Next week will be Karneval in Germany – that famous binge-fest of doughnuts and beer. (Look out hips… prepare for rapid expansion!) But once the five days of revelry are over, it will be Lent. Time for fasting and contemplation.
Of course, German cuisine does not lend itself to fasting. At this time of the year it’s all thick stews and dumplings. The concept of going without meat is alien to most Germans too – especially as the weather starts to warm up and the grill could conceivably be brought back into action.
Perhaps I should follow the example of the monks of Maulbronn and cheat my way through Lent. According to legend, the monks disliked the constraint of not eating meat during Lent, and came up with the idea of Maultaschen – a teutonic form of ravioli where the meat is hidden inside a coating of pasta-dough (where God can’t see it). These are also known locally as “Herrgottbescheißerle” – literally Bullshitters of the Lord.
Of course no Fastnacht would be complete at the cloister without a plate of Nonnenfürzle (literally Nun’s Farts). These are little deep fried sugar doughnuts. Did I mention that Germans don’t like dieting?
Alternatively I could go for one of the classic German Lenten dishes like Gepreßter Schweinskopf aus Fisch – literally pressed pig’s head from fish. You just boil up a lot of fish, strain out the bones, mould it into the shape of a pig’s head (apple in mouth optional) and serve. Did I mention that Germans don’t get the idea of not eating meat?
I think after the excesses of Karneval I shall focus on salads. In Germany this means Krautsalat. That’s white cabbage salad. A quick trawl of the internet tells me there are well over 200 different recipes for Krautsalat. Somehow I suspect I’m not going to enjoy any of them.
Now that’s what I call fasting!