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The Cuisine of Germany


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German food is a little like the melting pot of the United States -- a wide variety of culinary influences that defies categorization and pigeonholes.

As a genre of cuisines, it's influenced much of Europe, from Poland to France, to Switzerland and the former Austrian-Hungarian empire.

German food ranges from Bavarian (i.e., Schweinebraten (pot-roasted pork), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings), Leberkäse (corned beef and bacon pie)), the bratwursts of Thuringia, to Baden-Württemberg (i.e., Maultaschen (a distant relative of ravioli), Käsespätzle (a gratin of spaetzle and onions, with cheese)).

What are your favorite dishes, recipes and German culinary traditions?

Soba

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I'm not sure if it is technically German or Polish, but I like Kielbasa or Knockwurst (or any kind of firm German Pork or Beef sausage) cooked with Red Cabbage, Potatoes, Apples (green) and a bit of caraway.

http://recipes.egullet.org/recipes/r315.html?

Spaetzle and Schnitzel is also a big favorite, as are German-style potato pancakes.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Pastries, pastries, pastries. Anything made with streudel dough which apparently has some relationship to phyllo dough. I also like veal sausages, sauerkraut and onion tarts Flammekueche. Onion tarts are called Tarte Flambe in France. Alsace borders Germany.

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I've spent a couple of weeks (or longer) in various regions of Germany, but my only fond memories of the food were in Munich. I ate a lot of roast duck with red cabbage and knoedel, a lot of sauteed calves liver and onions, and a lot of roasted pork. Everything I ate there was rich and delicious and satisfying (this is to say, unlike other regions of Germany which now all blur together in one greasy, reflux-inducing blur). During my time in Mannheim it was hard to find anything decent to eat - and I can handle greasy, heavy food. One night we went to a very local place, famous for the fact that Gorbachov had gone to eat there on his visit to Mannheim, and we ordered up all the local specialties, including the "maultaschen". Everything was pretty much incredibly, and inedibly heavy and uninviting.

But I have posted elsewhere that the baked goods in the region, or at least the town of Mannheim, are just spectacular. They're a dense kind of pastry, like the nut doughs of a Linzertorte, as opposed to the flaky kind of dough, but man oh man, the desserts, one after another, were spectacular - several kinds of apple pie, chocolate and nut cakes, and a thing that translated as a Black Forest Brownie (and I'm not really a dessert eater) that was like a rich, blond square studded with chocolate bits and cherries.

But other than fond memories of the Munich (Bavarian) food, everything else in restaurants seemed unduly heavy. Now the street food - that was magnificent! The Wurst stands carried everything - there was Thuringer bratwurst, Weisswurst, little Nurenmberger sausages (those always served on a paper dish with pork studded sauerkraut), sausages curved into spirals - and every one was magnificent. It was fun just to spend day after day wandering the streets and sampling from all the different markets and stands. (Oh yeah, and what a healthy alternative!)

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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I love the little Weisswürste served at breakfast (I had them in Landshut, in Bavaria). Knödel are a great way to get your daily starch allowance. In Augsburg they make a dish that is basically fried dough- like spätzle, but larger. Forgive me, it's been 10 years since I've had them so the German name of the dish escapes me. But they sure were good

The women of the families I stayed with when I was there both had a wonderful knack for making fruit desserts that weren't too sweet. Just the essence of fruit and pastry. MMMMM..

When I was in Trier I would get Doner Kebabs at least once a week from a place run by a Turkish family. Pure heaven and a nice break from all that pork- not to mention that I could make basically two meals out of it, which was very nice on a student budget.

Thank you for letting me reminisce via this thread!

Edited by redglass (log)
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Berliner Currywurst mit, rot weiss

(some kind of sausage served with curry powder, the mit being mit Pommes (as in frites) and rot for ketchup and weiss for mayo. Nothing else hits the spot in quite the same way. Must be from an Imbiß (snack bar), and tastes best after some amount of beer.)

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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I am 100% German, although mixed (northern, Bavarian, Alsatian). Despite arguments to the contrary with a dietician friend who *insists* that people should eat within their ethnic heritage to avoid illness (might be an interesting thread) I really don't care for most German cuisine. I find it too heavy and greasy.

