Monday, September 30, 2013


In June of 1967 I suffered the misfortune and humiliation of being fired from my part time job. That's because I was clumsy and slow. Still I'm that way! I cannot peel potatoes or chop onions like most of you can. I just lack the hand eye technique to do it with speed and skill. On another note, I'm just fine when it comes to playing the piano. While loosing that job led to a few tears it also opened another door for me. The newspaper want ads posted a position for airline staff and it included training so I applied and was accepted because of my ability to be fluent in three languages.
The training was a fun but challenging week that required learning the short forms of major airports globally and included a major geography test. It was mandatory to achieve a high mark. I scored 95% and was able to move on to the next level to train for my actual position. I would be ground staff in reservations. I was thrilled. I loved anything to do with aviation and my salary was okay and there were the perks, free tickets locally and once a year globally. But before my actual placement first I had to pass a physical for insurance purposes. I qualified and was invited to a large company party held at a yacht club on the island off the Toronto shores. I was employed by Air Canada.
Shift work was a part of my assignment and the night pay was even better. 
I was sent to the Bloor Street office location in the heart of our bustling and growing city far from the airport. My job was to compile the passenger list of confirmed travellers as per travel agencies or passengers who called 72 hours before the flight for the pilots. I worked with about 7 others at one time. Since it was the summer of EXPO'67 in Montreal there was a lot happening and my passenger lists had some very famous travellers. One the sticks out right now is TWIGGY from the UK.
Friday as I was chopping away and recalling those long ago days my chopped onions made me laugh rather than cry. That sent me to get my camera to shoot a photo of them. It would be great for a blog. And as I continued to cook I realized that I might as well share what I was making. The onions were going into a big pot along with 250 grams of lean beef to be browned. Spices would include the usual salt and pepper along with a tablespoon of paprika and a couple of cups of water before adding this.
The sauerkraut was first rinsed and then added to the big pot to be cooked slowly to create a delicious version of Szegediner Gulasch, its original recipe coming to me from my Dad's family. He was from northern Sudetenland. 
Our Gulasch is usually served with yeast dumplings but this time I just boiles some local potatoes. That's because I had already used yeast to create our dessert, a nice juicy plum cake with fresh seasonal prune plums from the Niagara region. I usually make it with a baking powder dough but this time I went all out and did the other version. Yeast takes time to rise so the process takes longer but this method yields more cake.
I have known this as Zwetschgenkuchen since my early childhood days in Germany. It's a cookie sheet cake. I always add a buttery topping because I love the added flavour and richness but it's just as tasty without it.
Did you know cake is great for breakfast too? Yes and we ate it on Saturday and Sunday morning. It's a nice change from muesli and cottage cheese or eggs and rye toast.
Sometimes our brain just sends us to awesome places in our memory by way of some tiny thing, a trigger, in this case onions.


Regina said...

hallo, Heidrun
mmhh, du machst mir den Mund wässerig! Ich liebe Sauerkraut in allen Variationen! Zwetschenkuchen habe ich in diesem Jahr auch schon gegessen! Was gibt es leckeres im Herbst!

liebe Grüße Regina

Olga said...

I never would have expected a post like this from "onions" but it is amazing the little journeys our minds can take. Your dinner sounds delicious, the cake to die for.

Sandra said...

hubby had cake for breakfast today, it is his birthday and i had bought two pieces of carrot cake yesterday, no whole cake because we would eat it all. he ate a piece last night and this morning after he finished his eggs he ate the second piece. i love sauerkraut but keep the onions

Arkansas Patti said...

I firmly believe if one door closes another opens and it certainly did for you. How nice you got the bonus of free travel.
That cake looks marvelous. Now I am hungry.

Betsy Adams said...

Arkansas Patti is right: When one door closes, another one opens...

I love sauerkraut --but haven't had any in a long long time. My mother used to make it --and we'd have it with wieners....

That cake looks awesome... YUM---and yes, I would eat it for breakfast!

Dee said...

Dear Heidrun, in another posting, months back, you mentioned your fluency in several languages. I so admire that and wish that I'd had the opportunity to learn more languages.

As to little things that can bring back memories, we just never know when that happen or what the little thing will be. For you--chopping onions! Peace.

Kiki said...

Hallo liebe Heidrun,
aaaah, mir brennen schon die Augen beim Anschauen deiner Zwiebeln!! :-)
Dafür würde ich aber seeehr gerne mit dir ein Stück des tollen Pflaumenkuchens essen.
Auch hier ist der Herbst voll ausgebrochen. Erstaunlicherweise gibt es doch noch eine Menge Bäume, die ihre Blätter noch nicht verfärbt haben. Heute scheint die Sonne und gerade die roten Blätter sehen herrlich aus.
Ganz liebe Grüße,

Linda said...

Your dinner sounds scrumptious! When one door closes another opens but sometimes we focus too long on the closed door that we miss the open door. I am so very happy that you saw the open deserve it!