Rice Krispie treats conquer German taste buds

New culture exhilarating for correspondent

New culture ‘exhilarating’ for correspondent

Rita Forbes

All I wanted was a box of Rice Krispies.

As my contribution to the American table at a study abroad fair here in Bremen, I had promised to bring a few batches of Rice Krispie treats. Does it get any more American than that? I had only forgotten one small detail: I wasn’t in Missouri any more.

The night before the fair, ready to get my confection-making skills on, I confidently walked into a supermarket with an American section. Next to eight-dollar Betty Crocker cake mixes and six-dollar bottles of Heinz barbecue sauce, I found boxes of Frosted Flakes and Cheerios, but no Rice Krispies. “Oh well, there’s more than one grocery store in this city,” I told myself, and kept going. But after scouring the shelves of three more supermarkets, my hopes were sinking.

Acting on a tip from a fellow American, I took the streetcar to Duckwitzstraße in search of Real, a big chain store. After a long, dark walk along a busy roadway, I finally located the store. It was huge, reminiscent of Walmart.

I wearily rolled my buggy down aisle after aisle before finding the cereal section, complete with Rice Krispies. I grabbed three boxes; after that long search, I wasn’t about to risk running out.

Marshmallows and butter weren’t hard to find. I had my ingredients.

Back home, I met my next challenge: Germans don’t measure things in cups or tablespoons. I was going to have to estimate. My method of cooking is to follow the recipe exactly. I don’t experiment, substitute, or improvise. But I found myself shaking Rice Krispies haphazardly into a pot of gooey marshmallow, with no measuring cup to guide me.

Lo and behold, it seemed to work. I pulled and pried the resulting mixture out of the pot and tamped it down in a buttered pan.

Looking at my finished product, though, I started to have doubts. Maybe I had gone too far? In the United States, we like sweet things. I’ve been in Germany long enough to know that the rest of the world does not necessarily share the American sweet tooth.

I envisioned German students coming by our table at the study abroad fair, only to gag on my Rice Krispie treats and vow never, ever to visit the USA.

But then Gabi, my combination landlady and roommate, happened into the kitchen.

She eyed the pan curiously and sniffed it. I dubiously cut off a corner for her to sample, warning her that it was “sehr süß” – very sweet.

“Mmm,” she said. “Mmm, mmm!” With the sticky marshmallow in her mouth, she couldn’t say much more. But it was definitely positive feedback.

I looked at the remaining boxes of cereal and bags of marshmallows and rolled up my sleeves. Time for another batch.