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.
This is a preview of German Cuisine: Making a Wedding Cake.
“May I have some?”, my husband asked after he finished photographing the German carnival pastries I had made as tasting samples for a German food and history talk to the German club of a local high school. I allowed my photographer to eat the two rejects and took away the rest.
Driving home with the empty trays in the trunk, I felt bad about it. My husband photographs just about everything for Spoonfuls of Germany. It sometimes takes 2 or 3 hours until he is satisfied with the set, the light and the “pose”, and before he signs off on the food portraits that you see.
This is a preview of German Cuisine: Doughnuts Out of Africa.
When it comes to pigs, there is no beating around the bush: as much as I want to dispel the idea that German food is nothing but pork and sausage, I must acknowledge that there indeed is a longstanding and intimate relationship between Germans and their pigs.
With a per capita amount of 87 pounds per year, pork is the most consumed meat in Germany. Consumption is decreasing slightly every year, and the meat industry has a nervous eye on this development. But let’s be realistic: Germans won’t turn into a nation of vegetarians. Poultry, beef, fish and seafood have a long way to go to catch up with pork – even with their numbers added up, their overall consumption is less than pork. That Germans keep filling their plates with pork is of vital economic interest, as Germany produces more pork than it consumes. The country is the biggest exporter of pork in the European Union.
This is a preview of German Cuisine: Pigs, Pork, and Luck.
October 3 is the German national holiday, the Day of German Unity. But unlike the Fourth of July in the United States, there are no parades and no traditions, culinary or other, because the holiday only goes back to 1990. It was introduced to mark German Reunification that year and replaced June 17, the holiday that commemorated the East German uprising of 1953.
This is a preview of German Cuisine on the Day of German Unity.
Unlike me, my husband does not enjoy cooking. His repertoire nonetheless includes two dishes where I yield the kitchen to him without hesitation: grilled cheese sandwiches and American pancakes. The emphasis is here on American because German pancakes are quite different, in ingredients and size, and they are also eaten at a different time of the day.
On more than one occasion my husband announced to friends or family visiting from Germany that he would make them pancakes for breakfast the next morning. Sometimes he got a puzzled look and lack of enthusiasm, which he did not understand. So I told him he should explain that pancakes are a breakfast fare and that American pancakes are actually much smaller than German pancakes.
This is a preview of German Cuisine: To Each His Own (Pancake).
Nothing says fall for me like chestnuts do. On my way to school as a first grader I filled my pockets with them on crisp October mornings, a habit I continued as an adult. Those were the inedible chestnuts from the horse chestnut tree, Aesculus hippocastanum.
The best moment for me was always taking the chestnuts out of their thick, fleshy burrs and let the cool fruit with a surface like polished mahogany slowly warm in my cusped hand. After a few days the chestnuts lost their luster but how many times until then did I run my fingers over them and marvel at their color before the chestnuts eventually shriveled and hardened and I had to discard them with a heavy heart.
This is a preview of German Cuisine: For the Love of Chestnuts.