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A Brief History of German Food

A Brief History of German Food

When you think of Germany, you don’t immediately think of German food. It doesn’t have the same reputation as French or Italian food, and many would agree that its respect internationally is about the same as Britain’s – i.e. nil. That being said, German food is quite popular in America, and this is beginning to spread to Europe via the UK. Bratwurst, hotdogs and hamburgers all have their origins in Germany, though granted it’s not immediately obvious. It might surprise you to learn that second only to France, Germany has the most Michelin-Star restaurants, which is the highest honour in the culinary world.


You might think of German food as full of sausages and beer. That’s what the tourists think, anyway. In terms of veg, you might have a side of sauerkraut or potatoes. Generally speaking, fish isn’t that popular, owing to the fact there’s only a tiny amount of coastline. It wouldn’t be economical to eat the same level of fish as we do in the UK, because the rivers are not the right environment. The Rhineland has been heavily industrialised, which has polluted Germany’s biggest river. In terms of vegetables, asparagus, carrots, peas, and broccoli are all very common, just as they are in the UK.


So what does your average German consume on a normal day? Well, it’s probably very similar to what we would eat – cereal in the morning, a quick or cold meal at lunch, followed by a hearty dinner early in the evening. Traditionally, however, it’s rather different. Breakfast is neither a Full English nor a continental breakfast – it’s a selection of meat, cheese, bread and eggs, among other things. Lunch used to be the main meal of the day, and dinner was smaller, but it’s the other way around these days.


Because of its central location in Europe, German food has lots of things from other cultures included in its diet. This includes pasta, French fries and gnocchi. However, German food isn’t that spicy, and the older influences upon it are predominantly European. Funnily enough, some people thought garlic was bad for you, and caused bad breath! Well, they’re not wrong, garlic breath is definitely a price to pay for enjoying a tasty meal.


Although Germany is often dwarfed by its neighbour France in the dessert world, we mustn’t forget that Germany has produced some tasty sweet treats as well. Black Forest Gateau was created in Germany, and jam doughnuts also have their origins in Deutschland. You know the John F. Kennedy quote “ich bin ein Berliner”? The reason it’s so funny is because a Berliner is a jam doughnut, in some parts of Germany! Shame it turned out he said the correct thing all along.


Recently, immigration from Turkey has introduced the doner kebab into Germany, and Italian food has worked its way into the hearts of many Germans the same way it has the rest of Europe. Despite the economic crisis, Greek food has also gained considerable popularity! Outside of Europe, recent immigration from India and from China has meant food from the East has come onto the scene. If you’re worried you won’t find anything you like, or you don’t eat meat, then fear not! German food is every bit as good as British food.


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