Tag Archives: german food

Is it a plant, is it an alien?

I’ve mentioned before that I’m growing my own salad and vegetables this year.

In keeping with my infiltration of German society, I thought I’d better grow some proper German veg. And what could be more German than having your garden full of kohlrabi?

Well… that’s what I thought until they started to turn into aliens… right there in my vegetable patch! Seriously… some are purple and some are green… but they’ve all got tentacles… or possibly antennae. I can’t sleep at night as I’m expecting them to invade the kitchen any minute. If I don’t post again, you’ll know they got me….


Filed under Life in Germany

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?


Filed under food, Life in Germany

A very unique recipe

This week Birgit and I had some business visitors. So I asked my husband to cook lunch for everybody.

Knowing better than to leave the choice of menu entirely up to him, I whizzed down to the supermarket and bought the kind of ingredients that any culinary ignoramous can’t mess up. Right? Pasta, mushrooms, cream, salad. Everything that you’d need for a nice pasta and mushroom sauce with a crisp salad on the side.

But I hadn’t reckoned with the ambitious cunning of my husband. You see, as he rarely gets chance to cook, whenever he does get free rein in the kitchen, he likes to add a little flair to his recipes. So while the rest of us were sitting around a flip chart talking about business processes, he was searching the internet for exotic ways to jazz up a mushroom sauce.

When we came in for lunch, I have to say though, that he was looking a little nervous. My fourteen year old son was standing by the cooker declaring: “It’s inedible. It’s a complete disaster!”

On first inspection though, I thought it didn’t look at all bad. It was recognisably a mushroom sauce, and the pasta was done to perfection.

What I’d failed to spot was the mysterious addition of “ingredient Z” to the mushrooms.

On first taste it was obvious that something was very wrong.

“What did you put in this?” I asked, appalled.

Birgit piped up immediately: “Is this an English speciality? What else can you expect from a nation that lays carpet in its bathrooms!”

“Have a guess.” I can see my husband starting to sweat.


“Erm. No. Actually it was Baileys.”

“Baileys? You put Baileys in the mushrooms?”

Trust me, readers, this is not a recipe recommendation. Baileys and mushrooms goes together about as well as would marmelade and prawns, or banana and pickled gherkins. I know, I’ve tried it. I hope you never have to.

Praise be to the spare jar of pesto in the cupboard!


Filed under food, Life in Germany

Fish and chips at the fairground

I already mentioned that Whitsun in Meerbusch is not complete without a trip to the fair.

Apart from all the rides, it’s fun to browse the wonderfully kitschy stalls, with their strange array of things to eat…. popcorn, candy floss, toffee apples, lebkuchen-hearts…

Of course there’s one stall which we Brits always make a beeline for. The Backfischbude. This is the one place and time when you can get proper English-style Fish ‘n’ Chips in Germany.

The only secret the the Germans haven’t discovered about Fish ‘n’ Chips (nobody breathe a word, OK) is you need to add proper malt vinegar. This is impossible to find in German supermarkets. We import it ourselves from Britain.

So on Saturday, we went along for our Fish ‘n’ Chips with a secret stash of our precious malt vinegar carefully decanted into a miniature whisky bottle.

As we sat down to enjoy the feast, we did get some odd looks from Germans as we all appeared to pour a generous measure of Scotch onto our fish… in fact I could almost hear the clunk of jaws dropping when not only we adults but also our children followed suit.

Finally, I have to share with you this couple of slot machines I found lurking over near the dodgems. They don’t make ’em like that any more!


Filed under food, German festivals, Life in Germany

German as she is spoke

Planning to waste years of your life sweating over a German grammar book? Well stop right now.

Here’s how you really speak German. Welcome to Imbißdeutsch…


Filed under comedy, food, German language, German video, Life in Germany

German cuisine as you’ve never seen it before…

Nobody works harder than ex-pats to keep their national traditions alive. At least, that’s what I always thought, based on observed ex-pat rituals. So it was no surprise to find out that second and third generation German-emigrees are sometimes more German than the Germans… and cherish customers, rituals and recipes which no German would actually recognise.

I discovered this touching clip on Youtube – note the very German hat (you know how Germans make their children wear hats with odd tassles and pom-poms).

For anyone who was confused by that clip – a quick reminder of what real German cuisine is all about.


Filed under comedy, food, German video, Life in Germany