eisbeins, food stalls and plenty of firsts

So last week was a big week of firsts.  

First time I dyed candles with paint and oven baking to make Advent candles.  First time I made Christmas wreaths (see my previous blog) and first time I did something I thought I would never do ... make Eisbein and my last first (get it?) ran a little teeny food stall at our Church Patronal Feast Day.  The money it made was not mind blowing in the big picture. But I made money, I was able to add to the fundraising of the day and that is all that matters.  Every drop helps fill a bucket. 

What a lot of firsts I had! 

Despite the fact that my dad was born in Germany, we make very few traditional German dishes from scratch.  He came to SA when he went to High School so to date the best place for Eisbein when I was growing up was at the German Club in town.  And now it is at a restaurant in the East of Pretoria.  

The most silly of all .... I have never eaten an Eisbein until I tasted a piece of the ones I made.  Nor have I ever had any inclination to make it. 

Then the International Food Stalls were needed for the Feast Day at the Parish and I in a weird moment of bravado said to my son ... let us do a German stall with Bockwurst Rolls, Potato Salad and Sauerkraut.  A week before the big day, whilst in the Repository, a man said to me "so you obviously going to have Eisbein?" .... "yes" I said, whilst my son looked at me wide-eyed. 

Now those who know me well know that I have a pretty gung-ho attitude when it comes to doing new things ... so I started gathering prices for fully cooked and ready Eisbeins to sell on the day.  This is expensive.  Ridiculously so.  So then I struck a sweet deal with a major SA brand's factory shop and bought lovely 1kg Eisbeins - uncooked.  I went with ten. Because I had never done it before and mostly so that when they did not sell I would only have 10 lying there and not look like a complete idiot.   I also have my daughter, a professional chef, on speed dial.  She was proud that I did not have to call her. 

Let me just jump to the end of the story ..... we added up the people who came and asked if there were still Eisbeins available to have there, and to take home with them ...... if I had made 60 I would have been closer to the mark.  Live and learn ne'.  Self-confidence needs an adjustment it seems. 

So I got a kind friend to let me use their stove which can take a lot of pots at once and on Saturday afternoon I set about cooking my little round pieces of beautiful Eisbein.  I kept looking into the pot ... not sure what I was looking for, but I boiled those little buggers until they were fall apart soft.  And then stored them overnight. 

We set up our stall with German flags, home-made posters (no I did not use glitter, I was banned for this event from glitter) and put out all our goodies.  Thank heavens for super salesmen one and two ....  my son and his friend and then a 3rd friend who joined and they really performed when it got busy.  

So I grilled the Eisbein and when my son carried it from the oven and placed it on our stall table .... we sold the ten in literally 4 minutes.  Boom.  And had to take our sign down.   I was both excited and mortified all at once. 

We sold lots of bockwurst and weirdly people came with their very delicious food from other stalls and asked to buy potato salad (I make mean potato salad) so all in all we did ok.  Having a stand is not something I would ever have done in the past.  

Now I have received requests to make and sell Eisbein, from a number of people.  One described it now to me on the phone as "to die for, crispy on the outside and fall apart on the inside".  Go figure - I can make Eisbein.  Dad must be grinning. 

So the handful of people who wanted one and never got one, I will be making yours especially, as arranged, at the end of the month - and in addition I got an order for several for a dinner party.  So I am going to take on that too.  

Go figure - 4 new things in a week.  
Never too old to learn. 


me and my super awesome son, Nic


till soon
c'est la vie xxx






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