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Rebecca: Hi everyone, and welcome back to GermanPod101.com! This time we’ll be talking about German cuisine! Germans really love their food. The world of German cuisine is huge.
Widar: It really is! It’s hard to summarize German cuisine in one lesson!
Rebecca: And we’re just going to talk about traditional German dishes, though Germans also love international cuisines and thus a broad variety of dishes from different cultures. The most prominent are Greek, Italian, Turkish, French, and Asian, but mainly Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese.
Widar: The important point to remember is to try something you don’t know. You might really like it.
Rebecca: Yeah. And you might get the real flavor of Germany.
Widar: I think when most people think of German food, they have an image that they just can’t shake - potatoes and sausages.
Rebecca: Yeah, a lot of it probably has potato in it, but not every German dish comes with sausages.
Widar: Well, the German diet is not considered to be one of the healthiest in the world, but it’s nowhere near dangerous. You won’t get a sausage stomach!
Rebecca: Definitely not. But a lot of American junk food has made its way in. Anyway, German cuisine has so much more to offer! And we’ll go into a lot of it today.
Widar: So, maybe you shouldn’t listen to this on an empty stomach!
Rebecca: First, before we get into the food, we want to touch on the phrase you hear when you have meals with German people.
Widar: It’s customary to say "Guten Appetit!" before starting a meal. It literally means "good appetite" and it’s a nice way to show gratitude for the meal.
Rebecca: And it’s a wish. You want everybody to enjoy the meal. Some people even pray before they start to eat or shake hands while saying "Guten Appetit," but you had better not do that in a restaurant. People also used to finish a meal with a saying, but this habit has vanished.
Widar: And if you’re having a drink, you can say "Prost!" as you touch glasses, which means "Cheers!"
Rebecca: Can we hear them again? What do we say before meal?
Widar: "Guten Appetit!"
Rebecca: And "Cheers!" is.
Widar: "Prost!"
Rebecca: Okay, where shall we start?
Widar: I’ve got the list of "Top Five Foods to Try in Germany."
Rebecca: Who decided them?
Widar: Well, people who work at GermanPod101.com. So it’s not based on official research or anything.
Rebecca: Basically, what food do we think the listeners should try? What’s the first food on the list, Widar?
Drum roll
Widar: Sausage!
Rebecca: Now, sausage almost doesn’t need an introduction, but we’ll explain it anyway. In German, "sausage" is called "Wurst." You will find hundreds of different kinds of sausages such as "boiled sausages" like "Wiener" or "Frankfurter Würstchen" and the common "Bockwurst," or "hot sausage," "grilled sausages," "fried sausages," sausages with peel and without…
Widar: But one of the most common sausage dishes is "Currywurst," or "Curry sausage."
Rebecca: The specialty of curry sausage is that it’s a large fried or grilled sausage that is served with curry powder and ketchup.
Widar: This spicy sausage traditionally comes with bread, and potato salad or french fries.
Rebecca: It’s one of the most popular German lunch dishes. Walk down Main Street in Hamburg and you’ll find a ton of snack bars where they serve Currywurst. So what’s the second food on the list?
Widar: "Bauernfrühstück!"
Rebecca: This classic German dish can be translated as "framer’s breakfast," even though it actually is a lunch dish.
Widar: Yeah. It’s one of the easiest dishes you can imagine. Bauernfrühstück is made of fried potatoes with scrambled egg and bacon. And it’s usually arranged with pickled cucumbers.
Rebecca: It’s quite simple, and yet very delicious. What’s next?
Widar: Next is, Schnitzel! "Schnitzel" is "a pork cutlet without bones." And it’s probably the most popular meat dish in Germany.
Rebecca: Yeah. People all over the world love Schnitzel. When made of prime quality meat, a Schnitzel is mostly served pure, perhaps with some salt and a slice of lemon.
Widar: Yes. But there are different versions of Schnitzel. Only the version coated in breadcrumbs and made from veal is called Wiener Schnitzel. This is best liked among Germans, even though it’s an Austrian dish.
Rebecca: Mostly, Schnitzel in Germany is made of pork coated in breadcrumbs and fried. It’s served with either potato salad or potatoes with parsley and butter.
Rebecca: Don’t think that Germans eat just pork or beef. They also have a lot of chicken and even lamb dishes. Okay. "Eintopf" is next on our list.
Widar: "Eintopf" in English is "hotpot." It’s a traditional type of German stew, which can consist of a great number of different ingredients.
Rebecca: The term refers to a way of cooking all ingredients in one pot, not to any specific recipe. For that reason, many different regional specialty recipes for Eintopf are known in Germany.
Widar: Eintopf contains four basic ingredients. They are broth, green vegetables, potatoes or pulses, and often meat or sausage. The beef stock, chicken broth or vegetable stock is often used as a foundation to which the other ingredients are gradually added. To bring out the flavor of the ingredients, numerous different kinds of kitchen herbs like lovage, chive, or parsley may be added as well as salt, pepper, and other spices.
Rebecca: Great examples for Eintopf are "Erbsensuppe" ("pea soup"), "Linseneintopf" ("lentil stew"), and "Lübecker National" ("made of turnip").
Widar: I’m getting hungry, but let’s get back to our list. The last one is "Kohlroulade!"
Rebecca: One of my personal favorites! "Stuffed cabbage leaf." "Kohlroulade" is a dish consisting of cooked white or savory cabbage leaves, wrapped around a variety of fillings.
