The beginning of the end for German cuisine…

One of the things I always liked about living in Germany is the near total absence of “convenience foods” in German supermarkets.

Instead of rows of ready-meals, the German supermarket tends to offer packets of pasta, bags of potatoes and a range of fresh produce with which the Hausfrau is supposed to feed her family.

Visiting friends and relatives in Britain became pure joy as other parents squirmed in embarrassment as their kids whined for tinned Thomas-the-Tank-Engine pasta shapes, while mine ate what was put in front of them (give or take a few exceptions like sprouts).

But last week I saw the start of the long slippery slope for German cuisine in our local supermarket. Readers… I give you exhibit A:

Packet Scrambled Egg?

Packet Scrambled Egg?

This, readers, is a packet of scrambled egg mix.

Now, I may not be the most accomplished chef on the planet, but I do know how to make scrambled egg. You break a couple of eggs into a bowl, add a splash of milk and a pinch of salt, mix it up and cook in a pan (or even easier – microwave for a minute or so). It’s got to be one of the easiest things on earth.

Packet scrambled egg involves opening the packet and cooking it in the same way as with the real egg.

As we all know, modern day packaging is designed so that you need first to buy a hammer, chisel, monkey wrench and chainsaw in order to actually get into it…

And once inside the package you find not just egg-extract, but reconstituted milk and a list the length of your arm of preservatives, colours and flavourings (well… I suppose they have to make it taste of egg somehow).

So I am struggling to work out how packet scrambled egg could possibly be considered more convenient than making real scrambled eggs… you know, using, like real eggs. And given the long list of additives… how it could be a superior product?

Not only that… a 3-egg portion costs more than a box of 10 eggs from the same supermarket.

Could anyone enlighten me as to who would buy this stuff?

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18 Comments

Filed under food, Life in Germany

18 responses to “The beginning of the end for German cuisine…

  1. YUKKY!!!!!

    I have had a slightly different experience here in Berlin. I have seen pasta in Disney Princess shapes (seriously – some weird shaped pasta!) and some other characters I don’t recognize. However, in saying that, there are not nearly as many as I am used to in the States and luckily, my little guy has never seen Thomas Train pasta or that is what dinner would be every night!

  2. Oh my…that just sounds disgusting! And why on earth would you buy and use it if it costs more than eggs? I guess if you needed something that would last forever…but man, I would have to be STARVING TO DEATH to resort to this! 🙂

  3. I wonder what the shelf life is for faux-eggs? You know these German engineering types–perhaps it’s a new contribution to the international space station or something.

  4. Probably not their target audience, but I imagine that it could appeal to backpackers, if you only needed to add water.

  5. No water needed…. it’s all in there. Just needs to be cooked!

  6. Who could use this? I suppose men…. 🙂 I have met some who really couldn´t do anything right in the kitchen, dear mum just wouldn´t give the apron to her over-forty-grown-up-son-still-living-with-her! 🙂 So how and where could they learn…
    Or maybe Yuppies find it very handy? Thanks for the post, so far I had only seen pancake dough ready-to-make. But isn´t preparing a meal with all the different ingredients and the fine smell already half the fun? I´ll keep on enjoying cooking the old fashioned way then, but who knows if this new scrambled egg stuff will survive the next year… 🙂

  7. Jul

    This post inspired me to make scrambled eggs for lunch. Alas, I only have the kind of eggs that come in shells, and we all know how hard those are to get open! 😉

  8. n

    hahaha. sometimes at the supermarket my friends and i have a contest. whoever comes back with the weirdest product wins. this one won a round a couple of months ago. gross.

  9. King Cogidubnus

    Mmmmm – “Feinschmecker” – do they have an Advertising Standards Agency in Germany?!

  10. That sound great for Scout Camp! No need to worry about the eggs going off…

    Of course, in the “old days”, you’d get fresh eggs every day from a nearby farm 😉

  11. Sarvesh

    Hi,
    I belive every word of your story but the way you described it was wonderful.

    Also, if you are a Veggi person, Germany offers you a lot of Opportunity to Break the rules 🙂

    Keep writing.. its enjoyable

    Regards,
    Sarvesh

  12. elderflower

    Hello: I spent several years working in Germany and now miss it terribly! I did notice the absence of chilled ready meals when I was there, but also that they had a massive range of packet soups and “fix” sauces and seasoning mixtures; also a lot of quite substantial canned and vacuum-packed meals, and instant potato, dumpling and cake mixes. Many of my friends there regarded adding an egg or some Quark to a packet mix as home-cooking, and frozen vegetables were far more popular than fresh. Perhaps I just had a lot of lazy friends! What I really do miss is the celebration of seasonal food – asparagus, chanterelles, redcurrants and cherries appearing at the natural time and with special recipes to make the most of them.

  13. Mairead

    ….what? Hang on, didn’t we (as in Brits) get rationed powdered eggs during WWII?
    Could we have sold on the fabulous powdered egg with a few changes to the Germans….?

  14. Now you mention it, I’ve got an old wartime recipe book of my Mother’s which uses recipes with powdered egg. It also has many uses for the turnip… none of which sound remotely appealing.

    Thank goodness the world has moved on from those days, eh?

  15. Carol Gardens

    I would think that this product would be perfect for someone camping or hiking. When I was a teen , we went on a family camping trip for 6 months around the US, Canada, and Mexico. We often cooked bacon outdoors in the morning on a griddle over a fire, and the bacon came rolled up in cans!
    When I travel, I take nuts, dried fruit, coffee,tea, and oatmeal even if I am staying in hotels, so I can have a low-priced meal whenver I want.
    Sometimes the price is worth the packaging, for the convenience of taking a product with you.
    I use dry powdered eggwhites for baking all the time .
    My daughter saw Uncle Ben’s Instant Rice at a market in Germany….she thought that it was a German invention. I had to tell her that was a popular product in the 50’s, and that product was the reason I grew up believing that I didn’t like rice.

  16. Dave

    Well, I’m a german … and I think that product would be bought by people who just don’t think about the calculation you wrote about in your post. Or, let’s say people with an IQ below 100. Which is, scaringly because it’s by definition, approximately half the population.

  17. Jane

    My daughter’s best friend was a majorly finicky eater. Her mother said daughter would only eat boxed macaroni and cheese and corn dog nuggets. I obliged. Kid refused to eat the macaroni that I fixed because although it was the exact same brand of Mac n Cheese it wasn’t shaped like “Rug Rats” and she only ate the breading off the corn dog nuggets. Then she and her sister cried because I suggested that they taste a grape. And then they had the nerve to tell their mother that I fix weird food!

    At a later date I took a veggie platter to a party at their house and my kids squealed with delight as they took cherry tomatoes, passing up crisps, brownies, etc. The other kids’ father about passed out with shock and still tells the story to this day that my kids willingly chose vegetables over junk food.

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