On Krauts and asparagus

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.

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About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
This entry was posted in culture, Europe. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to On Krauts and asparagus

  1. Tracy Walker says:

    Hmm, I wonder if any of these asparagus-loving Germans settled in Stockton, CA. The city has a HUGE asparagus festival every April. It even includes asparagus ice cream!

    http://asparagusfest.com/general-information/asparagus-alley/

    Tracy

  2. restlessjo says:

    It reads like a comic sketch! “Death by asparagus” isn’t a phrase you hear every day.

    • Brigitte says:

      Yes, I thought as much, too. One of the students was overly dramatic, but bear in mind that aparagus is diuretic. 😉

  3. Brigitte says:

    Oregonexpat:

    Asparagus peeling:
    Ah, I think I know the problem, when I speak about asparagus I mean the white one. They have thick shoots, closed heads and a mild, non-bitter taste. The farmer hills up sand and compost over the root stocks to blanch the shoots as they grow. They can be thick and a little woody so you have to peel them.

    When you speak about asparagus you mean the green, purple or violet one thus you do not peel. They are harder to find in Germany, we prefer the white one.

    Asparagus harvesting:

    Asparagus peeling:

  4. liz says:

    my german roommate made us an onion cake one night.. i assume that is what the asparagus cake was – one short layer with flour [like a regular cake] but more savory than sweet.

    but the post really reminded me of this : http://sweetapolita.com/2010/10/when-an-asparagus-cake-just-makes-good-sense/ 150 fondant asparagus spears is dedication to a prank.

  5. Sugel says:

    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”.

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