Cafe Primrose

Anise Lollies and the Big Sky Country of Canuckstan

Posted on June 17, 2012

This is a post I intended to make yesterday….  But, unfortunately, I went out to dinner with my in laws. Well, that isn’t the unfortunate part. It is always wonderful to spend time with them. They couldn’t be more fabulous if they tried. I have been very lucky in this way. It was unfortunate, that I did something rare for me. I got really really drunk. Now there is the unfortunate part. We went to a fabulous little tourist trap down by the Rathaus. A favorite of my husband.  (It’s called Einstein’s and my husband is a PhD in physics…. I am sure the attraction is fairly self evidently obvious.) Well, going out with a bunch of Finns generally includes a great deal of booze.  They tend to have a major obsession with alcohol. Especially their Lapinculta, reindeer piss beer and their revolting Kossu. I only hate it because I very rarely like the taste of alcohol. When out with Finns…. Drinking is usually in the cards and a little for me goes a long way. My husband and father in law were wonderful. The way they listened to me slurring and babbling about how they must have put vodka into my wine. I was so wasted after just two small drinks I honestly did believe, the wait staff had put vodka into my glass with my wine. It was only a little young wine, not even clear white. Cloudy, and barely more than grape juice. They added this delicious, amazingly scrumptious, natural and organic rasberry syrup. And I was on cloud 9 drinking as much of it as I could get into me. Surrounded by very polite Finns very accustomed to holding their booze and not getting stupid. So, that is what I was doing when I should have been making this post the other day. Yes, feel free to add the chorus, “while we while we were getting high,”  to the end of this paragraph if it amuses you.

Anise lollies, great for wedding favors!

Homemade Anise, flavored lollipops. These are really just adorable. Great for any party. Spectacular for a small wedding. They are organic pours and they taste great! They are also tons of fun to make.

These are also from our travels. Before living in Wien, (also known as Vienna, as in Austria right beside Germany) we spent 2 years in Canada. We lived in Manitoba, in a small city. Actually a tiny city. About 5 hours by car out into the boondocks from Winnipeg, which is a bit of a small boondock city all on it’s own. Brandon MB, has few shops besides The Walmart, and little to do. Many people there farm. And many drink. There is little employment. Aside from of course, the maple syrup factory and I think there is a root beer factory close by also. There was also a tiny little university where my husband worked in the physics department. The reason for our move. Brandon University. They, liked to call it BU. I come from Boston…. BU, is a huge university in the middle of one of the top fifteen largest cities in the USA. Located, about a mile from Harvard University. I never could manage to call Brandon University BU. So I re-titled it, (and among the right crowd it is still so known.) TSU, Truck Stop University. Brandon, is a little place that truckers mostly drive through on their way to cities like Alberta and Calgary. Mostly the truckers, probably truck root beer and maple syrup. (We are in Canada.) There is only one telephone repairman and hook up guy for the entire region of MB. It took something like three and a half months to get a functional telephone.

We rented a small farm in Canada, which for me was fabulous. I love farming. I dream of a day when we can put down roots, have a few chicken and a large garden somewhere and just live quietly. It is what I have always wanted. In Canada, for a short time I had my vegetable and herb patch. I cared for two horses and a foal and managed a very small farm to keep our rent low. One thing I loved to smell in the garden was the Anise. I used to brew up Root Beer from the Anise  in the kitchen sometimes for summer parties.

A single Anise yummy!

Manitoba, is big sky country. Every time I eat Anise I am transported back to the fields with that massive sky above it. Or I am back in the car driving cross country with the U-haul trailer hooked to the back. With the cats howling in the background and the bird copying them in the back seat and the small dog on my lap….. As my forested, mountainous, coastal home, passes by opening up to giant seas of flat land the likes of which I had until then never seen before. I actually got seasick in the car…. Looking at all that flat.

We used to sit outside in the evening drinking root beer in the field with our friends late into the night. We would watch the sky in the darkness, miles away from the street lights and the lights of other houses. We would take pictures of the craters on the moon through the five foot telescope I gave my husband one year for Christmas.

When ever I smell or taste Anise this is where I go. Back to that beautiful little farm, where the neighbor’s horses would wake us up some mornings eating the grass in our front yard. Once again, the little Houdinis had gotten through the fence. Or the roving angry cow that never was properly confined, was once more terrorizing the farm dogs in our back yard. I never did quite figure out how to deal with that cow…. It once showed up uninvited to an outdoor BBQ we were having with friends. We are not vegetarians. It was awkward… Anise, the flavor where the land is flat and vast and the sky stretches over everything… And the angry cows rove crashing perfectly good BBQs.

Just spectacular! Such a lovely old fashioned treat!

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