Category Archives: Food

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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German Cuisine: Why Marlene Dietrich Disliked Rutabagas

by Nadia Hassani

Photo copyright Spoonfuls of Germany

Photo copyright Spoonfuls of Germany

The third winter of World War I, whose beginning a century ago is commemorated this year, is also referred to in German as the Hungerwinter or Steckrübenwinter (Rutabaga winter). The blockade of Germany through the North Sea cut the country off from overseas trade and supplies, and the potato crop in 1916 had failed. As a result rutabagas, until that time mainly grown as animal fodder, became a staple of the 1,000-calorie ration-card diet for civilians.

Marlene Dietrich was then a teenager in Berlin. She would recall with a shudder how her family ate rutabagas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and in every possible form. Most people’s faces turned yellow from all the rutabagas, hers didn’t. Her perfect, porcelain-like complexion stood out already then.

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German Cuisine: Looking East

By Nadia Hassani

Photo copyright Spoonfuls of Germany

Photo copyright Spoonfuls of Germany

Today we are happy to welcome Nadia Hassani to Young Germany.  Nadia loves German cuisine and is the author of the book Spoonfuls of Germany.  You can find out more about her here.  You can find her blogging about German food (with gorgeous photos) on Spoonfuls of Germany.

If there is one thing I regret I did not do while I was still living in Germany, it is that I did not see more of the world behind the Iron Curtain that opened up after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. I spent a good amount of time in Berlin in 1991, and I am glad I did because at least I got a glimpse how East Berlin had looked under communist rule.

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German Food: Hearty Cravings

by Alexandra Ioakim of Flythesevenseas

Photo courtesy Sail the Seven Seas

Photo courtesy Fly the Seven Seas

Before moving to Germany, my knowledge of German food consisted of popular items found on the menu of Sydney’s Löwenbräukeller (pronounced Low-en-brow in Australia, and Looe-ven-broi in German) – schnitzel, sausages, pork knuckle and sauerkraut. As a self-professed ‘foodie’ (as they say) I would often watch Maeve O’Mara’s Food Safari and Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and was interested enough to listen to my mum’s tips to know that in general Germans love a good apple cake, a potato could accompany most meals and German bread was an art form.

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