Dr. Oetker Christmas Edition
In 1891, Dr. August Oetker founded a company for the production of baking soda, today one of Germany’s largest family enterprises. Oetker didn’t invent baking soda – the formula came from the United States – but he was an expert in its marketing. From the beginning, he emphasized an image of healthyness and quality. By placing ads in practically all German daily newspapers of the time he systematically popularized his “Dr. Oetker Bakin” sold in handy 10 gram packages – just enough for one pound of flour. Additionally, Oetker aquired a printing workshop and published “Dr. Oetker Baking Books” with recipes requiring the new powder. Still today an image of superior quality sticks to Dr. Oetker baking products – and is reflected in their price.
This year, Dr. Oetker joined forces with Dr. – err – Mister K and enriched German grocery stores with a special Christmas series of baking mixtures in eye-catching green and blue packages. It’s Mister K Informal that is sprawled out almost sloppily over Coconut Macaroons, Winter Muffins, Vanilla Crescents & Co. Meanwhile the Futura family, one of Dr. Oetker’s workhorses, is busy with grams of butter, eggs, whipcream, calories and temperatures …
Prominently placed on the top of the packages, the familiar Dr. Oetker logo in Helvetica Condensed Heavy with silhouette head (“a bright head is one that uses Dr. Oetker’s baking powder”) restores authority to the somewhat hyper-active mix. Not an absolute hit, but it shouts loud when all eight green and blue boxes are towering in the bakery products aisle.
Being a Mister K fan, this was incentive enough for me to take home four of the mixes and try them with my community. Three were unanimously rejected – too sweet, too amarettoesque, too dry. But one of them was a winner: Bratapfelkuchen.
It’s the middle of December now, and I’m hunting through the stores and supermarkets of the former Westgerman capital city Bonn, trying to get hold of Dr. Oetker’s Bratapfelkuchen again: But it’s gone! The complete Dr. Oetker Christmas series disappeared – sold out, they tell me – so sorry, a limited edition.