Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Culture shock in reverse

About a month ago, I was visited by three engineering students from Korea. As you may remember, I visited Korea in late November – and wrote about the culinary experience here.

I thought I had done quite well for those eight days with all of the unknown kinds of food I had to eat with metal chopsticks, but when I saw the three young men trying to cut open a German bread roll at a breakfast buffet, I realized how awkward I must've looked the whole time.

The guys had filled their plates with cheese, salami, and jam from the buffet, and one of them put all three things on his bread before I had a chance to warn him. When the second guy looked poised to do the same, I tried as diplomatically as I could to explain that we generally don't throw our meats together with our jam.

But the joke was on me later that night, when I took them to have a schnitzel. I ordered two different kinds for them, and for me I ordered some venison with cowberry sauce (Wildgeschnetzeltes mit Preiselbeeren) -- a staple here in Baden, but for the life of me I cannot find a decent picture of it online to share with you.

Anyway, it is essentially chunks of venison with jelly, aka meat with jam. Why the Germans don't mix the two for breakfast, but only for supper – I was at a loss to explain it. And indeed, I had not even realized the conflict until then.
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  1. Oh how I miss German breakfasts... BTW, cheese and jam together is good. I learned about it in Norway. Meat and jam? Not so much...

  2. Thanks for making me miss Wildgeschnetzeltes. There used be a wonderful Bäckerei-Metzgerei near my old office in Gernsbach that offered all kinds of Geschnetzeltes for lunch. Delicious! It's no wonder that a productivity slump typically followed by early afternoon. Ah, I miss German food.