Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Observations on D-land

My thanks to Nathalie, who invited me for a coffee at a cafe on the Schlossplatz. A pleasant day, though still cold. And Nathalie made some good points:
1. Don't be a baby. Shut up and go buy stuff. (Tommy the Englishman said this, too, to be fair.)
2. Don't try to ask questions, or do something complicated, if there is a long line. Just come back later.
3. Go to cafes, and you will be fine. First, lots of people are happy to practice their English. Second, the waiters, when they hear your American accent, will assume that they will get an actual tip, instead of the back of the hand they expect from German customers or students.

So, okay, I'll try again.

First, though, I went to Kaufland, the... store, I guess you would call it. But it is three different enormous levels. It's a little like a cross between a Whole Foods and a Super WalMart. They....have....everything. I was in there for two hours. Here is what I accomplished.

A. Got all the stuff I needed to fix up the Gbike. Back basket, which fit perfectly. Set of allen wrenches, so I could tighten the handlebars and raise the seat. Much, much better. Bungee cords, so I could keep all the loot in the baskets, fore and aft. The Gbike is now officially as cool as a girl's bike with a 50 year old guy on it could be.

B. Amazing stuff in the store. One thing I remember: they had a kind of ice cream called "Mövenpick." I thought to myself, Tom Gilligan makes ice cream? 'Cause I know that Gilligan must have picked up the copyright on the movin' pick. Nobody does it better.

C. The multi-level grocery store sounds like a bad idea. How are you going to move the big carts around? Answer: escalators. Wait, that can't be right. Oh, yes it can! The escalators flat, like the people movers at airports, but then elevated 20 degrees so they slope up. Won't the carts just roll backwards/forwards? Nope. The wheels have many little slots, and so do the escalators. The wheels lock in very effectively, but then unlock smoothly at the end of the escalator. Just the experience of riding this escalator occupied me for 20 minutes, with my cart.

D. Got excellent bread, cheese, and Franconische senf (spicy sweet mustard). EV Olive oil. Balsamic vinegar. Butter. Marmalade. A little bottle of that German kaffe-milk, to which I have become accustomed for coffee or tea.

E. And, then, the main course: Onions. Potatoes. Sauerkraut. Bockwurst. All in quantities large and cheap.

Then I hurried home with my bounty. Boil the potatoes, cut up small. At the same time, cook the onions in the EVOO, with some spices. (Paprika, salt, pepper). When the onions are good and carmelized. put in the bockwurst. Put the drained potatoes, and then the drained sauerkrat, on top. Let simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.

I took some ciabatta bread, drizzled it with EVOO, and then broiled it for five minutes. Added some Emmentaler cheese (which is good and melty), and broiled again.

Then....bockwurst with lots of mustard, onions and potatoes in s-kraut juice, the s-kraut itself, and the ciabatta bread with browned Emmentaler. That would have been one of Herb's all time favorites. Happy to represent.


Michael Thomas said...

Your blog on German food has now become my favorite blog! Ich vermiss Deutschland.

But seriously: All the way to Deutschland for French mustard? For novelty my favorite German item is the ketchup and mayo combo tube which emits a product looking like aquafresh toothpaste, except it is mayo and ketchup.

MaxSpeak said...

I'm guessing you're not on the Atkins diet.

Angus said...

LOL, Max! He's on the see-food diet!

Michael Munger said...

To be fair, I have lost ten pounds since I got here.

Basically no calories in sauerkraut, or onions.

And two slices of ciabatta bread just aren't that much.

Just breaking up the routines of eating at home has been a big help.

Now, I may gain it back in a heartbeat, now that I can cook.

Still, Angus has a point: I have long been on the see-food diet.

Michael Munger said...

Oh, and another thing, MT: this area of Germany is called "Franconia", for the Hugenots who settled, or resettled it.

So that's local mustard. French mustard would run away from these manly, chubby bockwurst.

Adam Dynes said...

I encountered my first escalator-ramp at a fancy super market in Playa del Carmen just south of Cancun. It blew my mind away.

My one hope is that President Obama will hold a press conference and utter these these simple, yet industry-inspiring, words:

"But I know that if the Germans and Mexicans can design an affordable, well-designed escalator-ramp for shopping carts, then doggone it, the American people should be able to to do the same. So my job is to ask the supermarket industry: Why is it you guys can't do this?"

Gosh, if the President can't get supermarkets in line for the good of the nation, why did we ever elect him?

Jason said...

I take it you haven't been to the new Target in North Hills? They have a cart escalator too, coming out into the parking garage. (But only one way. I don't know how they get the carts back from the garage to the Target.)

Michael Thomas said...

That clears it up, now I am 100% jealous of your diet.