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It’s the weirdest thing…

… is what the duck interjects every time the bedroom ceiling rose petal sequence from American Beauty (1999) comes up in our discussions about iconic movie stills. “Sure, red roses act as a symbol in this film. But why would anyone in their right mind imagine someone else in a sea of flowers when they could very well imagine themselves submerged in cookies (or pretzels, or chocolate, or ice cream)?!” Even though I think the red rose petals make for a compelling image that, I’m almost certain, is exponentially more famous than the movie itself, I agree with the duck. My enlightening daydreams would undoubtedly be related to food rather than plants. After already putting Cat, my pretzel-loving, hat-selling dog, into my preferred daydream scenario, I decided to grant the duck’s wish by recreating the least messy of the duck’s suggested superior dream sequences. I present to you today’s movie still duckification (in the style of Cat’s very inspirational story)*:

Thankfully, the duck’s days of spending every free minute in the bathtub among tubs of ice cream are over (hopefully, we won’t feel this hot next summer). So, swimming in a sea of ice cream has gone back to exclusively being daydreaming material, like the sea of cookies that, the duck has assured me, does occasionally appear on our ceiling when the duck is going to bed slightly hungry (which is the duck’s regular state). What do you like to swim in when you daydream?

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✳Vegan cookie box✳ #fancytokyosnacks #deliciousbakedgoods #carbsplease #inthemoodforveganfood #TBT

Foodmood boxThe duck and I rediscovered this picture on our phone the other day: About four years ago, when we were still quite new to Tokyo, our housemate brought a box of vegan cookies for us all to share. He got it at a Tokyo bakery called foodmood that specializes in beautiful and immensely delicious baked goods perfect for gifting or as omiyage. This mix of cookies, crackers, and granola tasted divine. And we felt extra fancy to be munching luxurious vegan cookies at home (I think this is the same box they are still occasionally selling these days – with peanut butter cookies, maple granola, chocolate-coconut cookies, nori-cashew crackers, ginger cookies, and black sesame sticks… and a serious price tag). If we ever make it back to Japan, the duck and I might actually invest in one of these fancy cookie boxes ourselves, and, ideally, share it with friends to literally pay it forward. 5/5 duck-shaped cookies for this amazing flavor experience and the opportunity to feel truly fancy. Thanks, old new housemate! ✳✧✳✧✳

When the duck and I first started putting these kinds of food posts on here, we did it as a bit of an inside joke because our friends knew that we weren’t the kind of people who would eat at fancy places and then post the aesthetically pleasing proof on Instagram. Well, as it turns out, we have started snapping photos in the few instances that we encountered photogenic food since. And we have come to mean it when we write that “we have started following @foodmoodshop on Instagram and are now obsessed with looking at all those pretty photos of cookies and cakes that they post.” I guess that’s like all those times I started using a word or phrase ironically, to later find it has snuck its way into non-ironic everyday conversation. Oh well…

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When the duck is sleeping: A haiku

cookies in spaceDreaming of cookies
Happily dancing in space
On a rainbow cloud.

I’ve drawn several pictures of the duck and cookies in the years that we’ve known each other, but there was never one that adequately depicted what the duck’s dreams are made of. There still isn’t. But this picture has come the closest so far. It had been years since I used my (too) cheap watercolors and watercolor paper, so I had forgotten how bad they are. On top of that, I forgot everything that I had resolved to pay attention to for a less blotchy result. To diminish the chances of completely ruining this picture, I decided to use watercolor pencils for the small details. It’s far from what I imagined, but I don’t mind it (enough to redo it) – that’s the mindset you need for successful laziness! The haiku is descriptive enough, anyway.
I was inspired by Ricky Baker from the film Hunt for the Wilderpeople that I wrote about two weeks ago. So far, whenever the duck and I were in haiku composition mode, we tried to adhere to the form as much as we (as fauxets) were able to in English. Ricky’s haiku, however, merely follow the 5-7-5 pattern and, instead of describing seasons or sensations, they are about his current situation or feelings. We liked that. So we did that, too.

