Sonntag, 30. Oktober 2011

Jewish Museum - 10-year old anniversary

Jewish Museum Berlin celebrates 10 years and the week 24-30 October was rich in various cultural and educational events dedicated to the Jewish life in Germany's capital city. On Sunday, the doors were open for free to visitors all over the city. People waited in line and went through the security checking being waited by a rich program for young and old visitors. Among other things, there were offered guided tours of the museum or in the Jewish areas around, lectures, conferences.

Two gorgeous cakes on the shape of the museum were ready to be tasted.

The museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind, is organized in a symbolic way, as a testimony of the rich history of the Jewish life in Germany and Berlin, the dramatic history of the WWII and the problematic post-war reconciliation and current renewal.

Nowadays, Jewish life in Berlin is considered one of the fastest growing communities in the world.
The past should never be forgotten and Jewish Museum is an important place for rememberance. Photo: Menashe Kadishman, Shalekhet (Falling leaves).
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Dienstag, 25. Oktober 2011

A Foreigner in the Prinzessinnengarten

In Berlin, gardening is more about knowing almost everything about plants and looking for healthy food. Prinzessinnengarten is an example of creating communities aiming to re-symbolize the public/urban space by a return to a natural normality. 
I didn't pay too much attention to the botanical variety and I can't say what species I saw, but I always appreciate the richness of nature.

Memories of a Japanese garden transplanted into the urban lanscape of Berlin.
 What about a night in this inn?
 Creative design gardening

And various creative water-systems.

When I visited the Garden, it was late summer and there were various events organized there. I didn't find any gardener to talk with, but found the idea - of gardening - as appealing, although I am not sure that I can force myself into a gardening life any time soon. For the case of Berlin, gardening is more than a hobby, as the activity is reaching a social message, aiming to protect nature and to encourage the natural life, against the technicalities and impersonalizations of the daily modern life. We are in the country of the Frankfurt School, isn't it?
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Visit at the Museum of Objects

The Museum of Objects is not easy to be found: I'd discovered it accidentally while wandering around Kottbusser Tor. First, I saw an announcement of a conference about hermeneutics hosted there and wanted to find out more what it is all about. 
The museum is a testimony of the evolution and history of the daily life. We gather objects and we like to have them around as a symbol of material prosperity, achievement and emotions. We inherit, were given and bring them from a place to another, create their stories and include them in our personal histories.
The design and forms of the various small little objects are reflecting the changes taking place into the European social history. Bigger objects need bigger places to be deposited. An object is not always simply useful, it receives various meanings and significations beyond the daily use.
 The industrialization made us more careful about how do we use our time.
Through the objects you can understand better a culture and civilization. These sociological and anthropological aspects are driving me very often to the flea markets where I can freely wander through the mountains of objects.
This is a memory of my primary school, where we put a high prize on a good and original Pelikanol. I should explore more the cultural connections.
One of the merits of the museum is the wise way to use the space. You will not find too many indications, only main lines of the historical period and some technical aspects related to the exhibits.
We don't expect that the objects are purely serving us for practical purposes, but we decide to make a choice also based upon their aesthetical value, the colour and the forms.
Nationalism and identity building through objects may be easier than through books and discourses. Remnants of the WWII.
 The memories of the war and its aftermath are kept everywhere.
After one hour, it may be exhausting or boring to see objects obsesively stuffed in small spaces. But, think about: don't you have the same concentration of (unuseful) inanimated objects in your home? How often when moving from a place to another you suffered deeply for not being able to carry them all from a place to another. And, seriously, how many of them are you using on a daily basis and how often you simply forget that you had this object - that you considered for a second indispensable - in your kitchen
Memories of the very hip-years of the 70s...Another corner of the rich archive of objects.
 Religious symbolism of objects.
 I am convinced those objects weren't intended to be for the use of children's only.
A full furnished Frankfurt kitchen from the 60s. An almost perfect space management, with many shelters accomodating our crazy need of gathering food and objects. In such a kitchen, everything is prepared easily and fast and the woman is free to spend more time out, at work or in general, outside the kitchen.

