Bread and Water (and Some Other Things)

German Word of the Day:


Lebensmittel

n.; foodstuffs (literal translation: life-enabling-things)


I hit the six-week mark yesterday, and life in Deutschland has pretty much settled into a routine.  Wake up, eat breakfast, go to school, sit through three classes, eat lunch, one more class, come home, do homework, eat dinner, sleep.  Seems oddly familiar.  Anyway, I’ve been thinking about how daily routines are an important part of every culture.  And what’s more routine and common to all cultures than eating?  Everyone’s always asking me how the food is over here, so I figured I’d write something about the cuisine in my corner of Germany.

First up, we have…. *drumroll* Brot.  Bread is what German food is all about.  We eat bread for breakfast and bread for dinner, and during breaks at school we have Pausenbrot, aka snack-bread. I’m fairly confident that my body composition is 95% bread roll by this point.  Not that I’m complaining.  While some of the bread is fluffy crap (you know, American style?), most of it is like a tiny piece of crusty heaven (that probably doesn’t come across as well as I envisioned it).  Here is a picture of a small portion of the variety at a typical bakery (this one is inside the grocery store):

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Aside from bread, most meals are based in either potatoes (I think I’ve mentioned this before!), Wurst, or pasta.  Also, anything fried in breadcrumbs and labeled “Schnitzel“.  (Seriously, anything.  I had a green bean and corn schnitzel last week.)  Rather than eating a hot meal in the evening, most people eat their largest meal at school or work and just have bread for supper.

Beverages:  Although I’m old enough to legally drink in Germany, I haven’t really had an opportunity to try anything yet.  I have had some very good wine-flavored Haribo gummies (more on that later).  The most surprising thing about beverages in Germany is that almost no one consumes regular water.  Everyone drinks bubbly water, and there are no water fountains in public buildings.  I found that really strange, but after six weeks I’ve grown pretty attached to my bubbly water.

So, after bread and bubbly water, I think we’ve covered the important aspects of German cooking. (Disclaimer: if you’re German and you’re reading this, please insert a lot of non-verbal communication to convince you of my good will towards Deutschland.  I’m not complaining.)  Anyway, here is some of the fun stuff:

This is my favorite shelf.  Nutella, homemade jam, honey (the peanut buter was my addition).  With all the bread we eat, we have to have a wonderful variety of things to put on top of it!
This is my favorite shelf. Nutella, homemade jam, honey (the peanut butter was my addition). With all the bread we eat, we have to have a wonderful variety of things to put on top of it!

 

Cake.  I have tried more types of Kuchen this month than I think I have in my entire life!  This picture shows a perfectly normal amount of cakes to be served at a party at which there are 15-20 guests.  You are expected to try at least 4 of them.
Cake. I have tried more types of Kuchen this month than I think I have in my entire life! This picture shows a perfectly normal number of cakes to be served at a party at which there are 15-20 guests. You are expected to try at least 4 of them.

 

I couldn't forget the most important aisle at the grocery store - the Haribo shelves.  And you thought Americans were into candy.  This only part of the display, by the way.
I couldn’t forget the most important aisle at the grocery store – the Haribo shelves. And you thought Americans were into candy. This only part of the display, in case you didn’t feel like there were enough options.

I suppose there is a lot more food than this in Germany.  I suppose someday I’ll get around to trying some of it.  For now, I’m just going to hunker down here with my Gummibären.  Guten Appetit!

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One thought on “Bread and Water (and Some Other Things)

  1. Oh, Maria, I have to tell you: you are just at the BEGINNING to get to know German Food… I hope, this is good news for you. You are living in the part of Germany where most potatoes are grown. Come to Berlin and you will learn more about Couscous, Falaffel, Gries (have you tried this?) and QUARK!! You missed Spätzle, Pfannkuchen, Topfenknödel, not to speak of Braten. So, I am glad that you are at the beginning of your stay and get more chances.
    I was amused about the Haribo shelf. never noticed – when I was an exchange student at UT, I was flattened by the variety of icecream flavours at Swensons – had never seen something like this in Germany by that time. However, the chocolate side was extremely poor in the US, nothing comparable to Germany. So, now you are making new discoveries here and I learn. When you come, we will have some Gummibärchen for you…..
    Thank you for sharing your impressions – and don´t be afraid to question german Habits – there are questionable ones, no doubt… Iris

    Like

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