NEW BOOK: Photos for No Apparent Reason (PFNAR) 2015!

posted in: USA | 0

Announcing my latest book: Photos for No Apparent Reason 2015! This glossy coffee-table photography book contains all the Photos for No Apparent Reason at the end of each blog post from 2015. Forty-eight full-color photos and all the details about each one is available for sale now!

Get Ready for Oktoberfest! Visit the International Beer Garten near Tampa, FL

It's almost time for Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. However, if you have no Lederhosen or are in the Tampa area of Florida, you can celebrate the German tradition with a couple of quaffs from the International Beer Garten in Lutz, FL, just off the Suncoast Parkway at Highway 54 in Pasco County. Tell 'em I sent ya. Prost!

Historic Lutz, FL, Train Station – and new subscription method!

Before we get to the train station photos:

I’m super-excited to announce a new subscription method for this blog! It’s a higher-tech system than the old one and will serve both me and you better. Look at the top of the sidebar on the right just beside this post and you’ll see the new subscription form.

Please fill out the form and subscribe via the new system, even if you already receive the posts or notifications in the old way. The old way will be discontinued soon, and I don’t want you to miss a single post. read more

Radi, the German Radish They Eat with Beer

posted in: Recipes | 0

Curly-cut radishes - they call them Radi at Oktoberfest in Germany, and their salty goodness is the perfect accompaniment to beer. You can make them at home with a vegetable spiral-cutter and little else. They are delicious as well as raw vegan, gluten-free, non-dairy and all that other healthy stuff.

German Biskuit (Sponge Cake Base) for Obstkuchen (Fresh Fruit Tortes)

posted in: Europe | 4

With summer coming on I thought I’d give you a typical German summer dessert recipe to celebrate with. Germans call it Biskuit (“beese-kveet”). Although it looks like the word “biscuit”, it translates as “sponge cake”. Not just a sponge cake, but specifically a sponge cake base to be topped with fresh fruit. In English we call the finished product a fruit torte; in German, Obstkuchen.

Incidentally, the difference between a fruit torte and a fruit tart is that a tart has a pie crust under the fruit instead of a sponge cake layer. read more

German Jägerschnitzel Recipes

posted in: Europe | 4

Jägerschnitzel (pronounced “YAY-gr” like the first part of Jägermeister) looks like a complicated word before you get to know it. Now that I am close friends with it, it makes my mouth water every time. It literally translates as “Hunter’s Schnitzel” which means a basic German pork cutlet, pounded thin and pan friend with a super-delicious mushroom cream sauce over it. I may have to go make myself one before I can continue this post…

While you wait, here’s a shot of the most recent Jägerschnitzel I had at a restaurant this past weekend: read more

Schnitzel, Wiener and Otherwise

posted in: Europe | 1

Before we begin, I’m asking you PLEASE to subscribe to my blog post feed or subscribe via email. I’m trying to build my followers and I promise not to share your information with anyone – ever! So please sign up, won’t you? It’s just to the right, over there —->


This week, I’m here to set the record straight about schnitzel. It’s not anything like a hot dog, despite the menu at that fast food joint in the States.

To make a schnitzel, select a boneless cutlet of pork, pound it thin,
then bread it and fry it in butter. It’s a very similar preparation to
scallopini. Easy and so delicious! Add to that the fact that most
schnitzels are usually served with French fries and a cold beer; it’s no
wonder most Americans who spend any time in Germany are hooked for
life! read more

