i may have died and gone to heaven. 

ironically, my euphoria stems from someone else's departure and my subsequent inheritance – of this, the largest aggregation of german/austrian packaged foods i have encountered outside of europe or waldsee:

oh man.

i was already celebrating a return to our winter mealplan, which heavily features stew with yorkshire pudding, spätzle and goulasch, many variations on the pasta theme, and a goodly number of soups accompanied by the pebbles' unparalleled cheese scones.  and now – well, bring on the cold, the hibernation, the wafting steamy smells from the kitchen, the carb-loading and subsequent couch-bound food comas! 

i have plans for pretty much every item in the above photo except the kaiserschmarr'n (which i loathe – free to a good home!).  and the lineup extends through the dark winter months and marches stodgily on until about daylight savings next october.  i haven't had kartoffelgulasch since i was little.  i adore semmelknödel and would probably choose them as my preferred eventual cause of death.  i am intrigued by the aranzini.  tiramisu – i don't even need to say anything about that!

and this little teutonic food bonanza is wildly exciting for other reasons than just its good emotional associations.  having just re-read barbara kingsolver's wonderful animal, vegetable, miracle (about her family's year of eating all local foods, sourced within a 200-mile radius from their home), i have also been trying to buy more locally and eat more seasonally.  we've been heading to the local farmer's market on sundays and preparing some meals based on what we find there.  admittedly many of the huge-scale problems with agriculture in the US (beef raised on CAFOs, for instance) don't really occur in nz – thank god.  but we've begun to look at our groceries and try not to buy wildly out-of-season or exotic foods – snow peas from africa, asparagus in april, beverages that had to be shipped from overseas.  this rare windfall of european culinary goodness can, however, be enjoyed in good conscience, since (1) we didn't purchase it here and contribute to its local demand, and (2) if we hadn't taken it, it might have been hauled back overseas.

oh, and (3) the other candidates for receiving it here couldn't read the labels.  ;)

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