Gute Reisen

New culinary experiences

The IHK has my whole business plan, and I’m waiting. I’ve sent follow up e-mails, and I’m trying to be patient. It freaks me out to know that come March 1st it will be 6 months I’ve been in my apartment. I thought friends, and social life were going to be the hardest parts of this, but they were relatively easy. The winter, the uncertainty, and the lack of activity are what is really destroying me. It’s gotten the better of me, and I’ve collapsed under the grey, reading Karl May comics, and eating bags and bags of carrots. Really, I haven’t been getting drunk or going out and making a mess of myself, I hunker down and think mean thoughts about how I’m spending my time. Even though my German is getting better, and I’m making progress on upgrading my bike with only used parts I buy off German Craigslist, none of it matters if I don’t have a real life here, and I still don’t quite. A friend jokingly offered up a co-worker for a green card marriage, and I found the notion appallingly tempting.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not still learning new and exciting cultural information about Deutschland. Recently there’s been two exciting discoveries.

Frikadllen

These are readily available at most grocery stores, but I haven’t noticed them on a menu anywhere. They are little fried patties of dangerous deliciousness. I don’t really know how they are served traditionally, but I’ve cut them up and put them in with rice and vegetables, I’ve had them with cheese and carrots and cucumber. I’ve put curry ketchup on them. 

They are an ancestor of meatballs and hamburger. But the most interesting thing about them I only just learned last night. Alex, from near the Chiemsee, told me that in Germany you can tell where someone is from by what they call Frikadellen. And, indeed, like a perfectly designed trip for foreigners, they are called only Frikadellen in packages at the grocery store, but are called something along the lines of Meat Plant or Flower (Fleischpflanzerl) in Bavaria. In North Western Germany they are Frikadellen, but there’s tons of other names, and you can see on this crazy map:

So far my current plan if I have to return to America is to make Frikadellen popular with a food truck-based approach. Currently, this endeavour has two possible names either, “Freak-adellen” or “What you’re smellin’ is Frikadellen.” Open to input on this.

Grießbrei

My roommate, Nick, was taken aback when I said I haven’t tried Grieß Pudding. He’d offered a store-bought cup to Dan, and it didn’t seem like Dan was into it. Nick offered me a spoon of the stuff which looked like vanilla pudding with more texture. It translates directly to Semolina Pudding. When I ate was a slightly textured creamy delight that, most importantly, wasn’t too sweet. I loved it instantly, and took to my computer to ask a few germans for more information. They didn’t disappoint. One recommend that I make it at home for the full experience, which sounds wonderful.

However, Alex, again came through with the real interesting information. She asked me, “If you haven’t had Grießbrei then how will you ever get to Schlaraffenland?” As it happens, the famous german Meistersinger (a sort of poet) Hans Sachs (who is a character in a Wagner opera), wrote a poem about a magical land of sunshine and delicious Wurst fences and houses made of cakes. And you could only get there by eating your way through a miles-thick wall of Grießbrei. Now I’ve gone back and read through this poem, and I think I successfully translated most of it. And what it reminds me of is “Big Rock Candy Mountain” which was played at the ukulele meet up just a few Fridays ago. Thank god I’ve got enough time on my hands to do this research and make these connections. This is some important shit, here.