Monday, February 21, 2011

Heimweh nach Sauerkraut

When I was home over the holidays, I ate a lot of sauerkraut, which may sound odd given that I live in a country that mein Mann refers to as "Krautland." The thing is that my sister has taken to making her own kraut and it's fabulous. Having lost her driver's license, she managed to get a jar of it through airport security armed with only an expired university id and the argument that the amount of liquid in the jar was less than 3 ounces. I'm not so sure about that, but I am sure that I ate way more than my share. Luckily, I was able to continue my kraut binge on the other end of my vacation at my parents' home because my mother has caught the kraut-making bug and hers was equally delicious. I ate bowls of the the stuff straight from the fridge, but I particularly loved a sandwich she created - aged ham, extra-sharp cheddar, plum chutney, and a small pile of kraut. Back in Germany I've been both under the weather and much busier thanks to a new fuller-time job. Somehow the kraut I've been getting at the bio store doesn't quite merit being eaten by itself (even the better stuff I've found here is limper and the flavor a little duller than what my mom and sister make. Clearly I need to be about getting my own crock and making my own batch and I plan to just as soon as I find the time and energy), but since my grocery store trips are less frequent of late, we've been eating more Abendbrot. I know it isn't what the natives do, but I like a little veg with my bread and cheese and I can report that sauerkraut mixed with grated carrot and thinly sliced radicchio (the only vegetables that happened to be lingering in the refrigerator), spiced up a bit with perhaps a dab of mustard and some herbs if they happen to also be dying in the fridge, makes a very tasty slaw. I've also been making something akin to a vegetarian reuben sandwich ... really just grilled Emmentaler cheese with sauerkraut and mustard or Russian dressing because the only corned beef I've seen in Berlin is truly scary. But the other day I noticed that they have pastrami at my local bio store: nearly authentic reuben sandwiches for dinner (a little light on the meat, but that's a good thing because you can really taste the sauerkraut). Finally, why have I never heard of a Krautburger before? Delicious.

ps. I'm having a hard time finding someone exited about Albanian food....but I'm going to make it happen.