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German restaurants on the wane in the US?

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just like any other culture, there are some number of dishes/preps that are 'identified' as "German."
if some mentions they had goulash for dinner, you're not likely to think "Oh, Portugal!"  
nor does one meet alot of Swedes bragging on their freshly caught homemade calamari.....


I have had dishes like sauerbraten, eisbein, spaetzel, etc etc in places outside of Germany that one would not recognize as anything of the same name.  slicing off a chunk of eye round, dipping it in a vinegar marinade and plating it as "sauerbraten" really doesn't work - but I've seen - errrrr 'tasted' - that done.


otoh, there are a few that are more unique to a culture:  using bakers ammonia for leavening . . . don't find that much outside of areas-of-Germanic-influence.


"authentic" to me is a combination of the basic foodstuff plus prep plus seasonings plus presentation plus sides.

a plate of sauerbraten served with sweet potato and corn - not authentic..... may be tasty, but not authentic.  served with buttered&parsley boiled potato and rotkohl, that's authentic.  any german dish served with iceberg lettuce - not authentic... served with "kraeuter salat", that's authentic.


and the ambiguous dishes - potato salad . . . exists in both oil&vinegar and in the creamy creations - German, but regional...  even 'highly identified' dishes - Schweinhaxen / Eisbein - have different regional preps.  which is 'authentic' depends on where you were.


"authentic" is a bit tricky to define - which probably explains why the topic is re-discussed so often.....

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Edward Lee in his new book "Buttermilk Graffiti" has a chapter about this exact question that is very interesting....especially since he is married to a woman of German heritage and finds several similarities between German and Korean food.  Hadn't thought of that but it is so logical......

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