Category Archives: German Culture

Not Better or Worse, Just Different

by Jay Malone

Gutaussehender Geschäftsmann drückt die JA Taste auf einen virtuellen Schirm

Copyright dpa

I went back and forth with Slate’s Rebecca Schuman a few weeks ago on Twitter after reading her article about German universities. I agreed with a lot of what she had to say, and thought it was great that she was an informed perspective, rather than adding to the glut of dashed-off summaries that have come out in recent weeks. Still, I was a little taken aback by what I took as negativity on her part.

Ultimately, though, I came around to her point of view. In general, she did a good job of discussing some of the challenges that can come with the experience of studying in Germany, drawing on her personal experience studying abroad in Germany and Austria. And these challenges are very important to remember when deciding whether or not to move to Germany to study.

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German Cuisine: Warming Up to Cabbage

by Nadia Hassani

Photo copyright Spoonfuls of Germany

Photo copyright Spoonfuls of Germany

For Thanksgiving 2013, I made an all-German menu from my cookbook: Roasted Duck Stuffed with Rum-soaked Raisins and Apples, Potato Dumplings, and Spiced Red Cabbage.

I usually do not like cabbage yet a while ago I decided it was time to take my cabbage dislike head-on. With very few exceptions like okra and celery root, I have always loved vegetables. The more I am centering my cooking around vegetables from my own garden and locally grown, seasonal produce, the less it seemed excusable to avoid an entire vegetable family. Putting a cabbage dish on the Thanksgiving table was part of my self-designed aversion training.

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German Cuisine: The King’s Dessert

by Nadia Hassani

Photo courtesy Spoonfuls of Germany

Photo courtesy Spoonfuls of Germany

My knowledge of German history is piecemeal. This is not due to lack of interest. In my high-school days the State of Hessia had done away with history as an independent subject of study and blended it with geography, political science, and social studies. A court later ruled that the State Government had to revoke its curriculum – too late for me when I graduated in 1984.

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German Cuisine: Eat Your Elderflowers

by Nadia Hassani

Photo courtesy Spoonfuls of Germany

Photo courtesy Spoonfuls of Germany

In the last decade, two edible wild, or semi-wild, plants have seen a huge comeback in Germany: ramsons (Allium ursinum, “Bärlauch” in German) and elderberries, especially their flowers. Maybe I should not call it a comeback because I doubt that ramsons, the European cousin of ramps, was ever so omnipresent as it is today. Walk into a German supermarket in the spring and you will find ramsons in every possible form, mixed into cheeses, breads, or sausage. And almost every restaurant has something with ramsons on the menu.

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German Cuisine: Making a Wedding Cake

by Nadia Hassani

Photo courtesy Spoonfuls of Germany

Photo courtesy Spoonfuls of Germany

It was the photo of a wedding cake in the shape of a Louis Vuitton suitcase that had my cousin’s girlfriend in Germany in stitches a few years ago. I had emailed her the link to show her how outrageous some American wedding cakes are. Back then I decided that when she and my cousin got married I would make them a wedding cake. They did get married last winter, and when they announced they would visit us in August, it was finally time to get to work.

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The Best Neighborhood in Berlin: An Interview With Der Irische Berliner (and a giveaway)

Berlin televison tower tv tower Berlin skyline

Berlin. Photo copyright Nicolette Stewart

Berlin.  Everybody loves it.  Everybody talks about it.  Everybody likes to say it is over, or has just begun.  But if you want to move there, it can be hard to know where to start.  Giulia Pines recommends finding the right neighborhood.  Her book Finding Your Feet in Berlin is full of helpful tips (in English!) about making Berlin your new home, and we’re giving away two copies right here.

In the meantime, we’re collecting more insider tips on Berlin neighborhoods.  Today we’ve brought Der Irische Berliner on by to find out about his neighborhood and why he loves it.

What Berlin neighborhood do you live in? 

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The Best Neighborhood in Berlin: An Interview With Sole Satisfaction (and a giveaway)

Graffiti in Prenzlauerberg, Berlin. Photo copyright dpa

Graffiti in Prenzlauerberg, Berlin. Photo copyright dpa

What do you  need to know to get settled in Berlin?  Giulia Pines’ book Finding Your Feet in Berlin has all the answers to your questions.  One of the most important factors is finding the neighborhood that is right for you.  But how to choose?  Which neighborhood is the best? Today we’ve got Kate from Sole Satisfaction here to tell us about her neighborhood and why it is awesome.  As for that book we mentioned, we’re giving away two copies of Finding Your Feet in Berlin right here, right now, so go enter and vote on your favorite Berlin neighborhood.

What Berlin neighborhood do you live in?

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