Spoonfuls of Germany

Looking at Germany through its foods

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East German nostalgia in a jar


One of my favorite scenes in the great German movie Good Bye Lenin is when the main character Alex, a young man who in the last days of the crumbling GDR takes care of his gravely ill mother, fills West German pickled cucumbers into old East German jars to keep the illusion of the GDR alive, because any further upset could be a fatal blow to his mother, a staunch supporter of the ruling regime.

25 years after the Berlin Wall fell, the longing for the lost goodies, edibles and others, of the former East Germany is not that far from reality. It even has its own name: “Ostalgie”, the nostalgia for the East. Continue reading


Why ‘Marmelade’ lost its name

Strawberry Jam

If you want to pick up what is commonly known as Marmelade (jam) from a supermarket in Germany, you will look for it in vain – not because there is none but because jam in Germany may not be called “Marmelade” unless it contains at least 20% citrus fruit. Everything else is called “Konfitüre”. Continue reading

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A tribute to my publisher

Gingko with autumn leavesallGeorge Blagowidow, the founder of Hippocrene Books, died last week. Without him, there would be no book (and hence no blog), Spoonfuls of Germany. And, without George, I would not have had landed on my feet so quickly when I immigrated to the United States in January 1998. Continue reading