Those crazy Würstlemenchles

Monday 7/11/2005

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Diary and Notes

I thought I'd write a little extra blog as I've just come back from a trip to Germany where some interesting food related topics came up and also because it gives me a chance to show some pictures of things in Germany that I didn't do when I was here all those months ago - before I owned a camera that is.

I came to visit an old chum, Mark, who is stationed in the university town of Tübingen - no he's not in the army, he's a mathematician. Some time ago he came to visit me in Göttingen and I thought I'd repay the favour. You can fly from Manchester to Stüttgart and then it's just a bus ride away, so it's an easy weekend trip and not too pricey neither. Before I get into the food type stuff I'll just say I had a great time and would certainly recommend Stüttgart for a weekend break - the city is wonderful and if you are into shopping it's probably heaven. Anyway food:

I need to point out that Tübinen (and Stüttgart) is in the Schwabish region of Germany (in the South West) - a region which has many parallels with our own South West and particularly the city of Bristol. Here, as in Bristol, they have the odd habit of sticking L's on the ends of words which would not normally have L's on them. In Bristol this is just considered to be due to local inbreeding causing a genetic mutation whereby the tongue is floppier than in the normal British folk (and leads to such things as "What areal of Bristol are you to?" and "Are we shopping in Asdal today?" - note the use of the word 'to' instead of 'from' as well) - in the Schwabish region this sticking extra L's on the ends of words is actually official and is considered a dialect to be protected. As such, unlike the rest of Germany eating würste, the people here eat würstle and this is of course the home of spätzle and pretzles.

So as I was in würstle country I thought I try some while I was here - at every opportunity that is. So the pictures above represent a fair selection of the local sausages. The first is a würstle platter with some knockwurst, bierwurst and some other wurst - served with pickles, salad and an odd cheese dish they called biergartenkäse - is was actually grated cheese and mayonnaise with paprika - not bad though, for German cheese that is. The next photo is a bratwurst with salad and fried potatoes, then a rotewurst from the Christmas market in Stüttgart and then some nurnburgers which Mark served with a good old British fried breakfast the day I left. I have of course saved the best until last - the now infamous currywurst (right), which I have described in some depth before and should be avoided at all costs. See 17/12/2004

As I didn't have a camera when I was last in Germany I didn't get many photos of the great cakes here. I was always whittering on about the cakes and how our sad British stale buns are no comparison and again I wasn't disappointed. This little beauty was from a coffee shop in Stüttgart, I can't remember the name though. Notice how it is served still standing - if it falls over (and according to the superstition) your mother-in-law will be a bitch. The only other German superstition I know is that if you say prost and clink glasses but don't look the other person in the eye as you do it, you get seven years bad sex - be warned!

Now some notes on those crazy Germans. Firstly the local speciality maultaschensuppe should be mentioned. This is in effect spinach ravioli cooked in soup, not a bad idea you may think - or at least that's what it looks like. It is however much cleverer than that. Years ago, when the people of this region were still pretending to be quite strict catholics they used to make this dish on Friday's (as the eating of meat was banned by law). However maultaschen (the ravioli) are actually stuffed with meat, it's almost all meat it just looks like spinach. The whole dish is a cunning disguise for a load of pork dumplings so that the devious (and impious) locals can still get a tasty meaty treat on a Friday and not have to do a night in the stocks. I had the maultashcensuppe at a fine German restaurant, Forelle, in Tübingen along with some goose in orange sauce for main course and fried apple dumplings for pud. Excellent.

Two more things that I felt worthy of mentioning. 1) The world's most phallic chimney. Who would think of writing the word DICK in giant white letters on a factory chimney? And 2) Why on Earth would anybody want to open a kiosk in Stüttgart railway station that sold surgical equipment? I haven't invented this and to prove it I took a few photos.

It was quite the oddest shop in the world, there were scalpels, little dentist mirrors for looking at teeth, those strange scissor clippers for holding swabs, loads of scissors, knives, odd ear poking thingies and other tools of the sawbones' trade. I understand that some people use these things at work but I can't imagine any doctor buying them at a railway station. If anybody can explain what's going on then please let me know.

So that[s a quick report on my recent German trip. All in all excellent fun and worth coming back to. I still can't bring myself to recommend the currywurst though, maybe you just have to be german to appreciate it, or maybe you just have to be mad.