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As a teenager, I prepared for spending 3 months on student exchange in Germany the way most teenagers would:  I didn’t bother with practical lingo like

Can you please tell me the time?


Which way to the main train station?

I was a teenager and since practical lingo seemed to assume that I would always be late or lost, I scoffed.

Instead, I learned the most important words first.

That is, the yummy words.

Case in point:   I easily memorized words like

  • Laugenbroetchen (pretzel bun)
  • Schwarzwaelderkirschtorte (Black Forest cake) and
  • Schlagsahne (whipped cream)

But, I struggled when it came to words like

  • ??? (pickled herring)
  • ??? (liverwurst) and
  • ??? (blood sausage).


I maintain that I am vocabulary-impaired through no fault of my own.  My great-great grandfather immigrated to Canada from Germany and opened a bakery.  My paternal grandfather spent his childhood twirling pretzels in the family bakery in Kitchener, Ontario–a skill he could still demonstrate decades later with our Play Doh.

Pretzel tin from Bardon's Bakery

Here is one of the last remaining tins that used to hold the giant pretzels.

Yep, gluten and sugar both flow in my veins (and pool somewhere around my chin, mid-section and bottom).

Luckily, there are more remnants from our familial bakery past than the scapegoats of rubenesque, middle-aged descendants.  We have a few artifacts and a fair number of pictures, most of which have been compiled into a book by my father and aunt.

Bardon Bakery bread token

My great, great aunt Batche in front of the bakery truck. And the front and back from a rare bread token from the Bardon Bakery.

There’s a recipe for approximately 200 pounds of cake, in case I want to invite 1000 of my dearest over for a ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ extravaganza.

Wait, I think I’m on to something there…

Cake festivals aside, I have been meaning to install a sort of Bardon Bakery homage in our kitchen for some time now.  It was provoked by the gift of tea towels with one of the Bardon Bakery advertising images, which a friend had screen-printed for my sister, parents and I.

Bread ad from Bardon's Bakery

They don’t write ads the way they used to, do they?!

I started to gather some of my favourite of the photos and artifacts from the bakery book to display:

The Bardon Bakery

Louis Bardon Bakery, Berlin, Ontario (later, Kitchener)

Then of course, I went to IKEA (as you do).

I got a Swedish, red frame to put the German -Canadian bakery photo in.

I’m sure my great-great grandfather would approve.

Bardon Bakery in red frame

So, a lovely display of Bardon Bakery nostalgia is finally on the walls near the table.  If only I had some

  • Laugenbroetchen (pretzel buns)
  • Schwarzwaelderkirschtorte (Black Forest cake) or
  • Schlagsahne (whipped cream)

I could have a lovely Kaffeeklatsch (afternoon coffee chat) as is the German tradition, right here in my own kitchen.

Of course, since I don’t like coffee, my Kaffeeklatsch-es have always been less Kaffee and more Kuchen…so really, a Kuchenklatsch (afternoon cake chat) or Torteklatsch (afternoon GOOD CAKE–the kind with whipped cream, mousse-and-other-delectable-goodies-inside–chat).

But, since I don’t have any Kuchen or (drat) Torte, we may have to dip into the extremely large care package of German goodies that we received recently from a friend in Lahr:

box of chocolates and treats from Germany

Yes, that is Practical Man’s extremely large hand beside TWO VERY LARGE CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT BARS! (But, I’m not excited).

Choco Crossies (chocolate crispies), Ritter Sport Voll-Nuss (chocolate hazelnut Ritter bars), Lebkuchen (chocolate ginger cookie doo-dahs), Gummibaerchen (gummy bears)…

For some reason, I know ALL these words in German.

Still have no idea how to say

??? (Boiled Beef Tongue).

Thank goodness.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2014.
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My sister emailed from Tuscany this week and told us that her hotel room had only skylights in the ceiling, but no windows.

Poor, poor thing.

Not that I’m jealous of her trips to the Italian markets or the daily gelato she’s eating (it’s a cultural experience) or the million Fiats surrounding her that she’s probably not even noticed.

