I'm declaring this week's culinary theme to be German.
I've been negligent on writing on this blog for a while, busy with all kinds of stuff in preparation for Eldest daughter heading to Germany, where she's going to be catching the very end of Munich's Oktoberbest this weekend!
Here's a good saying that sums up food and drink in Germany:
"Iss, was gar ist,
trink, was klar ist,
und sprich, was wahr ist:" Translation:
Eat what is well cooked,
drink what is clear,
and speak what is true.
How do you describe German food? Well, there's my first husband's grumbling summary: "Everything is some sort of a product of fermentation: beer, bread, cheese, sauerkraut..." This same husband (yes, I do number them!) also did not care for the sad state of overcooked vegetables at my mother and grandmother's house.
Current husband (a.k.a. #2) is much more tolerant of German food, with the exception of chicken still on the bone when served. He still raves about the food and all the tortes served at my brother's wedding (an amazing assortment all baked by the bride's mother and her friends) -- they sure beat the pants off your run-of-the-mill american wedding cake, which is typically pretty to look at, but making up in sugariness what it lacks in flavor. But I digress...
Well, there's meat: what a variety just in sausages alone, and what a central part meat plays in German cuisine! There are vegetarians, of course, but most Germans, my own mom included, feel very strongly about the nutritional need for meat -- you need something to "stick to the ribs".
Bread, I daresay, has an even more central role than meat. Germans take their breads very seriously -- the variety is mind-boggling, and it's got to be fresh, made with whole grains, and have a decent crust on it: none of this squishy Wonderbread stuff. Can you tell I'm biased?!? To me, the lack of decent bread was the hardest thing to get used to when I moved to this country 3 decades ago -- american bread back then was truly appaling! But again, I digress...
Coldcuts of cheeses and meats arealways served with bread, and there's usually a wonderful variety...
Starches at the main meal of the day are either potatoes or some sort of noodles or Knoedel.
I still think of a "real" entree as consisting of a meat, starch and vegetable, perhaps accompanied by a sauce or gravy. Before the entree, there's a salad tossed with a simple oil & vinegar dressing, and after the entree, there's usually dessert (Nachtisch in German, which translates literally to After-table).
My daughter flies to Germany as I'm writing this, and my thoughts are there as wel. So I shall get out the German cookbooks. Time to set aside garlic and Louisiana Hot Sauce, and get out the mustard and horseradish -- and serve us up some Wuerstli!