Competitive beer drinking season has started here in the south of Germany, or maybe never ended, and I celebrated today with a traditional Bavarian lederhosen purchase, made from real cow hide if we’re translating it right, and I look nothing like the model on the packaging, it’s stiff in the knees walking up the steps but looks good enough for how it’ll be used, in tents singing and spilling on myself.
And mom bought the same for the girls, traditional Bavarian dresses with pictures of the Mädchen eating pretzels or sweeping up in their aprons — and I got a case of Stuttgarter Höfbrau Volksfest biere with a picture of a girl on it slinging three Maß in each hand, serving it up a liter at a time with shots of Schnapps on the side, and why not? I’ll represent the States, specialising in west coast IPA.
They pound the shit out of the pork schnitzel and then bread and pan fry it, serve it with a lemon wedge and a sprig of parsley, and pile the other side of the plate with pommes frites — but you really can’t dress up French fries, especially when it comes with a plastic ketchup packet on the side, which they often forget and my American kids get pissed off because they have to ask for more and it cracks me up, but I get to practice my German with the server, because we always need it: more ice, more beer, more ketchup. Learn the word for more.
Mom’s got friends in the village with names like Panos (the Greek), Santo (the Italian), Andreas, the Apothek owner who’s got MS and uses Leki trekking poles instead of crutches, possibly the nicest man I’ve ever met, joins us for lunch and speaks not a bit of English, arguably no German, but another language they call Schwäbische, here — a southern German dialect that seems to ignore all the rules we were taught when we studied German, how Eberhard sneers and says our teacher was Polish and can’t be trusted to teach German, lots of eye-rolling and so on. How there’s no acknowledgement of the Die, Das, Der rules with nouns and gender but instead, it’s all Das, which is fine by me.
So I’m acclimating my body to the regional wine as we gear up for the Winzerfest here in the town in just three weeks — the wine that’s got a lot of heart to it but you need more than that to really make something that matters, I think.
And we’ve got tomatoes and eggplants and Mangold (German, for chard) that’s all sitting there in plastic milk crates in the laundry area drawing flies, going off, so I made a double recipe of Macaroni Beaucaire, one of the most pleasing-looking, satisfying dishes I know, recipe link here provided without permission from one of my favourite cooks, Jacques Pépin.
It’s a vegetarian dish, and I use large, tubular pasta. Make sure you brown the eggplant very well. Don’t confuse grating with shredding either, which is easy to do and important to know the difference, especially if you have helpers. Guten appétit!
Also, if you’re lonely and have ADD, here’s a good skit for a Friday night: