t make sense when you’re only sticking around for a few months (this time around, at least). Rather than feeling constrained by basics (always tomatoes, honey, mustard, balsamic vinegar), I enjoy the challenge to make some magic!

Here’s something delicious I made the other day, after a surplus of Puttanesca sauce ingredients:


Filled roasted red peppers



You will need:

 Red bell peppers

 Anchovy fillets

 Wild rice

 Chopped Mushrooms

 Chopped Cherry tomatoes

 Capers

 Fresh rosemary

 Olive Oil


Split the red bell peppers in half, rub lightly with olive oil and bake them at 205C/400F for about 15 minutes or so. The peppers should be softened but still firm. A little tinged corner of black is perfect.

Prepare enough wild rice to fill as many bell peppers you’re baking.

In a pan, heat a few spoons of olive oil, then dissolve 4 or so anchovy fillets in the oil. Add chopped mushrooms, chopped cherry tomatoes and fresh rosemary. Sauté until soft.

By this time, the wild rice should be ready. Mix the rice well with the sautéed tastiness, then add as many capers as you like.

Take the red peppers out of the oven, stuff with the rice mix and put back in the oven to broil for 5 minutes.

Guten apetit!

With love and leftovers,

One Response

  1. […] we went out last night, I thought I might surprise my lovely friend Julia, who you already know, with a nice and warm breakfast. We went to visit the Bauhaus Stiftung in […]

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