Monday, July 2, 2007

German cuisine and its discontents

I love pork, and thus I adore sausages, and no cuisine has more sausages than German. I don't know what's going on with German food in Germany, but the few German restaurants I've eaten in NY and the midwest are bastions of a very old food aesthetic, untouched by nouvelle experimentation. Take Rolf's on 3rd Ave., where I had a splendid repast of weinershnitzel in paprika sauce a few months ago. First, all German places seem to have been designed to look like Rudolf Hess' living room, so you have to overcome the urge to sing the "Horst Wessel Song" and Sieg Heil, or that you're going to be asked for your papers. That out of the way, you're usually served vast platters of food, pre-any health conscious ideas at all. I admire that moxie. This is a heavy cuisine, so it's best eaten in winter, when you need the carbs for warmth. A friend was horrified when I said I had weinershnitzel. "You ate veal?" she gasped, as if I admitted to some deep horror. Let me explain that my attitude to veal is sort of like my feeling about lobster. Yeah, it's a shame to boil a critter alive, but the fucking things taste so good with butter sauce, so between my feeling for a sentient being and my desite for a tasty bit of food, my desire for food wins. So, I know veal is often raised in inhumane conditions, but the meat is just so delicious! I see that England has actually banned inhumane conditions for veal, but I doubt such laws exist in the US, where you can feed people anything, until someone dies.
By the way, the best Bratwurst I ever had can be gotten from the midwest, where many Germans settled. Usinger's makes great brats, and so does Nueske's. Highly recommended.

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