Sonntag, 23. Oktober 2011

Slow sweet food at Markthalle Neun Kreuzberg

Recently inaugurated in a green and fancy formula, Markthalle Neun Kreuzberg aims to be a place for slow and healthy food, in a city highly preoccupied with the quality of life and food. The healthy, vegans or bio restaurants are extremely appreciated and the offer of shops and restaurants is easily satisfying the most exquisite tastes in terms of food. Periodically food fairs are organized all over the city, but mostly in the Eastern side - as Kreuzberg or Prenzlauer Berg - when producers are selling directly - and at a cheap price their natural products.
 This Sunday, for six hours, Markthalle Neun hosted a Slow Food fair of sweets.
The event followed the official re-inauguration of the Markthalle, on October 1, whose history dates back at the end of the 19th century. I am wondering how green and healthy were people back then.
An exhibition outlining the past and present of the Markthalle can be admired on the hall leading to the restrooms. Because of the smell (I was there for a food fair, isn't it?) I didn't see all the exhibits.
The fair took place between 12 and 18. I arrived there around 14 and was crowded some of the food was almost done. The sweets were home made and sold at moderate prices 1.50-3.50 for cakes or chocolate.
 Chocolate was the special guest. Almost logical as long as it was an exhibition/fair about sweets.
 Different marzipan combinations - including small cheesburgers.
Finding a table to eat slowly your food wasn't easy and many found isolated corners outside the area designated for the fair, part of the newly renowated Markthalle.
 Many waited in line for a chair or to take the food between 5 and 10 minutes. A reason to ask for more energy/chocolate.
There were offered various kinds of local wines and experts were wine tasting. I am not a big fan of German wines so I skipped this experiment.
 A new word for today: Federweisser.
The branded bags were prepared on-the-spot, ready to carry the precious sweets. 8 Euro, unique price.
 This muffin was looking as a failed exercise from kindergarten' kids...2.10 the (unique) piece.
 A tasty cocoa delight...
 ...and the precious cocoa maker
 Various combinations of honey were ready to be tasted and enter the culinary world of the visitors.
 Personalized pieces of chocolate, in autumn covers.
 So many nice jams, hard to make a choice, make I should make a new tour.
Unfortunately, Edith's products can only be ordered online, or found every Saturday on a Friedrichshain flea market.
 Too late for tasting some products....
but in time to find some cakes-in-the jar (I've been reminded that I saw something similar in Italy). Anyway, Olivia's products are available in shop.
I am a dedicated and loyal lover of Marshmallows, wherever they are....
 The tasty samples made my visit.
 I wish that I have somebody home all over the day to prepare some special cakes as often as possible...
The newly entered products in the life of Berliners is the frozen yogourt. Here, it was sold from an old VW van.
 Back to the cocoa counter...The small little pieces are simply charming
 One day promise to find out more about lavender, a new trend in food for me...
 Hudson's cakes - on my to-eat-list for Berlin...
 Pumpkin soup with vanilla and brown bread...3.50 Euro
 The small frozen yogourt portion, with caramel sauce, 2.50 Euro. The biggest portion was 3.50
Most part of the visitors were young, English speaking and Asians, many joined in their sweet exploration by their very young children.
 Back to Edit's...
 and another jealous look at the world of jams...
 A section from the old Markthalle, forgotten beyond the chocolate mirage...
 The front of the van selling the frozen yogourt.
 Nice choco-ideas for presents,
 with interesting decorations,
 and different sizes.
 Made in Berlin, of course.
The curious readers were offered - for free or paid - books explaining the sweet connections between Berlin and chocolate, the history of the slow food, suggestions about how to eat healthier and various recipes suggestions. I was expecting more interaction with the sellers and more stories about the food, but probably it was to crowded to silence the interest for selling more and more pieces.
The products weren't cheap, but you should always think about the efforts and energy behind every single piece.
 Back to Olivia, whose logo design I love a lot.
One of the things I loved here was the general mood. Maybe it was the healthy effect of chocolate, maybe the pride of doing unique and special things, but most part of the people I've seen were happy and smiling.
The final tasting: Kalterhund (cold dog) - too sweet for my taste, a lot of chocolate, biscuits and plums. 1.50 Euro.
After one hour and a half, I finished my sweet culinary experience and went outside enjoying the cold beams of the sunny afternoon.
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