Saturday, 6 February 2016

Der Faschingskrapfen Or Rather, The Carnival Doughnut.

February is here...

The Fasching ( Carnival ) season is an important date on the calendar. Well, as far as I know mostly in Germany and here in Austria. Amazingly yet not surprisingly, the shops are filled with fancy dresses and all that goes along with it as soon as the last Christmas display has been removed.

Most of the schools have a Fasching's party where the kids dress up as Cowboys, Princesses, Ladybirds and this year I saw a few Swat Team members in training. Clearly law & order is important to the younger crowd...The excitement is huge and some of the costumes extremely elaborate and dare I say expensive.

Now and again our local fire department does a Fasching meander round our village and as small as it is, the event can take up the whole day. Well, the parade is littered with important pit stops, or rather watering holes...a.k.a. the Schnapps stops.

The first year we were here, Bob wasn't to happy about it but that was mainly due to his being forced to dance a waltz with a woman dressed up as a nun and to his horror, in front of plenty of spectators. The second year, he made himself scarce just in case he'd have to dance again, and the following season he cleverly became part of the team and could relive his childhood dream of dressing up as Darth Vader.

Of course the Faschingskrapfen is as vital to Fasching as the costumes are. This week, the display cases were filled with doughnuts. Many of us do buy them, but there are a few women who still make their own doughnuts. A tradition dating back to those times where not all was bought at a shop. Gosh, yes, things can be made!

At the moment I am reading a fascinating biography of life lived in our part of Burgenland back in the 1950's & 1960's. An ideal and idyllic childhood and the annual event of making Faschingskrapfen was almost as much anticipated as Christmas.

Bensdorp um einen Schilling: Eine Kindheit im Burgenland

Even reading her description of how the whole house was filled with the tantalizing smell of a freshly prepared doughnut, made my mouth water. I loved reading how her Grandmother and Mother banned the men from the kitchen. Making these doughnuts was a whole day affair and they made it with a wood-burning stove. A real skill indeed.

Reading this book is nice and it highlights the important point that a childhood spent sans gadgets can also be brilliant, exciting and oh so memorable.

The next few days will be silly ones but just for good measure, Lent is around the corner and many a person will swear off doughnuts and alcohol.