Today I’m giving blog room to reader Brigitte, who wrote in with a German perspective on regional foods:
It seems that in Germany there is no danger of lapsing into a food coma.
Last week I was at a Straußenwirtschaft (= tavern/restaurant selling homegrown products). By chance I heard three exchange students talking about German eating habits as I was sitting at a table next to them. I think one of them was from America, another from England and one from Scandinavia.
The course of conversation was more or less like this:
Student 1: I can’t believe this!
Student 2: What?
Student 1: A whole menu with asparagus dishes.
Student 2: Yes, the German like their asparagus.
Student 1: Like? They are obsessed about it! Every day this week I had a different dish with asparagus. Even at the mensa (= canteen of a university) it’s on the menu. They eat them as salad, soup, with pancake, or fish, or meat, or bacon, or sausage and so on and when they don’t eat them they discuss what wine goes best with the asparagus or where you can buy the best asparagus or if there is any difference in the taste based on the cultivation methods and so on.
Student 3: Last week I visited a barbeque, there they served a cake with asparagus.
Student 1: What, at a barbeque? They can’t grill them, can they? I don’t understand why German are called “Krauts“ and not “Asparagus”.
What can I say, I told you before we German have the tendency to overdo things! The asparagus season begins in April and runs through June. During this time, asparagus dishes are on the menu at many, many restaurants and homes in Germany. So let’s hope the poor students will stay long enough to learn that Germans can cook dishes without asparagus and why we are called “Krauts”.
About the cake with asparagus, I think it was a quiche.
And now I have to peel asparagus because that’s for dinner today…
I’m envious! I love asparagus, but (except for the brief window when it can be picked in the wild) it’s very expensive in Portugal. Also, I’ve never heard of peeling asparagus, but right after receiving this email from Brigitte, I ran across a reference to it in a book I was reading. Hm. That seems like an awful lot of work, and I like the flavor just fine with the skin on. Is it worth it?
Also, I was relieved to learn that the “cake with asparagus” was actually a quiche. For a moment there I was really wondering about German taste buds.