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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Worthwhile EU Initiative

The EU seems to have finally discovered Europe's towering strength: pastries.

Europe has been searching for years for something to inspire a new generation of citizens - a generation unimpressed by 60 years of peace and the ending of the continent's Cold War divisions.

And so the Austrians, to celebrate their ascendancy to the EU presidency, are touting Europe's cakes. There's a nifty poster, which has writing too small to read, and an even niftier pamphlet, which has recipes.

Here are the cakes:

AustriaGugelhupfChocolate-swirled bundt cake
FinlandLaskiaispullaCream-filled bun
IrelandSconesKnown to Americans as biscuits
PortugalPasteis de nataLooks like custard-filled cups
SlovakiaOrecovy ZavinRoll filled with nuts and raisins
EstoniaKaerahelbekupsiseOatmeal cookies
ItalyTiramisuSponge cake with coffee, chocolate, and cheese
MaltaImqaretDeep-fried date sandwiches
GreeceVasilopitaSpice cake covered in almonds
FranceMadeleinesPlain little cakes shaped like shells. Dip in tea to experience hallucinations.
SloveniaPrekmurska gibanicaCake layered with poppy, apple, cheese, and nut fillings
SpainTarta de SantiagoReligiously-insensitive cake with custard(?) filling
LuxembourgApfeltorteApple cake
HungaryDobos tortaMany-layered cake with cream filling
DenmarkWienerbrod"Vienna bread" -- known to Americans as Danish
SwedenKanelbulleCinnamon roll
NetherlandsTompoezenCream-filled cake
CyprusBaklavaSticky nut cake
BritainShortbreadWhat? Shortbread
LatviaRupjmaizes kartojumsA parfait of rye bread layered with whipped cream. No, really.
Czech RepublicKolachCheese-filled sweet rolls. Picture bears no relation to recipe.
PolandMazurekCake with butter filling
RomaniaCozonac moldovenescChocolate-swirled bread. Calls for fresh pig lard.
GermanyStreuselkuchenCake with crumbly butter-sugar topping
BelgiumWaffelnWaffles. Insert joke here.
LithuaniaSakotisThe Cake from Another Dimension
BulgariaMliako s orizRice pudding

Several of these call for the peel of an "untreated" lemon or orange. I don't know what that means, but I'm surprised anything is allowed to go "untreated" in the EU.

Other recipes hark back to the days when skilled European cooks would slave for days over their time machines, so that they might journey into the future to purchase prepared filo dough and sponge cake. Has anyone ever seen a recipe that requires you to prepare your own filo dough? NO. Filo dough was unknown before it started showing up pre-made in the grocery store. So where does it come from? Think about it.

From the spiritual residue of blood-sucking insects.