The one exception (besides potato pancakes) is Konigsberger klopse with spaetzle. These are little veal meatballs flavored with lemon zest and anchovy in a lemony gravy.

By the way, I plan to travel to Germany within a few months. Hopefully my mind will be changed by my travels. Any suggestions for must-see places (and dining establishments) are greatly appreciated!

You want frites with that?
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Leberkäse (corned beef and bacon pie))

The Leberkäse in my freezer is a veal meatloaf.

Sancerre, I've only eaten out in Regensburg...once at the Hof Brau for lunch (traditional food but neither too heavy nor greasy) and then at the Restaurant Brandner in the Sorat Insel Hotel. The meals I had there (two dinners) were also wonderful.

I am heading to Germany in a couple of weeks; half my time will be spent in Cologne and half in Münster. I will probably only get out to dinner in Köln as I will be camping while in Münster. This website looked interesting to me:

Kölner Brauhaus Wanderweg

Of course, that's not about food but rather about Kölsch... :raz:

(Edit for typo.)

Edited by Jensen (log)
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What happened to the version of this thread with all the replies?

Recently, I've been on a sausage kick. A few weeks ago it was Nürnberger bratwurst. This week it's Weisswurst and Leberkäse (although, the Leberkäse in my freezer is a veal meatloaf, not corned beef and bacon pie :blink: ).

I love my neighbour's version of sauerkraut, made with white wine and juniper berries and cooked for a long time.

Knödel is always a nice treat. Or broth with Klöße. Nothing heavy or greasy about those (thinking back to some of the now missing replies).

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Leberkäse (corned beef and bacon pie))

The Leberkäse in my freezer is a veal meatloaf.

There are many versions of Leberkäse as there are versions of meatloaf. :biggrin:

There's this version which translates as a "liver meatloaf" :shock: (note 1) and there's this version which is your typical canned veal loaf. :wacko:

Then, there is the version given at the bottom of this web page, which translates leberkäse as a meatloaf made from minced pork and beef.

Wikipedia defines Leberkäse as

Leberkäse (sometimes spelled Leberkäs or Leberkas) is a specialty food found in the south of Germany, in Austria and parts of Switzerland, similar to meat pie. It consists of corned beef, bacon and onions and is made by grinding the ingredients to a very fine mass which is then placed in an oblong casserole and baked until it has a crunchy brown crust.

Ok, so a corned beef and bacon pie is a stretch....but I thought that'd grab us bacon lovers. :raz:

Soba

(1) Be sure to click on "Products in English", located on the sidebar, and then click on "Bavarian Leberkäse" for the English translation.

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MY ISP's DNS server seems to be acting up and I can only access external websites that are currently in my network's DNS cache (or whatever), so I can't check out your links right now. I'm looking forward to it though. (I don't need the English translation though. :biggrin: )

And yes, the bacon reference piqued my interest (to put it mildly...ha ha)

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I guess I must represent for the north:

Hamburger aalsuppe, Hamburger heringssalat, Nordsee krabbensalat, Lübecker marzipan and the rum drinks: Grog, Pharisär. Oh, and my husband's wonderful pancakes. And kassler, but those two are not specifically northern.

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I guess I must represent for the north:

Since I live here, let me be the East:

Klösse, potato dumplings from Thuringia and Franken (the region around Nürnberg), especially those made with raw potatoes and Wickelklösse, made by of cutting a fried breadcrumbs filled potato dumpling dough strudel into sections. Possibly served with a nice side of game.

Bratwürst, but only the real ones from Thuringia, eaten in the region. Even the real Thuringians you find elsewhere in Germany seldom are the real thing, since these do not keep long they also do not travel well. I'm generally not a regionalist but I've been completely converted to these by my wife's family, there's no match with those puny tiny sausages from Nürnberg (any Frankish around here :unsure::biggrin: ). If you're on diet, walking around a Thuringian city on a warm summer evening can be a real endurance test: everywhere you can smell people grilling bratwürst in their backyards.

Blechkuchen, i.e. usually flat cake, normally made using a yeasted dough base baked in trays (Kuchenblech). Topping can vary greatly, but seasonal fruit with Streussel is a must. A favorite of mine is cake made with streussel and Pflaumenmuss from Mühlhausen, in Thuringia (a delicious plum jam made using sweet spices and kept lightly tart).

