Carpe Diem

(by Loreen Equitz)


My mother grew up in Berlin, with both German and Native American heritage, and we often traveled there to visit my grandparents, from the various smaller villages in Germany where we lived. She showed me what her life was like in the ‘90s, the history of the city from the Second World War, and where she met my father, who also grew up there, but with Spanish and French ancestors. Latin is definitely in my blood—when a Latin song comes on the radio, it gets me moving. It’s passionate and lively and makes me think of hot summer nights. Having roots in two cultures, I never felt completely at home in either, but it did give me a feeling of openness about exploring the world.

I inherited a lot from my mother—her open-mindedness, humor, love of travel. We both tend to stick to the rules, but I think you also have to break out to find new rules. She is precise, and I am the chaotic one. I forget everything, and she thinks of everything. Yet I am much more of a perfectionist. Seems like a paradox, but I can sometimes sit for hours at my work and still not be satisfied, while she has been long finished. She has a unique demand on her level of discipline. She works with cancer patients as a health care masseuse and lymphatic drainage therapist. Sometimes when she came home late in the evening, exhausted, I had to cook her food. It wasn't always delicious, but over time it got better and better.

Her work is so inspiring to me because she is confronted with death and disease every day, and can handle them with such strength and compassion. Because she is so aware of mortality, she lives in the here and now, enjoys every moment, and knows how valuable life is, just getting up in the morning and breathing.

A few years ago, I started competitive sports. My mother taught me that a master is not recognized by her success but by how she faces defeat and continues to try. She always made the time to drive me to training and showed me how best to prepare for a competition. Within a short time, I realized it’s true that you are what you eat.

Cooking with my mother always gave me a warm and safe feeling. She once said that a meal expresses her love. It’s impressive to see how much dedication she puts into a meal and then watches how it makes other people happy. I’m 15, still in school and living with my family. I usually cook for everyone, always trying to implement what my mom taught me. She encourages me to try both traditional Spanish and German dishes, anything from paella to bacon dumplings with sauerkraut, but the most important thing is that it's fun. And I now understand that no matter what you do, you always put a piece of love into it.

Every time I spend with my mother, I’m always doing really well.

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Loreen Equitz is a 15-year-old student and aspiring actress in Baden-Württemberg,

Germany. She can be found on Backstage and Instagram.

Bacon Dumplings with Sauerkraut


For the sauerkraut:

2 t. vegetable oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 oz. sauerkraut

1 t. caraway seeds


For the dumplings:

1 c. milk

10 oz. bread, cut into 1/2-in. cubes

2 T. butter, softened

5 oz. bacon, cubed

2 eggs

2 T. chopped parsley

1/2 t. salt


4 c. chicken or beef broth, heated


Heat oil over medium heat and fry onion until lightly golden.

Stir in sauerkraut and caraway seeds. Set aside.

Heat milk to simmering, and pour over bread.

Cover and let soak for 30 minutes.

Heat butter in a small, non-stick pan and add bacon, stirring until crispy, about 8 – 10 minutes.

Add mixture to soaked bread, along with eggs, parsley, salt, and sauerkraut, mixing gently.

Form dumplings about the size of golf balls.

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a simmer and poach dumplings for 15 – 20 minutes, until they float to the surface.

Serve dumplings in chicken or beef broth.

Serves 4.