Snacks: Winter Ritter Sport

Christmas is over, but it’s still winter. So, the duck and I decided to try this year’s Ritter Sport chocolate winter mix – this time without waiting until the end of the season to look for a box of miniatures. Nevertheless, we still had to conduct our (now) traditional visits to four different stores until we found a box. When we had finally gotten a hold of one (the last one in the store, it seemed), Winter Mix Duckwe took a closer look at the individual chocolate bars for the first time and then realized why they had been so hard to locate even though astronomical winter was less than a month old:
Even though they are called ‘winter edition’, the chocolates are definitely Christmas-themed, as is the shiny packaging. Like most other Christmas snacks, those Ritter Sport chocolate varieties disappeared from most grocery store shelves as soon as Christmas was over, with only one box of miniatures waiting to be picked up by the duck and me so that they could be tested by two of the most unsuitable taste testers out there:

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Baking to Night Vale

Last year the duck and I assembled our Berlin Baking buddies and baked Christmas cookies to celebrate that we had successfully made it through the ovenless period. This year we are over our oven excitement. So we decided to go back to our tradition of baking Christmas cookies solo (well, duo) which also sounded like the sensible thing to do this year. In the past few years whenever we’d embark on a duo baking adventure the duck and I would put on a fiction podcast to go on an added adventure in our imagination while we combined ingredients, rolled out dough, cut fun shapes, or waited for our creations to be done baking or drying. This year, as we were baking cinnamon cookies, we decided to go back to the origin of our podcast appreciation and caught up on some episodes of Welcome to Night Vale.Cinnamon cookie duckBack when I lived close to many of my friends, we used to have movie nights that we would not only spend trying to find the perfect silly movie to watch together (we discovered quite a few unexpectedly good movies that way) but also talking about all kinds of (funny, weird, creepy, annoying) things that we had experienced, discovered or read somewhere. One night, while talking about creepy stories, one of my friends mentioned Welcome to Night Vale and recommended we all give it a listen. This has probably been one of the best recommendations I have ever gotten which is why today’s friends’ recommendation post will focus on this wonderfully creepy podcast that began my podcast obsession:

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♪ You can’t bake the sky from me

Times are weird and sad and stressful and our puns are increasingly terrible; whenever the duck and I feel like too much is happening, we look at photos of food to calm us down. And, if we’re planning to meet up with someone, we take it a step further and bake cookies to share. Sometimes, if we really crave something sweet and crumbly, we bake a batch of cookies anyway, even if we have nothing planned, telling ourselves that we’ll freeze some, but eating them all before we can, ideally, while we watch a show or a movie that one of our awesome friends has recommended to us. We’re lucky to have friends with excellent taste!

I took this photo of the duck after one of our not-so-recent baking sessions that I want to tell you about about today, combined with our thoughts on a not-recent-at-all TV series recommendation that we finally got to cross off our list a few weeks ago (which is much too late), after having discovered a DVD copy of it at the local library; Firefly, the infamous series of which we only knew that it apparently ended too early and what some of the posters look like, has been recommended to us by many, but not watched by our stingy selves until we could watch it for (technically) free. Here’s a step by step retelling of what we thought and baked:

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Day 13: Our favorite German Christmas cookies

The duck and I love baking Christmas cookies! Even more so we love eating them. In an attempt to deal with our cookie cravings without ending up in a food coma we came up with a list of 10 homemade German Christmas cookie varieties we would like to eat right now (but instead just drew so that we can look at them and imagine eating them all). Here it is:

