Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Food tastes best with ö in it.

There isn't any ö in Rouladen, but we were excited nonetheless.

OK, it's been two whole (almost) posts without any talk of food and I can't take it anymore and must now talk about food because OH MY GOD we had a German Feast the other night which deserves some attention.

Now, I don't know about y'all, but my life's history of German fare has been pretty limited. I've had the occasional brat, and a few fresh baked pretzels and lord knows I've had my share of beer, but I wouldn't consider any of that truly experiencing German food. Not even the German chocolate cake that I love with such great intensity that it hardly matters from whence it came because I wouldn't be able to hear the explanation over my loud munching and smacking.

I do love German chocolate cake.

I mean, I doubt Germans sit around the table in their haus (Do you like my German word here? Stay tuned!) eating pretzels and brats and drinking beer all the live long day. They must have other things right? Sure they do.

Anyway, what I'm saying is that I knew there was more to German food than the few Americanized options I've experienced personally, and thankfully I have a lovely German friend who lets me pillage her orange tree and also wanted to cook us dinner.

And by us, I mean Bubba, Jada and I.

So, off to Elke's we went on Sunday night, for what was billed as REAL German food, OhmeinGott! (See! German word alert!)

Best part was that we were going to have Semmelknödle, which is made all the more delicious by the fact that it has an ö in the name, which is my favorite thing in all of German to say.


What the F is Semmelknödle? Or the other things on the menu; Rouladen mit zwiebeln, gurken und speck? Well, let me just tell you since I TOTALLY speak German now (I do not):

I wish I still had Bubba's translation of this recipe. There were windshield wipers involved.

Rouladen is the German equivalent of Bubba's favorite foods ever rolled into one fabulous dish. Bacon, pickles and onions rolled in flank steak and braised in beef (and I suspect beer) broth.

Really now. Bacon AND Beef AND Pickles? My yes. It is the perfect storm of dinner.

An amazing cross section of deliciousnessocity.

Um, yes, please.

And for the Semmelknödle, it's basically a bread dumpling. And there's some spices in there, probably, too.

You can't be sad when there's Semmelknödle.

So, you know, typical German sounding menu: Meat wrapped in meat, some bread and OH! that's right - a vegetable: cooked red cabbage.

You have to love how Germans throw a vegetable in there and don't even try to NOT make it look like an afterthought. Now, don't get me wrong, I love cooked red cabbage, but it's not the LOOK AT ME I'M A FANCY VEGETABLE dish that, say, an arugula salad dressed with Lemon Pesto Vinaigrette might be.

What? Me? Self-congratulatory? NEVER.

Meanwhile, the "I'm not so fancy" vegetable looked very nice set out for our authentic German Feast meal.

All of this was gone after, like, 15 minutes.

Not that I noticed it much. Given the bacon wrapped in flank steak situation hanging out right next door on my plate.

Whatever - I loved it, is what I'm saying - and also I'm glad the focus of the menu was meat because who doesn't want their bacon wrapped in beef? Jerks. And also I think we've all heard just enough about my stupid salad dressing.

I ate this meal twice because I'm a wild animal.

And because Elke is quite the hostess, she also made sure to round out the authenticity of our meal by playing German pop music, encouraging us randomly spout our favorite German words (Scheibenwischer!)and letting her cat steal from my purse.

This is Tara. She steals.

Ok, so cat burglarizing isn't inherently German, but the cats (she has two) spent the better part of the evening trying to either make out with Jada (they love dogs) or stealing dog treats from my purse and it was too awesome to not say anything. You understand.

For the record, Tara (the cat you see here face down in my bag) stole three (3!) Puperoni treats from my bag, played with them on the floor in front of Jada's face for our entertainment and then conveniently left them unattended (wink wink, doggie) to go back for more.

We suspect that these animals are in cahoots now given the seamless stealing/passing/eating of treats that went on during dinner. I don't know how Jada bribes them, but I suspect it involves inter-species cuddling as these cats are always trying to groom her fur or kiss her nose.

It's a little bizarre.


We ate some very VERY very good German food (twice - we all had seconds - it was SO good) and then this chocolate banana bread I made when I forgot how much I love German chocolate cake and finally had a reason to make it. Whoopsy!

Oh well. I sorta bet it's not really an authentically German thing? Elke?

Hi. I'm made with prunes. Don't eat too much otherwise YOU KNOW WHAT.
For the record, the cake was fine. And I suspect that it wasn't GREAT because it was one of those switcheroo recipes that says Oh this is as good as the real thing but guess what there's something weird instead of butter.

And the weird thing was prunes.

Not as successful as swapping out butter for Greek yogurt (love you, Greek yogurt!), but not totally foul. In the future though, I will just use butter and leave the prunes for brooming.

You know.

And that concludes the German Feast Meal.

Lederhosen! Ok, that's the last German word I can think of.


  1. Wow. The food looks fantastisch. (I'm not a terrible speller, that's the German word for fantastic.) I've spent some time in Germany and currently live in Austria, so I'm familiar with the German fare, but I've never seen a dish with bacon and beef and pickles all wrapped into one. One of my favorite sausages is a frankfurter sliced lengthwise and stuffed with cheese, then wrapped in bacon and grilled. It's called a Berner Würstel. It doesn't have an ö, but it has an ü. And I actually prefer the ü because I can't really pronounce the ö -- it just comes out sounding like o.

    Since you mentioned your brownie recipe...I was just looking at it earlier today after trying Greek yogurt for the first time. Have you tried the recipe with splenda and swapping all of the butter for FF Greek yogurt?