Widar: The filling is traditionally based around meat, usually beef, lamb, or pork, and is seasoned with onion, garlic, and spices. First, the cabbage leaves are stuffed with the filling, then baked, simmered, or steamed in a covered pot, and eaten warm. Kohlroulade is served with gravy and boiled potatoes.
Rebecca: It’s very delicious! So other than this list, what food do you recommend to our listeners, Widar?
Widar: Well, Germany has a lot of regional dishes to offer. And I’m from the northern part of Germany. My favorite regional dish is Rollmops, which in English is rolled pickled herring. It’s a very simple yet tasty fish dish you’ll find on the menu of all fish restaurants alongside our beautiful Baltic coast. How about you, Rebecca?
Rebecca: Well, as you know, I’m from the states, but I’ve live on the northern part of Germany for quite some time now. Though it doesn’t mean I’ll just eat fish. So, while we have a lot of great fish dishes, I would rather recommend a traditional southwestern dish, "Maultaschen," a noodle dish. The noodles are reminiscent of ravioli, and stuffed with beef and herbs. This dish can be served with a soup in a bowl or can be fried with onion. It’s amazingly tasty!
Widar: Before we show you another fun top five, we need to talk about "Brot" ("bread").
Rebecca: Yeah. Bread plays a significant part of the German cuisine. There’s basically no breakfast or supper without it. Bread is considered necessary for a healthy diet. About six hundred different types of breads and more than one thousand types of pastries and bread rolls are produced every year. For that reason, Germany is considered to be "the Bread Country."
Widar: There are so many different types of bread in Germany, but some very popular ones are white bread, wheat-rye, toast bread, whole-grain, multigrain, black bread, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, and onion bread.
Rebecca: And don’t forget about "bread rolls," known as "Brötchen," "Semmel," "Schrippe," or "Weckle," depending on the region. The typical serving is a roll cut in half, then spread with butter or margarine. Meat, cheese, fish, honey, or jam are then placed between the two halves, or on each half separately.
Widar: If you don’t eat cereals for breakfast, bread rolls or toast bread are a must!
Rebecca: All right, now we’ve mentioned this before. Here’s another fun top five. The top five foods for the brave!
Widar: Yes, the foods on this list require some bravery to try. What’s the first one?
Rebecca: "Karpfen in Biersoße."
Widar: This traditional German dish derives from Germany’s Northeast and is well known in and around Berlin. It’s basically made of carp fish. Raw carp slices are cooked in a pot with beer sauce, made of dark beer, grease, and spices.
Rebecca: I tried it once around Christmas time. It’s definitely something for the brave ones. (laughing)
Widar: Next is "Pfälzer Saumagen." The name means "sow's stomach," and the stomach is integral to the dish and is not like a typical sausage casing. When the dish is finished by being pan-fried or roasted in the oven, it becomes crispy. Saumagen is similar to the Scottish haggis. "Pfälzer Saumagen" originates from the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate and consists of potatoes, carrots, and pork, usually spiced with onions, marjoram, nutmeg, and white pepper.
Rebecca: Okay, now the next one might top the list for me. It’s called "Hühnerfrikassee," and simply put, it’s "blanquette of chicken," roasted gently in a pan, then put in a pot, mixed with cream, egg yolk, and spices and steamed until it’s very soft.
Widar: It’s not the taste so much that is weird, it’s the soft, slimy texture.
Rebecca: Oh yeah! Next, we have "Grüne Heringe ("green herrings").
Widar: Although it’s called "green herrings," the herrings actually are not green. The color refers to them being fresh, not being preserved pickled herrings.
Rebecca: In North Germany, Grüne Heringe will be brushed with wheat flour, fried with butter, and then served hot.
Widar: This dish can be found at quite a few fish restaurants in the northern part of Germany. While the taste is not the main problem, the smell of the Herring fish is very, very strong. So, this is really something for the brave!
Rebecca: Okay, and the last one on the list is actually not widely eaten. But it definitely deserves a spot on the list of food for the brave.
Widar: The dish is "Pellkartoffeln mit Quark und Leinöl," a regional dish, most popular in the Spree Territory, east and southeast of Berlin.
Rebecca: It is made of boiled potatoes with curd and linseed oil. The potatoes are boiled in their skin and then served peeled or non-peeled with a healthy portion of seasoned curd, a slice of ham, and a small jug of linseed oil.
Widar: Linseed oil can taste very bitter, so before you pour the oil over the potatoes on your plate, ask the waiter if the oil is from the Spree Forest. There, they have the freshest, least bitter linseed oil.
Rebecca: Okay, so there you have it, the top five foods for the brave. If you’re feeling brave, give some of these a try! Widar, do you have anything you’d like to add to the foods for the brave list?
Widar: Well, there are a bunch of meat specialties, like "Grützwurst" ("white pudding") or "Sauerfleisch" ("soured meat in jelly") that are quite a challenge to eat, but I guess this list is pretty good.
Rebecca: German cuisine has a huge variety of food for you to try. You’re sure to find something you like!
Widar: Ok. That does it for our lesson on cuisine!
Rebecca: Don’t forget the two phrases you say before the meal and for "cheers!"
Widar: "Guten Appetit!" and "Prost!"
Widar: Premium members, use the review track to perfect your pronunciation.
Rebecca: Available in the premium section of the website,
Widar: the learning center
Rebecca: and through iTunes via the premium feed,
Widar: the Review Track gives you vocabulary and phrases followed by a short pause so you can repeat the words aloud.
Rebecca: The best way to get good fast!
Widar: See you next time, tschüss!
Rebecca: Bye!