This article is part of the series “Put down your life’s story in 52 weeks” in which I accepted the challenge of writing down snippets of my own life’s story in 52 weeks.
- What medical issues have you had to deal with throughout your life?
- Was religion an important for you and your family? If so, explain what religion your family practiced and what it meant to you. Explain if it is or is not an important part of your life today.
- What foods do you like and dislike?
Describe any food allergies you or other family members had.
- Were there food dishes your parents made that were especially memorable?
- How did you meet your spouse?
Well… I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to food, at least nowadays. Gimme dairy produce and fruit, gimme some fish, and I’m happy. There’s not much food I don’t like at all. I haven’t tried beetles and/or maggots yet though.
When I grew up we didn’t have such a wide range of food as we have now. Most people used to cook with local and seasonal groceries, bought either on a local farmers’ market or in a small grocery shop with customer service. Supermarkets with self-service weren’t common back in the times nor were fast food restaurants.
In fall people would order a supply of potatoes for winter and spring until fresh potatoes were available again. The potatoes then were stored in dark and cool cellar storerooms, and by the end of winter would start to sprout. Same with apples, unless they were canned as apple sauce.
Potatoes usually were our main dish at home, together with vegetables. Sometimes my mother added eggs, fish or a sausage. Some of our meals were for example:
- “Muhrejubbele”, also called “Möhrendurcheinander” is a dish consisting of mashed or diced “Möhren”, in the Rhineland dialect “muhre” (carrots), mashed or diced “Kartoffeln” (potatoes) and broth, complimented either with a spicy sausage or roast onions.
- Another dish would be “Gänsefutter” (“goose food”), a one pot dish, again with potatoes, white beans, onions and either carrots or “Sauerkraut”, additionally with either salted ribs or a German specialty sausage, the “Mettwurst”. There are several variations for these recipes though, depending on the German area – or the family…
- And of course there were the famous German “Reibekuchen”, thick, crispy, delicious potato pancakes. A smelly affair, yes, our apartment would smell of Reibekuchen for a day or even longer. But sooo yummy!
Once or twice a week we would have flour based meals, often combined with fruit, like pancakes with homemade apple sauce or curd cheese pancakes with… (drumroll) strawberries or vanilla ice cream… But ice cream was rare, unfortunately.
Beef, chicken and pork were usually limited to sundays, holidays and of course our birthdays. Again we’d have potatoes as main dish, very often with “Erbsen und Möhren” (peas and carrots) or “Rotkohl” (red cabbage). Lots of gravy as well… And a dessert of course which sometimes consisted only of a cut up and nicely arranged pear or an apple though – or homemade vanilla custard (with bits of “skin” of course – eek!)
Exotic vegetables and fruit weren’t as common as they are today. Bananas for example weren’t available throughout the year. If my mother sent me shopping for bananas, I had to buy an exact number of bananas, one or two for each of us, no more. Expensive stuff back in the days…
Do you have a dish that you disliked as child which nowadays is one of your favourite dishes?