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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?

or

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).

Bleech.

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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Texaco close upYou never know what you will happen when you’re on a road trip from Ontario to Tennessee, with a girlfriend.

The plan was to drive over hill and dale (and try not to eat everything we’d purchased at a wonderful/alarming place called The Cheese Barn before we got to our destination) to see the magnificent rhododendrons in bloom in the Smoky Mountains.

Instead, I fell in love with a Texaco.

I didn’t expect it, but we stumbled upon it in a little town called Lebanon, OH.  If you haven’t been there, I recommend their historic downtown.  Very vintage-y vibe with lots of place to spend any cash that happens to be burning in your pocket (see how vintage I am?  I still use real money!)

But, I was too busy swooning to spend much cash.   Like, a Harry Connick sort of vintage-y swoon.  Yep, busy, swooning over my Texaco.

It was beautiful, with its white brick facade and original porcelain red lettering.  It was a perfect match for the fleet of vintage vehicles bouncing around inside my head.

And did I mention, it was available?   Currently a swingin’ single building, just waiting for me to sweep it off its feet!

Be still my beating heart.  I’ve always dreamed of living in a place called Lebanon in a Texaco station.

Okay, maybe not.  But it seemed like a great idea that day.

All it needed was a vintage soda shop next door and I would have been all set.

Vintage Texaco station, Lebanon OH

Vintage Texaco station, Lebanon OH