Category Archives: German Culture

German Cuisine: My German Herb Garden

by Nadia Hassani

Photo courtesy Spoonfuls of Germany

Photo courtesy Spoonfuls of Germany

Today was the day – I finally had all seven herbs together for Grüne Soße, the famous cold herb sauce from my hometown Frankfurt. In the city and its surroundings, the seven herbs are sold in a white paper wrapping with the recipe printed on it. Here in America, six of the seven herbs come from my garden, and the seventh, alfalfa, from a sprouter on the windowsill in my kitchen.

It is an urban legend that Grüne Soße was Goethe’s favorite dish, as the organizers of the Grüne Soße Festival point out on their website. Yes, Grüne Soße is so special to Frankfurt that since 2009 the dish has its own festival, with a competition for high-school classes to determine who makes the best Grüne Soße.

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German Cuisine: All About Quark

by Nadia Hassani

Photo copyright Spoonfuls of Germany

Photo copyright Spoonfuls of Germany

After my book signing last weekend, one of my gardening buddies sent me an email telling me how much she enjoyed the book, and ending with, “Quark? Really? How did it get that name?” This made me think that I need to set things straight about my favorite dairy product, which, alas, is hard to find in the United States.

Quark has been around centuries before the physicist Murray Gell-Mann decided to name the elementary particles he discovered in the 1960s “quarks”. He borrowed the term from James Joyce’s novel Finnegan’s Wake, without any connection whatsoever to the food.

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German Cuisine: High Time for Poppy Seeds

by Nadia Hassani

Photo copyright Spoonfuls of Germany

Photo copyright Spoonfuls of Germany

“Can poppy seeds get you high?”, is a question that pops up a lot when you search for poppy seeds on the Internet. In fact, consuming only three poppy seed bagels can lead to false positives in over-the-counter drug tests, as demonstrated in a 2003 episode of Discovery Channel’s MythBusters.

Walk into any well-assorted pastry shop in Germany and you will likely find sheet cake, streusel cake, or poppy seed roll with a generous poppy seed filling. These goodies contain many times over the skimpy amount of poppy seeds that are sprinkled onto a bagel. Does this mean that Germany has it own legalized version of Alice B. Toklas brownies, available at any bakery down the street?

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German Cuisine: Cucumber Glut

by Nadia Hassani

Photo copyright Spoonfuls of Germany

Photo copyright Spoonfuls of Germany

During my visit to Berlin a few months ago, I stayed in a modest boarding house at the fringes of the Prenzlauer Berg district. I found it hard to believe this quiet neighborhood of unpaved sidewalks (but with high-speed Internet connection) is only a short bus ride away from bustling Alexanderplatz. Next door was an allotment garden. I relished at the sight of the neat flowerbeds with garden gnomes and impeccable lawns on the small lots. Living in rural America, I had forgotten all about this phenomenon of the German urban landscape.

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