Spoonfuls of Germany

#AmericaCooksGerman is #WunderbarTogether

6 Comments

Nothing connects people as food does. And it’s a great conversation starter, too. I have often found myself talking with total strangers at a grocery store about a German ingredient or a recipe. The last time this happened was at a Christmas market outside of Philadelphia, where I overheard a conversation in German about making your own Eierlikör (spiked eggnog). I boldly jumped in, and before I knew it, my friend Gabriele and I found ourselves debating with half a dozen other German-Americans whether sweetened condensed milk or heavy cream makes the better Eierlikör.

Most of those encounters however don’t happen in person but online. I am in touch with the readers of my blog and with others on social media, trading and comparing German recipes, tips for substituting hard-to-find ingredients, and where to find them, or just reminiscing about food memories from Germany. If I could, I would initiate a potluck to bring us German food aficionados together.

One of the people with whom I have an ongoing dialog but have never met in person is the blogger German Girl in America. I interviewed her for this blog four years ago, and her experiences as a German-American are as relatable today as when I wrote her story four years ago.

She and I share the same passion for the red berry pudding Rote Grütze, and I could not have summed up better what German food is all about when she told me, “What I love about German food is that it tends to be seasonal, with lots of fruit and vegetables. Yes, there are ‘heavy meals’ but overall, people eat well. There is less of a junk food culture, fun foods like chocolate and candy exist, but there is a balance. And Germans stand firm on keeping chemicals and GMOs out of their food.”

I am thrilled that German Girl in America agreed to join me in #AmericaCooksGerman.

Between January 31 and February 17, 2019, we are inviting you to share your photos of German food on Instagram. It’s like a virtual potluck all across the United States, as part of The Year of German-American Friendship.

A few basic rules:

  • It needs to be a photo of prepared food, not products straight from a supermarket shelf. In other words, no Toffifay® on its own, but your favorite cake decorated with it is OK.
  • In your post, indicate what’s in the photo and your location (city and state, or state only).
  • And, very important, don’t forget to add the hashtags #AmericaCooksGerman and #WunderbarTogether (which is the hashtag of The Year of German-American Friendship). This is the only way we can locate your photos.

Not on Instagram? If you are not on Instagram, and you cannot ask anyone else to post a photo on Instagram for you, you can email me your photo at spoonfulsofgermany[at] gmail [dot] com, or, if you are on Facebook, send me a photo via Facebook message, and I will post the photo on Instagram for you. Please include the name you would like to appear with the photo, what the photo shows, and your location.

Towards the end of February, German Girl in America and I will do a recap of all the photos and highlight some of the more unusual ones.

Next… grab your camera or smartphone and snap away to show us how #AmericaCooksGerman!

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6 thoughts on “#AmericaCooksGerman is #WunderbarTogether

  1. What a fun project. Can’t wait to see the outcome!

  2. Dear Nadia, I love your blog and follow it closely. When you published your cookbook I told my daughter to get it for me for Christmas. She found a copy in London. So I have the European measurements for the recipes. But it doesn’t matter. At 80+ I tend to cook the same ten dishes that I can make with what I have in the fridge and I know will be almost wordlessly consumed by my husband.

    I also enjoy following German Girl in America. As an American girl of German parents so much of what you post is shared experience. While you have enjoyed post WW2 life in the U.S. I entered Kindergarten in 1942 so my family enjoyed their German heritage quietly at home and with other German families. We made little fanfare that we were German.

    We enjoyed our Erpsensuppe during those cold Michigan winters. Our Thanksgiving table had all the traditional dishes including sweet & sour red cabbage. I was surprised that none of my neighborhood playmates even knew what that was. Every Saturday my mother baked a Kugelhopf and a Streusel Kuchen. That was breakfast for the rest of the week. By the end of the week we were dunking it into the cocoa in the morning.

    For Christmas we started baking before Thanksgiving so the cookies could “cure”in tin containers in the unheated pantry. We made at least 10 different kinds of cookies and several loaves of Stollen. The first cookies were eaten on Christmas Eve. For Easter we always made an Igel. I am not the baker my mother was, and while my daughters have picked up the standard when it comes to many of the Christmas cookies. The Igel is still my Easter specialty. Together with the grandchildren I carefully construct the lady fingers and buttercream into an Igel. Then I sit down with the children and patiently poke every toasted almond sliver into place. A little coconut dyed spring green and a few jelly beans for that American touch and our Oster Schleckerei is complete!

    It never occurred to me that we ate a very German cuisine at home because I think the average American dinner of a chop, potatoes, a vegetable and a salad is similar. I would say that German Cuisine was very influential in shaping the American dinner menu over the 19th & early 20th century. While my little playmates had no idea what Spätzle & Sauerkraut were or Linsen und Speck, we all ate pretty much the same kind of stuff. I quickly learned not to discuss German soul food with the incognicenti!

    Tonight we had Chicken vegetable Soup with Butterknödel. A few weeks ago when I still hd the hambone from Christmas it was Erpsensuppe.

    . We have a respectable bakery in the area that makes a “German Rye” Whenever I make this soup it gets “inhaled” by the rest of the family.

    Missing from this plate are the Zimtstern that I now buy because it is too much work to make them without a sous chef. This year we also made the baby Igel. I must work on them to make them a little smaller.

    This year’s addition to the plate, We still have a substantial amount of cookies, I expect them to last until March. ~Eleanor Oliver

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  3. What a lovely way to celebrate the German-American friendship!! Food does have a great capacity to bring people together, and to stimulate memories.
    As for the discussion about Eierlikoer – what what was the consensus?? 🙂

  4. P.S. We never ate store bought jams or jellies. We never ate store bought canned peaches, pears or apple sauce. and still do not. My first taste of Commercially canned peaches was in the school lunchroom. Imagine my disappointment with that first bite of a store-canned peach. Yuk! Store-bought applesauce is a travesty. ~Eleanor Oliver Washington D.C.

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