Summer Lunch at Holzkirchen, Part 1

posted in: Europe | 2
It’s my fault; I’ve spoiled you. I’ve always felt it necessary to show you about 35-40 photos and relate the entire story all at once in each post. Though I enjoy it and do it gladly, it is a rather big job and takes up the majority of a Sunday writing and processing photos.Well, you’ve probably noticed I haven’t posted anything for a couple of weeks. I’m in the process of moving and amid several other things which are consuming much of my former free time, including Sundays. I’m not complaining, but I admit I’ve neglected telling you about my life in favor of actually living it. I’ve hit upon a solution (yeah, rocket science – get ready): In the future I’m creating two or three posts out of one day or event.  So, I’m scaling back to make better use of my time and to get an actual post out every week, starting with this one. And, hey, maybe it will make you want to read the next post even more than you already do (and you DO, right?). Oh, and a new Photo for No Apparent Reason will continue to appear at the end of each post.So, this is Part 1. Here goes…Last year about this time I posted a soothing blog about an end-of-summer bike ride I took. The weather this year, at least this day, was very similar. Mild, blue sky, white clouds, very warm during the afternoon but not too hot overall.I had an online student named Rosa who lives near Bamberg in Würzburg. She is about my age and does freelance work translating documents issued by the European Union from English into German. Fascinating lady and we had a lot of fun with our conversation course via Skype. As the last “class” she suggested I meet her in Würzburg where she would take me to a favorite lunch spot of hers. Hey, you know me – I agreed almost before she got the invitation out of her mouth!So, on a Friday, I hopped a train for the 40-minute ride where she picked me up at the train station. We rode about 30 minutes on this perfect summer day to a small town called Holzkirchen. There stands an old millhouse that has been converted into an inn and restaurant. It’s called Holzmühle, which means ‘wooden mill’ in English. Of course it was located near a stream and we walked along the little brook on our way from the parking lot:

Just before the bridge into the grounds of the inn was a little wooden house built over the stream. Rosa told me it was used for wedding receptions and such:

Of course by now I was totally charmed by the place:

Rosa told me this working mill had fallen into disrepair several years ago. Then the current owners bought it and restored it to its current incarnation. They have guestrooms, whose windows you can see on the right above where the car is parked. We made our way down to the left and into the restaurant. You have to go in to order then choose your seat, and they’ll bring the finished dishes to your table. I liked the block-print motif of the menu – notice the mill wheel at the bottom (no they don’t serve donuts): Here’s a shot of lovely Rosa in the middle of the traditional main dining room:

I captured the beautiful sunlight streaming through the window behind her:

Comfy as the dining room was, we chose this table outside in the garden, quite near the little wooden house over the stream you saw before:

I chose the aubergine melanzane for my lunch and was NOT disappointed. The fresh goat cheese and basil really set it off, not to mention the fresh baguette:

For dessert we split a portion of the blueberry cheesecake, at the top of the plate in this photo, and a portion of fresh plum streusel cake. Now, I’m not particularly enchanted by plum streusel cake, but this one was phenomenal! Note the Bavarian state flag design on the tablecloth: read more

Old School Beer Education in Bad Staffelstein, Germany

posted in: Europe | 5

Teaching English here in Germany affords me a lot of information about the local dialect and traditions that tourists wouldn’t normally discover. And that’s why I’m here.

Here’s a good example. Two of the groups I’ve taught consisted of IT team managers at Deutsche Telekom, the German equivalent of AT&T or Verizon. I came to know them a couple of years ago and met with them almost every week on Thursday at their office building. We all grew to be friends.In the course of teaching them English, I was privileged to learn about their families, hobbies, projects and opinions. And last June they invited me and my husband for a “short walk” to a well-known local landmark, Staffelberg. I included quote marks in the previous sentence because a German’s idea of a short walk is vastly different from an American’s idea of one. However, they took it easy on us and we had a grand time.I made a slideshow out of some of the photos I took that day. Peep it:

Excursion to Staffelberg Germany with ESL Group from Karren Tolliver on Vimeo.

The first song in the slideshow is called the Frankenlied, or the Franconian Anthem, which sings the praises of the glorious local land. The second song is called Es Gibt Kein Bier auf Hawaii, or “There is No Beer in Hawaii,” in which the singer says his fiance wants to go to Hawaii for her honeymoon and he doesn’t want to go because there is no (German) beer there. So that’s why they are not married yet, after 12 years of engagement! One of the lines in the chorus is “Hula hula doesn’t make your thirst go away.” They taught me about these songs at dinner after our walk. read more