Monday, August 27, 2007

Wann kommt November?

Things (one or more of) the Hollywoods Won't Eat:
1. Vegetables other than Zucchini (must of course be peeled as European zucchini skin is apparently too tough), Broccoli, Carrots, and Lettuce (but Mixed Greens or lettuce with any sort of curly whatsoever is"too fancy")
2. Cheeses other than Parmesan, Mozzarella, or Provolone (which isn't easily available in the Fatherland)
3. Steak or Chops (or any meat that requires actual chewing)
4. Chicken on the bone (some weeks) and Boneless Chicken (other weeks)
5. Fruit Desserts
6. Chocolate Ice Cream
7. Couscous
8. Fish with bones (god forbid whole fish)
9. Sausages other than turkey hotdogs (in Deutschland!)
10. Lamb or Pork (too fatty)
11. Anything remotely spicy
12. Tomato Sauce
13. Macaroni & Cheese (except when they absolutely must have it)
14. Lasagne (gasp -- it has both tomato sauce and ricotta cheese!)
15. Round foods
16. Corn
17. Pie (unless called galette/tart/etc.)
18. Anything pickled
19. Nuts
20. Most German foods
21. Beans

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Climb Every Mountain

I meant to warn everyone that I was heading off to climb every mountain in Austria for two weeks and would thus be away from the blogosphere for a while, but it was so crazy in those final days (delightful houseguest, wedding, feeding the Hollywoods, etc.) that I never got around to it. In any case, it was a good Wander (odd German euphemism for all levels of hiking), though there were times when I thought mein Freund was going to drag me up and down every peak, cliff, and high point in the Alps. Anyway, a nice feature of Euro wandering are the "huts" where you can eat and sleep so you don't need to carry all your food and sleeping equipment. The huts are generally rustic, but the food (while lacking in perishables) is pretty decent and generally what you are craving after scrambling over and up and down rocks for ten hours...dumpling soups, pasta and Spätzle, sausages and Knödel. The wine was good, the coffee situation significantly less so (but I learned from last year's Wander and this time had a stash of chocolate-covered espresso beans to get me through). There were also about a million fat marmots scrambling and screeching about the mountains and I had been told that you sometimes found them for dinner in the huts. I was seriously craving marmot fricassee, but apparently the little rodents are now protected.....alas. I did, however, manage to have Gross Glockner (the mountain we were hiking around) lamb heart and lung stew (naturally with Knödel).

The uberWander was pleasantly sandwiched between days in Munich and Salzburg. Munich is a lovely city, full of sports cars and stylish people -- sort of an Italianized Germany. I had excellent food photos of Schweinhaxe (Pork Knuckle) and Knödel in Munich but my camera/technology got the best of me again and somehow they were deleted. (All in all I had eight (8!) kinds of Knödel during the trip: bread, potato, pressed, liver, semolina, speck/ham, and napkin (a log-shaped Knödel traditionally steamed in a cloth napkin and then sliced)). Salzburg is also a beautiful city straight out of The Sound of Music. It's also (supposedly) home to Sacher torte, which we dutifully sampled (as well as "warm apple strudel" and Schnitzel (though not with noodles) and lots of good Austrian wine and beer. Even taking into account all the beautiful mountains, wildflowers, adorable herds of Alpine sheep and goats and cows, and the many varieties of Knödel, my hands-down favorite moment of the trip was captured in this last photo here -- mein Freund trying on Lederhosen (after all, what's the point of a German boyfriend if he isn't wearing the costume?)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Die Deutsche Hochzeit

Observations of German Weddings (after attending 3):
1. Dry pork instead of dry chicken.
2. Cheesy American music AND cheesy German music (a la '80s pop hits).
3. They Germans are surprisingly into the cheesy....I have now witnessed: the very unPC group-release of a bunch of red heart balloons all with postcards that will hopefully make their way back to the happy couple (alas, they were already sort of deflated by the time we did the release and I don't think any of them made it more than 50 meters away from the church), a dove release, and a wierd thing where the couple were roped out on to the dance floor by their "friends" and made to dance under a star-printed canopy while people stood around them holding paper lanterns, thereby simulating nighttime, which I *think* was supposed to be romantic.
4. The first dance is always a waltz, which they (unlike me) all learned to do in school. But hey, I don't think anyone else can do-si-do (sp?).
5. Apparently it is considered rude to use trays at formal events so banquet waiters, even when serving hundreds of guests must carry two plates at a time. I suggest packing snacks or eating a big meal before going to a German wedding.
6. Another thing that makes the weddings last so long is that they go around an introduce everyone to the rest of the group...nice, I guess, but sort of odd.
7. And my personal favorite: For whatever reason, storks nest on churches in Europe and they have babies in the spring (wedding season), so two of the three weddings featured stork families flying about. Too cute.