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Delicious home made Tarte aux Pommes

My first attempt at a home made Tarte aux Pommes was a success!

One of the most popular desserts here in Switzerland is what we (in the US) would probably call pie. It’s basically a flaky crust with sweet fruit on top, and sometimes a bit of custard in between. Here a “pie” is normally called a tarte. They come with all sorts of different fruits like strawberries, blueberries, pears, etc.

Last night I decided I would try my hand at one. I sort of cheated because I didn’t make the crust from scratch….but everything else was genuinely home made. With the help of Amber and Chelsey, the apples were peeled, cored, sliced, and carefully arranged on the pastry crust, then sprinkled with sugar, dotted with butter, and placed in the oven! It’s as simple as that. After about an hour in the oven, it was then removed and we applied an apricot glaze to the top. Bon appetit! It was absolutely amazing!! (and it was gone in about 5 minutes)
No doubt I will be making more of these in the future, and next time, I will try for a home made crust :)

Minarets in Switzerland

New minarets built in Switzerland

You may or may not be aware of the recent 2009 referendum banning the construction of minarets in Switzerland; you may not know about the Libya-Switzerland conflict going on right now, and I’m not going to go into the details (if you want to know more, click the links).

But living in Switzerland, if you read the paper at all, or talk to any Swiss people, the subject will probably come up. The issue has been mentioned every single day in the local paper that I read, and just the other day, I saw these “minarets” on the side of the road and thought it was a pretty clever idea.

The truth is (according to Wiki and a couple other sources) that there are maybe 4 minarets in the whole of Switzerland! (if you’re wondering, that’s not a lot)
I’m not taking sides here, but I do find it a bit strange that there would be a need to legally ban the construction of minarets here in Switzerland by amending the constitution.

What started as a small, local disagreement turned into a national campaign to save the countryside from un-Swiss, foreign religious architecture. To me, it seems a little extreme. It’s not as if the place is being overrun with minarets. In fact, I haven’t even seen a single one since I’ve been here (bar the ones pictured above). It seems to me that this constitutional amendment would bring more harm than good. Even now, in the conflict with Libya–though it was initially born amidst different circumstances–the subject of the minarets has not been ignored, and it has given Libya one more piece of evidence in the case against Switzerland.

By no means am I implying that Libya is right in its “jihad” against Switzerland, on the contrary. However, it has been rather convenient for Libya to use the referendum in convincing the Arab League that Switzerland is a “racist” country, thus gaining further support in its tiff with the neutral country.

First off, I would like to say that I must be experiencing some sort of delayed jet lag or something, because I cannot seem to get un-tired. Either that, or I just have not been sleeping enough…..so needless to say, I should be sleeping right now- but instead, I am blogging.

Now that I have gotten that off my chest, I will commence this blog of random, unrelated subjects.

First off: blue bathrooms. Have you heard of them? I had, but I thought they were merely a thing of fiction until I saw one the other day at the Lausanne Gare.

Where are my veins??

…and yes, I took pictures in the bathroom.

So, why are these bathrooms blue? Well, I’m so glad you asked! (not really…I was hoping you already knew)
It’s because in the blue light, one’s veins are not visible, making it practically impossible to donate blood in these restrooms. It also discourages any other sort of activity during which one might need to locate one’s veins…(e.g., injecting oneself with illegal narcotics)

We also had a laugh because each bathroom stall had a lock on it that could be opened by inserting 1 CHF. I guess if you gotta go, you gotta go.

On to item #2, Tandem. Tomorrow, I meet with a random stranger, who claims to speak French, and who also claims to want to learn English. Seems pretty convenient, yes? The program is called Tandem (I believe this has already been mentioned) and not only did they match me up with a helpful stranger, but I can also receive college credits for meeting and conversing. Sounds easy? Well, that is to be determined. I meet with my stranger tomorrow…

Of course this wouldn’t be my blog if I didn’t mention food somewhere in here…so I saved the best for last: Spätzli! It’s pronounced shpitz-ly (cute, right?) and it is as delicious as it sounds! It’s basically just a fat little egg noodle…I bought a pretty large package (it said ACTION! which meant that it was on sale) and I and my roommates have been eating on it for the past couple of days. It takes about five minutes to heat up in a skillet with a little butter (I also added some of my CHEDDAR CHEESE at the suggestion of my roommate Isa). It is one of my new found favorites!

here’s a cool artist I discovered today :)

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