Christmas cookies

  1. Vanillekipferl, vanilla crests(?) – a true German Christmas classic.
  2. Engelsaugen, angel eyes – despite the somewhat morbid name we would even attempt to run a marathon if it meant we could eat a whole tin of those pretty jam-topped butter cookies.
  3. Butterplätzchen, butter cookies – we love the ones with a simple egg glaze (no sprinkles, please) that almost melt in your mouth – bonus points for duck shapes!
  4. Spritzgebäck, spritz cookies – the ones dipped in dark chocolate are divine! We wouldn’t mind a plain one, either.
  5. Schwarz Weiß Gebäck, black and white cookies – they’re the perfect combination of a vanilla and a chocolate cookie – in one bite!
  6. Zimtsterne, cinnamon stars – yes, please! There can never be too much cinnamon on Christmas… and the rest of the year!
  7. Mürbeteigplätzchen, shortcrust cookies – if they sport some nice lemon icing we’re in!
  8. Walnussplätzchen, walnut cookies – we add walnuts to our oatmeal every morning… we wouldn’t mind adding a walnut cookie instead.
  9. Kokosmakronen, coconut mounts – even though we’re mostly team coconot, the duck and I wouldn’t say ‘no’ to this Christmas classic.
  10. Lebkuchenkekse, German gingerbread cookies – they’re like a crunchy version of German gingerbread, but without the commitment!

What are your favorite Christmas cookies?

Day 11: Christmas baking

One of the things the duck and I look most forward to in the days leading up to Christmas is baking. We love to bake cookies in December and we used to bake lots of different varieties. When we were living in Japan, unfortunately, we had to find out that having an oven in a classic Japanese kitchen is not very common. So, we had to resort to other kinds of Christmas ‘baking’.
This year, however, the duck and I made use of having an oven in our kitchen yet again when we assembled our Berlin Baking Buddies and, accompanied by non-stop Christmas music, spent an afternoon and evening baking. Christmas cookie duckThe duck is pretty proud of the Vanillekipferl and decorated butter cookies we made. Well, was. They are all in the duck’s tummy now. Considering that we went shopping first and then spontaneously looked up specific recipes on the day (which was a Sunday, meaning that the grocery stores were closed), we are pretty happy with how our Christmas cookies turned out:

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Day 2: It’s beginning to taste a lot like Weihnachten

Well, it did, about three months ago, when the first batch of Christmas snacks hit the German grocery store shelves. Since then their numbers have been steadily increasing, making it harder every day to resist the urge to buy all the Christmas foods! Because assembling yesterday’s list of our favorite Advent calendars we had to say ‘no’ to this year was so much fun, the duck and I decided to present you with yet another list. This one covers one of the duck’s absolute favorite (dream-)subjects: COOKIES, or, in a broader sense, Christmassy baked goods that you just have to try if you want to get a taste of Weihnachten!Christmas cookie duckOf course there are a lot of seasonal baked goods that, in the duck and my opinion, you have to try at least once in your lifetime. However, to make it easier for you and even more so for us, we limited our selection to the sugary snacks we could find in the Christmas food section at local grocery stores. Also, because the duck and I are super picky, we want to stress that those snacks are by no means all our favorites. We actually do have rather strong feelings toward Lebkuchen and Marzipan, but we also want to give you the opportunity to form your own strong feelings and opinions. Anyway, enough blabbering, let’s get to it: Continue reading

Snacks: All the Matcha we could Alfort

Guess what- it’s still spring, or, as we call it, matcha flavor season! And since there are still so many spring flavored snacks to be found in the grocery stores (though fruity summer flavors are slowly taking over the shelves), Alfort duckthe duck and I just had to try two more green tea-y varieties – this time in the shape of those nice chocolaty Alfort biscuits!
At first, the bigger variety with a light biscuit and bright green chocolate caught our eye. Then, just a short while later, we discovered the darker mini matcha variety and we knew that we needed to try those as well – it was love at first sight after all!
In our first spring cookie test, the duck and I fell in love with the chewy matcha flavored cookies by the same manufacturer (I guess that makes us polyamorous). So, this time, our expectations were rather high, especially because we love the regular individually wrapped milk chocolate Alfort biscuits and the small snack-size dark ones! Anyway, I’m rambling too much. Let’s try to keep this super professional snack review rather concise for real this time:

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