German Culture

Francine A. McKenna

Germany is a "Bread Paradise". With over 3050 registered varieties, almost all available types of grain used, from wheat, rye, barley and oats to millet, corn, rice and potato starch. While bread rolls go under so many different names in the various regions it is easier just to point.

Francine A. McKenna

They are "Harbingers of Spring", bringers of babies, stars of myth, superstition and a theme route. Storks...high on the list of Germany's favorite wildlife, it's "celebration time" when they return to their nests on cliff-ledges, rooftops and chimneys, after wintering in warmer climates.

Francine A. McKenna

"Putz anfallen", the German speaking world's love of cleaning and tidying everything in sight, shows no sign of ending. Those "cleaning attacks", necessary or not, day or night and at any time of year, are an "enjoyable", even compulsive, pastime...with rules and traditions of course.

Francine A. McKenna

Rote Grütze with summer berries is one of Germany's most popular desserts. Light, refreshing, easy to make and for centuries "every day" Hausmannskost, home cooking, in northern Germany, it is a "fruit salad with a difference", and a menu favorite even in upscale restaurants.

Francine A. McKenna

A cult object these days, but the first Strandkorb was invented in 1882, so an elderly aristocrat with rheumatism could continue to enjoy her beach holidays. Safely protected from the cold winds, rain, and sandblasts of the bracing North, where Germany borders the North and Baltic Seas.

Francine A. McKenna

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, every change of season is makeover time for Germany's flower boxes. A wonderful sight, colorful plant filled containers are everywhere, on door stoops, window ledges, trailing from apartment balconies, down historic buildings and ancient farmhouse walls.

Francine A. McKenna

It wouldn't be summer in Germany without a cold beer enjoyed under a leafy chestnut tree. Originally a way of using shaded areas covering underground beer storage cellars in 19th century Bavaria, visits to a Biergärten soon became a popular pastime, and a German tradition that traveled the world.

Francine A. McKenna

Rumtopf, for centuries a delicious way of preserving summer fruit. Beginning in early summer, with strawberries, cherries and rum of course, fruit is added as it comes into season until early autumn to make a taste of summer in winter. Easy to make, hard to mess up and so good...

Francine A. McKenna

Observatory, Shrine, or Temple? For the prehistory agricultural civilization that created Germany's Goseck Circle 7,000 years ago, Solstice was an important seasonal midpoint celebration. Probably the world's oldest solar observatory, it predates Britain's Stonehenge by at least two millennia.