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(EN) #ThatTranslatorCanCook: Birgit Spalt

Dernière mise à jour : 18 févr. 2020

February is the month of skiing, love and Chandeleur (French crepes' holiday). So many reasons to continue our foodie interviews with Birgit Spalt, English and French to German translator specialised in tourism, public relations and marketing.


Birgit Spalt, EN/FR>DE translator

Who are you?

I’m Birgit, a 27-year-old freelance translator from Salzburg, Austria, currently living in Cork, Ireland.

In my free time, I enjoy reading fantasy novels, cooking, horseback riding and going to the movies/watching TV. I’m a huge animal lover and plan on getting a dog soon.

What is your relationship with cooking?

I really enjoy cooking in general. For me, it is not just something you have to do if you want to have a balanced diet and eat healthily, but rather an activity I enjoy.

I barely ever follow a specific recipe when cooking but rather just throw stuff together with an idea of what I want to end up with.

Usually, the result is either good or at least edible, although there have been a couple of dishes in my “career” that I had no idea how to salvage and therefore, unfortunately, had to throw out. Since I normally don’t follow a recipe, I don’t try new stuff all that often. If I do I have a look at a number of recipes for a certain dish and then combine them to create my own version.

What dish do you like to cook the most?

I don’t really have a favourite dish, but what is very important for me is that there’s a variety of colours in it. The more colours, the better. :)

And the least?

Anything that involves a lot of fiddling. I’m happy to spend an hour chopping ingredients, but I hate it when you have to spend 5 minutes on every one of the 20 little pies or whatever you are making just to make it look good.

My cooking is focused less on presentation and more on tastiness – although I sometimes wish that I had nicer ways of presenting the meals… and then I remember that I think it’s a waste of time to do it just for myself and my partner.

What have you always wanted to know how to do in cooking (e.g. a technique or a dish)?

I don’t think I know how to make a proper steak. My partner says it’s easy, but I’m not so sure about that. ;)

What do you eat and/or drink while translating?

I usually only drink tea and sparkling water from our SodaStream. Occasionally a coke in the afternoon for that extra energy boost. I try to avoid eating while working though, but if it can’t be helped I nibble on some fruit and/or nuts.

Bonus: Could you share a quick, easy, delicious recipe?

My go-to when I don’t feel like cooking: Eggs sunny-side up with lentils and maybe rashers if I have those at home. Melt some butter in a frying pan and cook the eggs to your liking, season with salt and pepper and maybe some parsley.

For this recipe, I use canned lentils. Melt some butter with a bay leaf in a pot and add flour to make a roux. Then add the canned lentils with the liquid, and stir constantly until the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper. If you want to add rashers heat just a splash of oil in a frying pan, add the rashers and fry until they are nice and crispy.

Cooking anecdote?

When I was younger, my mum and I decided to cook Coq au vin because I saw that in a movie and was dying to try it – I think the reason for that was simply that I loved the sound of its name.

At some point in the recipe, you have to add Cognac to the hot pan, which we did. Only that we apparently had the heat still way too high and all of a sudden there was a burst of flames, and because we had the extractor fan on they were actually sucked up until there. Luckily the flames died down instantly when the alcohol was all gone, and no damage was done, but it sure gave us a scare and a laugh. :)

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