Euro Blogging By Pest…I Mean, Post

This April marks a very special three-year anniversary.
Do I celebrate with a coupe of Champagne?
Do I whip out the mixer and make a celebration cake?
Do I pull out what’s left of my hair and be bitter?

No, no…and maybe.

In April of 2003, I shipped two cases of books to my address in Paris, and somewhere between here and there, someone is enjoying a very carefully edited collection of cookbooks that a certain American living in Paris would really like to be using. So here I am, 3 years later, sans my favorite cookbooks, unable to find solace that someone else is leafing through my personally-autographed copy of Mastering The Art of French Cooking by Julia Child herself, (or using it for kindling), or Alice Medrich’s Chocolate And the Art of Low-Fat Desserts (if you’re snickering, stop it. It’s an amazing book.)

Living abroad certainly has many challenges, but one of the most vexing of mine is getting anything delivered. When I moved to Paris, a French friend advised me that you need to be standing there with your door open and your named emblazoned across your chest when they show up to make a delivery.



And after…


When Andrew announced Euro Blogging By Post, it sounded like a fun idea. Those of us living in Europe would swap packages of our favorite local foods via the post. A great idea, so I carefully spent a few days shopping, and off went my package to Kristina at Clivia’s Cuisine in Sweden.

A few weeks later a package arrived at my doorstep, feeling suspiciously light, from Gerda at Dinner For One. I ripped open the package to find lots of ripped packaging and a few meager crumbs, along with a few mouse ‘souvenirs’.


Apparently the little euro-critters couldn’t resist participating in Euro Blogging By Post #4 either, but at least they left me the bottle of Grüner Veltliner wine that I’m saving. But I salvaged a few of the Mozartkugln, each wrapper emblazoned with a picture of everyone’s favorite Austrian (and no, it’s not the Governor of California…), but the Linzertart, the orange-scented chocolate, and the sausages (Meat?) were gone for good.


Attached was a note from Gerda, “MOZART Of course!!” but thankfully she included a book for making Austrian desserts that apparently held little interest for the mice and soon I’ll tackle some of the recipes, like Burgenländer Marillenknödel and Powidltascherln, or maybe Weicher Marillen-Topfentommerl.

(Raabtaler Weinbackerl and Salzburger Nockerln mit Ribisel-Rotweinsosse sound good too, don’t they?)

Or…I could wait until the next round of Euro Blogging By Post, and take my chances….

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  • April 12, 2006 3:41am

    I guess this package spent lots of time on your doorstep to become like that.
    By the way, being in Paris I thought “great, I’m gonna go to WHSmith and buy David Lebovitz’s book The Great Book of Chocolate”. So yesterday, I went there and unfortunately they haven’t got any left :( Poor me, well I’ll order it online…

  • April 12, 2006 9:04am

    I was flicking through petite anglaise’s archives the other day and this seems a familiar Parisian problem …

    Fortunately, we in Melbourne don’t have such dramas. My shipment of books from the US arrived today, including a certain chap’s Great Book of Chocolate. Thank goodness it’s in there! I’ve been waiting for this!

  • April 12, 2006 11:29am

    oh my god! this SO messes w/ my sense of right and wrong. (and the cookbook saga is heartbreaking.)

  • James
    April 12, 2006 5:03pm

    Next time the Europe bloggers send items between eachother here’s what you do:

    Send two of the same item, one with rat poison the other without. Send an email to the recepient before hand (with a heads up). Put a small mark on the one that is ok to eat, or vise versa

  • April 12, 2006 5:24pm

    I’d declare war on all European rodents- this is unforgiveable. I, too, feel for you and your lost cookbooks. It’s truly terrible.

  • April 12, 2006 6:43pm

    Hi David, I’ve been a lurker on your site which I love (used to live in Berkeley) but had to come out of hiding in absolute horror! What an outrage on all fronts and a shame about mozartkugin. I will say that those rodents have impeccable taste.

  • April 12, 2006 8:53pm

    oh no, really, you lost your fav cookbooks! M…alors!! On my hand, I learned one thing for sure from living in the USA: people are much more to be trusted, for situations when you things are left outside, in the street, unlocked etc. AS an example, apples on the road side to buy, without anyone attending them? Not possible in France. They would be gone in no time, and no $$ would be left.

    You savaging food?? ce n’est pas possible!!

  • April 13, 2006 7:31am

    David, you have my sympathy! This is – in part – why I didn’t participate this time. Last time it took THREE WEEKS for my package to get to its destination. And of course being me it left two weeks late to begin with. I decided I can’t handle the stress of the French postal system any more.

    I can’t BELIEVE they lost your cookbooks. That is just pure evil…


    I envy the person who got your package though: I’ll bet (if it made it safely out of France) it is full of fantastic goodies!

  • April 13, 2006 11:52pm

    Oh this is so very sad!
    Especially the cookbooks, no fair!

  • April 14, 2006 3:37am

    I had to read twice to make sure I was reading right. It’s terrible and funny at the same time if you don’t mind my honesty.

    but sorry for your “losses”!

  • April 14, 2006 3:53am

    Thanks for all your condolences (and the link, Plum).

    I feel bad for Gerda, who put so much care (and cash) into shipping the package to me…and I even have a ‘guardienne’ in my building who accepts packages the dirty deed happened somewhere between the Austrian post, and La Poste in France.

    I’ve actually had worse service from courrier services here than from La Poste. DHL is bad news, but UPS is the absolute worst…they returned 3 very large cases of appliances to the shipper. They told me they tried to deliver it just one time, but the deliveryman couldn’t find my address. Heck, I live on one of the main boulevards of Paris and if someone can’t find my street, they’re in the wrong business.

    So I don’t know if the blame goes to La Poste, Austrian Post, or in the case of my missing cookbooks, the US Post.
    As for my lost cookbooks, I imagine somewhere, someone is sitting down reading them all…wearing a brand-new green Lacoste shirt, and having a good chuckle at his or her good fortune. And my bad luck…

  • J. Bo
    April 15, 2006 7:26pm

    Oh, my God, I can’t imagine the heartbreak of losing a personally autographed copy of “Mastering the Art.” It must feel like being punched in the gut…

  • April 23, 2006 5:23pm

    Sorry to hear about your cookbooks, David. And Gerda’s parcel, obviously. The mice can be so cheeky (I know – I’ve shared a flat with a few over the years in Edinburgh).