The Slatest

The Best Photo We Didn’t Use This Week: Guess Who’s on These Cookies!

Cookies portraying Angela Merkel's face are seen on a sheet.
Marzipan cookies are displayed in Weilbach, Germany, on Tuesday. Reuters/Annkathrin Weis

Slate’s homepage editors spend a lot of time looking for editorial photos to put on our site. Those searches sometimes yield unexpected results: random, perplexing, and mesmerizing photos that don’t belong on the homepage, but that are too good not to share. Every week, we’ll share the weirdest photo from the wires.

What were you hoping to find?
Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s face.

What did you find instead?
Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s face depicted on some cookies. (Full disclosure: I would not have recognized that the cookies were meant to portray Merkel’s face had that fact not been noted in the photo’s original caption.)

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What’s the actual backstory here?
Angela Merkel has been the head of Germany for 16 years, which is a lot of years! Not even FDR served for that long. Anyway, the globally beloved yet controversial Merkel has been reelected three times since 2005 with broad support, so it stands to reason that many Germans feel melancholy about her departure. They may likewise be anxious about what comes next, since the elections to decide Germany’s new chancellor are just days away.

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How do people cope with such feelings? Some turn to comfort food—and as we all know, Germany is known for its desserts, from strudel to cheesecake to zwetschgenknödel. So it seems only right that a prominent confectionary in the Merkel-favoring state of Bavaria would turn to its craft to help people more easily swallow the chancellor’s retirement. The manager of Odenwälder Marzipan, which baked the goods you see above, told Reuters that the Merkel-face cookies are intended as “a souvenir” that can “last for two years, so people can extend Merkel’s time for another two years.” The commemorative cookie was designed by the store’s team as a “special edition,” and the sweet-makers are hoping to put out 500 of them.

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I mean, that’s nice and all, but those cookies don’t really look like Merkel?
Trust me, you are far from the first to notice. But hey, I’m sure they’re delicious. Plus, some of them show her smiling, and others show her with a more serious expression. Variety!

Why is this the weird photo of the week?
The authors of this column love both bizarre food incidents and the absurdities of modern European politics, so we thought it was about time for a crossover episode.

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