Two fiats

Why am I complaining? It’s practically like Tuscany in our garage.

Nope, not jealous.    After all, working with university students is kind of like Tuscany, without the markets or gelato or million Fiats.


Anyway, it got me thinking, what with my poor sister’s hotel room being what she affectionately calls “the dungeon”.  There is no sympathy because that dungeon is–let’s review–in Tuscany, but I did get to thinking about windows.

No gelato (boo hoo) in these parts, but boy-oh-boy, do I have windows.

Yay, me!

Tuscany should pine for these windows:

Tall ones, paned ones, broken ones, curvey ones.

All vintage.  All drafty, single paned and in need of regular painting, no doubt.  Some with wobbly, bubbly glass that would have been good and rattly in a storm (or when you stomped down the stairs in a huff because you weren’t in Tuscany).

All forsaken for new, shiny, vinyl things.   Bleech.

Some were abandoned, heartlessly at the side of the road, where, yippee, we picked them up.  Yippee!

By “we”, I mean, Practical Man leaped out of the car while I clapped my hands in glee.  Yippee!  He is what you call the “strong, silent type”.  Being the strong, silent type is perfect when you are asked to rescue another one of your wife’s collectibles, without the need to sigh or contribute snide remarks.

Apparently a little rolling of the eyes is permitted, however.

He may have been rolling his eyes, but he barely batted his incredibly long eyelashes recently when I bought two (more) vintage windows that we found, for a steal, at a sale.

old window with wallpaper on it

No, that is not lovely stained glass. It is dusty wallpaper. Bye, bye wallpaper!

Windows that my unfortunate, deprived sister doesn’t have in Tuscany, no siree.

I have big, big plans for these.  Yep, I do.  Uh huh.

Sometimes, I also buy doors (and then hang them sideways on the wall, because why wouldn’t you?)

Dutch door, hanging on wall

I’ve always wanted a dutch door. I think this used to be one.

Other times, I create a scene using bristol board, my giant box of craft paper and UHU glue (so I can regress to age 15 and pretend I am still in Germany eating Black Forest Cake for late afternoon snack.)   Plus, UHU is so fun to say, especially if you say it the German way:  OOOHOO!

Now you know:  OOOHOO!

Then, I call it art and hang it up, boldly, as if I am an artiste.

This piece (real art is always called a “piece” isn’t it?) is called “Waiting for Ferdinand”.  I was inspired by The Story of Ferdinand, the little bull who loved to smell the flowers.

curvy windows with art

See? Curvy windows make great art.

I like to pretend I am a Spanish sinorita with a flower in my hair.

Ferdinand, Ferdinand, wherefore art thou, Ferdinand?

He doesn’t respond, except to say, “UHU!”

scrabble lettering:  Waiting for Ferdinand

I think Ferdinand seems like a Scrabble kind of a bull.

This next one doesn’t have a name.  It’s from a time before I called things like this “pieces” and pretended to be an “artiste”.

I look at it while I’m trying to play Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven or the Apple commercial piano jingle.  It makes me feel as if I’m playing wonderful music by the seaside from my  home in a lighthouse.

Yes, my home in a lighthouse where I fly my hot air balloon to the mainland to get warm, fresh-from-the-oven baps and buy rhinestone sunglasses, once a week.  Tra, la, la.

Maritime scene, paper and antique window

This lovely window doesn’t stare, disapproving, at me like the Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, portraits I used to have above the piano.

Sometimes, I just put windows on the fireplace and then add a bunch of empty antique frames and favourite, vintage books.


Windows to nowhere, frames with no one. Love it.

These make me smile but they make my friend Bamboo Guy’s wife, very, very puzzled.  She doesn’t understand why every fireplace needs a copy of Peter Rabbit.

Sometimes, I’m not sure we can be friends.

Here is the view from our living room window these days:   autumn in southern Canada.

That’s the pool shed:  doesn’t it look quaint?  It has great, old-fashioned windows.

sugar maples, benches, shed

All our sugar maples are starting to snooze…

Now, I just need some gelato and I’m all set.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2013.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet         You might also like my latest book.

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