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

Stolpersteine, Stumbling stones, the memorial built one stone at a time. Small golden "memory" blocks embedded in sidewalks, in front of homes where victims of Nazism last lived freely, bearing their names and documenting their lives with the barest of details.

Francine A. McKenna

Europe lay in rubble, and the winter of 1946/1947 was the coldest in living memory. Known in Germany as the time of "Weisser Tod", white death, and "Schwarzer Hunger", black hunger, hundreds of thousands died. Weihnachten was different that year, New Year and Spring held no promises.

Francine A. McKenna

Medieval monks really knew how to twist the rule book during Fasts such as Lent, and this 13th century recipe is with chicken breasts rather than the Beaver Tails, "Fish not Fowl" because they lived in water, which were used in the Middle Ages. And it is delicious.

Francine A. McKenna

Carnival in Germany began with masked Teutons creating chaos to frighten away winter's evil spirits. Now the Thursday before Ash Wednesday is Weiberfastnacht in Rhineland, when Karneval Wieber (women) cause havoc, take over City Halls and leave no necktie safe from their jumbo scissors.

Francine A. McKenna

Special beers and secret recipes made sure a Lenten Fast was never all about deprivation for German monks, but their traditions, and Fast breaking recipes, soon spread outside monastery walls. Including "Herrgottsbescheisserle" those "Little Cheaters of the Lord", an over sized ravioli.

Francine A. McKenna

Karneval, Fastnacht, Fasching, Germany's Mardi Gras. Different regions, different names and traditions as "The Fifth and Foolish Season" takes over city streets with "Crazy, Zany, Küsschen, Kater und Krapfen". Not enjoyed by everyone so Karnevalsmuffel, Carnival Grouchers, head for the hills.

Francine A. McKenna

A festival is not a festival in Germany unless traditional food is involved , and for Karneval, Mardi Gras, that is Faschingskrapfen, Carnival Jelly Donuts. Its story and recipe for those Berliner, Pfannkuchen, Fastnachtskrapfen - same thing, different names depending on the region.

Francine A. McKenna

Rinderrouladen, "Beef Rouladen", thin slices of beef rolled up around a seasoned onion and bacon filling, served in a wine sauce. A delicious German classic once saved for celebrations or Sundays, now it's a comforting and traditional dinner choice during the cold weather season.