Saturday, February 2, 2013

C is for Cookie

A crime was committed in Hannover recently. I promise we'll get back to the photo safari soon, but I could not pass this one up.
Somebody stole the golden cookie.

The golden cookie was part of the facade at the headquarters of the Bahlsen cookie company.
Bahlsen has been making cookies since 1889. They even kept making cookies, along with emergency rations, during World War II. Now Bahlsen is an international company, still based in Hannover. It's CEO, Warner Bahlsen, is also the chairman of the board of the International School.

The Bahlsen offices*

On the facade of the Bahlsen building in Hannover is a sculpture of two men carrying a big pretzel with a Leibniz cake hanging inside it. The sculpture is over 100 years old and hangs high above the street.

*I stole the photo on the left from my friend Kaska's blog. She also wrote about this story but tells it in photos.
I should take a moment to tell you that German cookies (keks) are, well, not like American ones. The most famous ones, Leibniz cakes, are like butter cookies or shortbread. Most of their cookies are sort-of Leibniz Keks-based, but in different shapes and with different flavors. They are not bad, but they are no chocolate chip, macadamia, oatmeal-raisin, butterscotch or thin-mint. Most of the cookies we eat come from my oven. German desserts are generally good, but the cakes are drier than what I'm used to and everything is a little less gooey. They compensate, however, in chocolates and gummi candies of all kinds.
Before and after

Anyway, here is how the great cookie caper is unfolding:
About a week ago, the golden cookie, weighing 20 kilos, went missing. Bahlsen offered 1,000 euros as a reward for whoever could find and return it. On Tuesday, the Hannover Allgemeine Zeitung, the main newspaper in town, received a ransom note. The note demanded that if Bahlsen ever wanted its cookie back, it would have to donate the 1,000 euros to Hannover's animal shelter and cookies to all the patients at the local children's hospital. And not just the Leibniz cakes. The cookie-napper asked specifically for ones with milk chocolate on the back side.

And the culprit? Cookie Monster himself, or more likely his impostor (he's called the Krumel Monster in German). His photo with the golden cookie appeared on the ransom note, though he's looking a little thin and not furry enough to be the real thing... In the letter, the thief threatens to throw the golden cookie in the trash with Oscar the Grouch if his demands are not met.

Photo of the ransom note

Rough translation of the note (no, I didn't translate it myself):
To the cookie-less:
I have the cookie! You want to have it, and therefore on a day in February you will want to give all the children in the Bult Hospital cookies (as a gift). But they have to be those with milk chocolate in them, not those with dark chocolate, and not the ones without chocolate. And a golden cookie for the children in the cancer ward. Otherwise this won’t happen. Furthermore, you will want to give the 1,000 Euro reward to the animal shelter in Langenhagen. Then hopefully you’ll have the cookie. This is dear to me and therefore you will want to be really generous. Truly this is serious! Otherwise: the cookie will come to Oscar (the Grouch) in the garbage can. Really!!! When you’ve done all of this, I will write another letter that tells you where the biscuit is.
Cookie Monster

Bahlsen has agreed to the cookie monster's demands, and has topped them. The company has agreed to also donate 52,000 boxes of cookies to 52 local charities if and when the golden cookie is returned.

The real cookie monster has since replied on Sesame Street's twitter account. He tweeted (of course he tweets, why wouldn't he? Though it must be tough to type with those 4 furry blue fingers):
“Me no steal the golden cookie, but me willing to help find real cookie thief!”

The incident has made international news and is a great, accidental, marketing opportunity for Bahlsen. However, what will the 52 local organizations do with 1,000 boxes of cookies each? That's a lot of snacks for the break room. How about Bahlsen donates money to them instead??

Is this a crime? yes. Extortion? I guess so. It's pretty funny though. Could an international school student be involved? Possible but not likely.
If this is the biggest crime to make the news in Hannover, I guess we are doing ok. A scarier prospect is the possibility that my stash of chocolate chips will run out before I get back to the U.S. to buy more.

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About Me

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Thanks for coming to my blog. It started as a way to keep in touch with family and friends, and now has become an ongoing project. I'm an American living in Germany and trying to travel whenever I can. I write about my experiences as an expatriate (the interesting ones and the embarrassing ones), and about my travels. There are some recurring characters in this blog, particularly my husband Brian and several of our friends. The title comes from the idea that living in a foreign country means making a lot of mistakes. So the things you used to do easily you now have to try over and over again. Hopefully, like me, you can laugh at how idiotic it feels. If you have happened upon my blog, then welcome. Knowing that people are reading what I write makes me keep going. Feel free to write comments or suggestions for future posts.