Action for Happiness Orgs November calendar was all about trying new things, to help introduce us to new ideas, stay curious & engaged which can have such a positive impact on our well-being. One of the daily actions I really looked forward to was:
“Make a Meal Using a Recipe or Ingredient You’ve Not Used Before”
I jumped at the chance of being taught by a very good friend how to make Stutenkerle, a traditional festive recipe from Germany, dating to the Middle Ages.
If you haven’t come across Stutenkerle / Weckmann / Kiepernkerle (called different names in different parts of Germany), then close your eyes and imagine a sweetened yeast dough kind of version of a gingerbread man, who has a clay pipe.
I remember seeing people munching on these, for my first St Martins Day celebration & watching children celebrate with their Lanterne Parade, as well as during Advent in Münster, NordRhein-Westfalen, after moving to Germany.
It was a great afternoon spent with my friend chatting and laughing, bringing back memories of the times we both spent living in Münster, though not at the same time.
We also spent time sharing memories of our grandmothers baking, and the commonalities that Grandma’s and Oma’s from England and Germany had when it came to passing down cooking / baking tips.
One of the memories that came up for both of us was the statue of the Kiepernkerle in Münster – the spot where everyone seemed to use as the meeting spot when catching up with friends. We may not have been able to travel overseas for the last 2 years, but that Saturday afternoon spent making Kiepernkerle / Stutenkerle, helped transport us back to Germany, even if only for the afternoon. It certainly helped give me a mental health boost to get through the last few weeks before the Christmas period.
PS, I’m not sure what happened, but my Stutenkerle looked like they ended up in a fight with themself in the oven – how else do you explain the one larger ‘black eye’?? Despite almost forgetting to add some of the ingredients from chatting too much, it was very tasty!
The Kiepernkerle statue is of a travelling merchant, & with my ‘career geek hat’ on had me reflecting of jobs such as travelling merchants & roof thatchers from the Middle Ages; how they may have evolved or remained similar over hundreds of years, as well as jobs that have been created such as COVID-19 testers or COVID-19 Marshalls have been created as the needs of our times evolve.
Who knows how future generations will look back on jobs that we take for granted as being part of daily life.
For now, I’ll leave my ‘career geek hat’ off, and be inspired by “Make a Meal Using a Recipe or Ingredient You’ve Not Used Before” to make this weekend some spekulatius (German spiced biscuits) using the spekulatius roller/cutter I picked up many years ago in Aachen whilst on a day trip to the Carolus Therme