    One last thing before I close this novel. Sadly, German chocolate cake is not German at all. Unless maybe the ingredients include sauerkraut.

  2. Alisha - I KNEW it. Stupid "German" chocolate cake being not German at all. Ugh. Oh well. I still love it. And I hate sauerkraut, so there you go.

    I haven't made the brownies with the Splenda swap yet, but just the Greek yogurt swap was good enough. They're SO good! I ate a lot of them. Totally negating the fat savings from using yogurt BUT WHATEVER.

    This Berner Würstel you speak of sound delish. I enjoy things stuffed with those other things. YUMMY.

  3. The bad news is that Alisha is right about the German chocolate cake. The good news is that Esther's Bakery has Black Forest cake which is infinitely superior.

    And like you said, you really can't be sad when there's Semmelknödel.

    Also, ö ö ö.

  4. YAY GERMAN FOOD! Yay red cabbage! Yay rouladen! Yay . . . dumpling thing.

    The only one of those I have never had is the dumpling thing. You should also add to your list of German food to be eaten: sauerbraten (which takes three days of marinating, but is otherwise way easy and OH MY GOD SO GOOD) and sauerkraut. Oh! And German potato salad! Which may be another fake German food, but does include bacon and vinegar, so who cares?

    Can you tell I get a wee bit worked up about German food? I blame my great-grandmother. Her name was Agnes Heidel. Does it get any more German than that?

  5. I wish I could've been there because I would have recited my
    7th grade German dialog for you! Now I know YOU'RE wishing I was there too.

    Ah, German food....starch with meat, starch, sugar and more meat..

  6. Ach! Sehr Fantastische (sp?)!!! I LURVE german food but it's so hard to get the real thing here. You're one lucky Frau!

  7. Good food and good friends, what better way to spend an evening? Sounds wunderbar.

  8. Although technically Austrian, wiener schnitzel is FANTASTIC!!!

  9. Ach! Du Liebe! I lived in Germany for a year and my favorite things to eat were the Broetchen (awesome little rolls) and the Mandelhoernchen - fabulous almond cookies with the ends dipped in chocolate. I lived right next door to a bakery which made it almost the best year ever. And - not that you asked - but my favorite German word is Staubsauger. That's vacuum cleaner but the more literal translation would be Dirt Sucker. Awesome!

  10. Elke - Let's go to Esther's and get this cake. I want to know what a black forest tastes like. ö ö ö to you, too! Love that.

    Kristin - Say it with me Semmelknödle...Although I admit, it really is just some dumpling thing. Which, LOVE DUMPLINGS! I had no idea that your love for German food ran so deep. You have quite the border skirmish going on in your family, what with your husbands' roots and your New Ahlins peeps. Weirdo.

    Jen - You had a German dialog in the 7th grade?

    What the hell for?

    You're right. I DO wish you were there. I enjoy weird. Really I do.

    Anna - German words alert! Awesomeness.

    Decca - If only there were mah jongg, it would have been perfect.

    Nell - Seriously. Hot dogs of any variety are excellent :)

    Wendi - If I had a vacuum, I'd call it a Dirt Sucker - that's hysterical! I think the cleaning lady might be angry if I called her that, though. I want to try those almond cookies!!

  11. Yes, let's go to Esther's. They have Mandelhörnchen too. Thimbleanna and Wendi, I think you just have to come visit the Bay Area. :-)

    And yayyy Sauerbraten! The Suppenküche, my German home away from home in San Francisco, has good Sauerbraten. (Well, good everything, really, including a great beer selection).

    Anyway, say when for Esther's. And OhmeinGott!, that chocolate banana bread tastes even better today, if that's even possible. Breakfast of champions!

  12. Elkit - I don't know if I can go to Esther's without getting the pretzel with the cheese scoop. What's that shit called again? Obatzta? But I am willing to try. For the good of the people. Or something.

    I'm glad you are liking that bread. It still seems iffy with all those prunes. But that WOULD make it a good breakfast.

  13. Who said anything about going to Esther's without having Obatzter? And crunch sticks? And a pretzel or two or twelve?

    Those for starters. Then we'll have Bratwurst and Sauerkraut and Kassler smoked pork chops with a side of Kartoffelsalat, AND THEN Black Forest cake and almond horseshoes.

    Good times. Good times.

  14. Elkit - And then you get an ambulance on speed dial because my innards will surely explode. Last time I ordered Obatzter and one pretzel thinking I'd be still starving when I was done.

    UM, no. Full. Totally full.

    Although I did have JUST enough room for a bite of that awesome pastry with the poppyseed filling. WTF is that?? That I love.

    There are too many good things there.

  15. Also, Kartoffelsalat - not only do I know the word (yay! potato salad!) but I also know that German potato salad is superior to the mayonaisey crap they try to feed us here in the States. Yew.

  16. I always put bacon in my Kartoffelsalat.

    Somehow, you are not surprised. 8-)

    And I use mustard and sour cream insteaf of mayonnaise. That's how I roll.

  17. Yes, somehow I am not surprised. SOMEHOW, indeed.

    I think it's the mustard and sour cream that makes Kartoffelsalat better than American Potato Salad. Do you also use red potatoes?

  18. Augh that looks DELICIOUS. Elke is so cute! Too bad you don't have a photo of Jada and the cats.

  19. I just learned the word for windshield wipers in my German class and thought this was such an appropriate post!

    Also, did you put mustard in the Rouladen? My mom is from Munich, and she always put this weird German mustard in it. I, personally, can't stand it, but to each his own.

    You made me want to be in Germany again!


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.