Kassler and Königsberger Klöpse are on my favorites list too. Currywürst on the other hand is something I pick only when I feel like having hardcore junk food. Otherwise my opinion on it is best summed up by the German expression of disgust: Iggit!

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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What suggestions would people have for a very good, in depth, English language, regional German(ic?) cookery book?

I know several germanic types and they tend to get very grumpy if their regional foods are confused or otherwise buggered up.

As for german food I was lucky enough to have some of this late last yeartreebread

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What suggestions would people have for a very good, in depth, English language, regional German(ic?) cookery book?

I know several germanic types and they tend to get very grumpy if their regional foods are confused or otherwise buggered up.

As for german food I was lucky enough to have some of this late last yeartreebread

I have a copy of:

Mimi Sheraton , 1965 " The German Cookbook " , Random House, 500 Pages,

What I like the most about this book, it has the original German name for every recipe, correct spelling (I was born and lived there until I was 19) and a wonderful complete seperate English & German index .

But here are a few of my own German listings I miss and crave (and then make them) at times:

Rheinischer Sauerbraten

Koenigsberger Flecke

Hoppel Poppel

Leipziger Allerlei

Berliner Leber

Muensterlaender Toettchen

Servietten Kloss

Speckpfannkuchen

Kalbsvoegel

Rote Gruetze

Pinkel mit Braunkohl

Zwetschgenbavesen

Fuerst Pueckler Bombe

Labskaus

Have you heard enough? Most of these are also in Mimi's book

Peter
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Thanks Peter, I have just ordered the book. You know I have books on Imperial Mongolian, Loas, Medieval Arabic foods, but a good German cookbook has been hard to find.

You will be glad you bought it.

On another note: a friend of mine from India gave me: " Mrs Balbir Singh's Indian Cookery " 11th printing '84 , ISBN 0 7135 2050 7, bought at

Happy Book Stall, 32 Hill Road, Bandra (west) Bombay 400050

Peter
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Rote Gruetze

Aber wie!!!

Labskaus

The hands-down WORST thing the north has to offer. As Alberto said, iggitiggitiggit.

I'll throw in:

Grünkohl -- long-braised, finely chopped kale w/Kassler or sausage (e.g., Pinkel), terrific winter dish

Handkäse -- a skimmed, sour-milk cheese, served mit Musik, with onions supplying the music, together with a glass of Appelwoi, more of a wine than cider

Saumagen -- stomach stuffed with ground beef and bread crumbs

Rouladen -- flank or round steak rolled up with bacon, mustard, pickles, onions, etc.

Schweinshaxe -- roasted pork hocks, always good in a beer tent

Kaiserschmarrn -- sort of a cross between a pancake and a crepe, sweet, served with raisins

Grüne Soße -- quark with h-b eggs and a variety of herbs (parsley, dill, chives, sorrel, cress, chervil)

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any and all franken wines :wub:

maultashen

johnnybird's grandmother was from schweisheim and she taught me to make esslin cookies and spaetzle, apfelkucken and kattafel salat, cucumbers in sour cream or vinegar.(also probably spelling everything wrong since she never wrote them down).

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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Does anyone know whether the practice of having as many as six meals a day arose in Germany or in countries bordering it? I seem to have heard from somewhere that such practices were not uncommon, in for instance, the former Austro-Hungarian empire.

The main meal of the day was lunch (Mittagessen) which can be anywhere between two and seven courses. There can be an appetiser (Vorspeise), a hot soup, a main course usually consisting of potatoes, vegetables and meat, side dishes (Beilagen), and finally a sweet course called Nachspeisen. Dinner (Abendbrod) is usually cold and is served from about five to six o’clock.

This description of meal habits in the past are the stuff of legends. Or hobbits. :wink:

Soba

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Does anyone know whether the practice of having as many as six meals a day arose in Germany or in countries bordering it?

Soba

Jawohl, ran jetzt und wenn wir raus fliegen:

*Fruehstueck 6AM

*Zweites Fruehstueck 10AM

*Mittagessen 1PM

*Kaffee und Kuchen 3:30PM

*Abendbrot 7PM

*Betthuepferl 10:30PM

All that til about 1935, the third Reich left us with about tree meals only

After 1945 in the DDR the Betthuepferl often took the place of all other five.

Peter
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