German Döner Kebab

German Döner Kebab shops are apparently everywhere.

Of course, it is a German thing. I think this is ‘Mile End coming soon’.

If you want to find out what meat they use, you have to click on the Location tab, which gives a choice of UK, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Egypt, Sweden and Bahrain.

For the UK, you get Chicken, Beef or Mix. In Germany it was virtually always Turkey, sometimes beef if you were lucky.

Where’s the lamb? I think it’s because Germans don’t like it.

Aldi in the kitchen

While I’m on the subject of food, I saw that Aldi is currently advertising a stand mixer somewhat similar to KitchenAid and somewhat cheaper too. This is all in connection with the Great British Bake-Off on TV (which is preceded by ads for Lyle’s golden syrup and Dr. Oetker – when I was studying in Berlin from 1967-68 I found Dr. Oetker so irritating – I couldn’t understand how baking powder could be branded – and did not anticipate Dr. Oetker being on TV in the UK fifty years later – I spent less time thinking about Axel Springer).

Apparently Lidl has something similar.

Aldi Ambiano Premium. This model has what are described as attachments for mincing, sausage making, pasta making and cookie making. From what I read it sounds like these elements are devilishly complex to put together. I am struck by the ‘cookie attachment’:

It looks rather repulsive here. It is a typical German thing, surely? Ihat is, all German meat mincers come with a device for extruding a particular kind of biscuit dough, but can non-Germans use such a thing? – I’ve just been reminded by SistaRay on Twitter that it’s called Spritzgebäck. There are quite a few English-language recipes online. I think they may be sold here as Viennese biscuits. Certainly worth trying.

I must say I probably no longer need a mixer. I did buy a Bosch one, which was a Which? best buy, but it turned out to have exactly the problems the Aldi mincer attachment is said to have: you virtually had to be a qualified engineer to work out how to operate it. Maybe OK if you used it every day.

Another thing that strikes me in the Aldi brochure is the wooden toy kitchen.

This fabulous Wooden Premium Kitchen is ideal for your little one to explore and engage with imaginative role play. Your child could be an extravagant chef in the kitchen making the most amazing meals on the hob, in the oven or using the microwave. Afterwards they can wash up the dishes in the Belfast sink, put ingredients away in the fridge and prepare an ice cold drink using the drink and ice dispenser.

This shocked me, because I gradually realized that this kitchen doesn’t do anything. It’s all ‘imaginative role play’. But I actually had a toy stove as a child, and I could really cook things on it – I can still picture the little slices of carrot I boiled (had not yet read Elizabeth David). This Japanese toy kitchen must be similar to it. I can’t remember candles or what fuel source it had, but it was one of my favourite toys. Nowadays, it wouldn’t be allowed.

 

  • Oven – with opening & shutting door, shelf inside, and clicking dials

  • Washing machine – with opening & shutting door and clicking dials

 

Clicking dials! That’s all it does.

I have already in this blog mourned the loss of Mr. Potato Head to be used with real raw potatoes. Just as well I am older now.

Twin Peaks on the Wrekin

Poundland’s Toblerone rip-off seems to have been a peak too far. from The Guardian:

Poundland reaches deal with Toblerone makers over copycat bar

There is hope, however:

Poundland said that 500,000 of the bars, which are currently in production, would go on sale in December in “distinctive packaging” different from the light-gold wrapper it originally planned. …

 

Poundland said it would relaunch Twin Peaks in the new year “with a modified shape that still offers customers 180g of British-made chocolate inspired by the Wrekin and Ercall hills in Shropshire”.

It appears that Toblerone preferred making this settlement to risking a full court dispute.

This was quite an eye-opener for me. Whenever I listened to the Vaughan Williams setting of On Wenlock Edge, I stupidly assumed the Wrekin was a river, but that wouldn’t explain ‘his forest fleece’:

On Wenlock Edge the wood’s in trouble;
      His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves;
The gale, it plies the saplings double,
      And thick on Severn snow the leaves.
I think some of the cakes I have baked have a Wrekin touch.

The Sausage Man

I didn’t realize Herman Ze German didn’t make their own sausages.

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It seems they get them from The Sausage Man, who produce

Wholesale Bratwurst, Frankfurters, Hot Dogs in bulk, Bockwurst, Bratwurst, Weisswurst, Krakauer, Venison Salami, Foot Long Sausages, Beef Sausage, Chilli Dogs, Paprika Sausage, Chicken Sausage, Vegan Hot Dog Sausages, Beef Hot Dogs, Pepper Bite, Chipolata Sausages, Pepper Bite & Other German Related Products

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Saitenwürschtle at Daimler: insult or slander?

There was a row between Daimler shareholders at the AGM buffet, because one of them was packing a doggie bag of frankfurters, which have more names than I realized, and the Stuttgart one is Saitenwürschtle, Saite being their skin. This was in Berlin, where perhaps there was fear of missing out on the sausages. There were 5500 shareholders present, and 12500 frankfurters had been ordered.

Wikimedia image:
120px-Wiener_Wuerstchen_fcm

Ein Aktionär habe mehrfach Würstchen vom Büfett zum Mitnehmen eingepackt, sagte die Sprecherin. Eine andere Anteilseignerin habe ihn darauf angesprochen – dies habe zu einem verbalen Schlagabtausch geführt. Um die Lage zu entspannen, habe man die Polizei gerufen. Die Aktionärin habe eine Anzeige wegen Beleidigung erstattet.

It seems that the gentleman helping himself insulted the lady who objected, since she is charging him with Beleidigung.

This story has been widely reported in the British press too. The Guardian:

The row broke out when one man repeatedly went to the buffet and began wrapping up several sausages to take home, whereupon a female shareholder intervened to tick him off, resulting in a shouting match and the police being called.

Answering shareholder questions at the meeting, Daimler board chairman Manfred Bischoff said: “We had to call the police to settle the matter.”

A Daimler spokeswoman said it was a verbal altercation and the police were called to calm matters – because the female shareholder wanted to file a complaint for slander, and did so.

They call Beleidigung slander, but more information is needed. A big legal translation problem!

Questions about Germany, the UK and food

1. Why is quark in the UK always fat-free? What happened to the 20% and 40% stuff?

2. Why is Dr Oetker advertising on British TV? They were driving me mad in Germany in 1967, when there was no such thing as baking powder you measured yourself, only Dr. Oetker sachets.

3. Why are we to believe that a native speaker of English bought ‘Werthers Original’ in a ‘caramel shop’ as a little girl?

4. But I should have got used to this kind of thing since Dr. Oetker invented a cake called Russischer Zupfkuchen and had people with Russian accents reminiscing on how Onkel Michael had always served it in the garden. Marc at Bake to the Roots is not deceived:

Russischer Zupfkuchen – a classic cake here in Germany. Sorry, but I don’t have a proper english translation for that. Could not find any word for “Zupfkuchen” ;)

You get it in almost every bakery in many versions. If you ask a person from Russia or any other Eastern European country you will probably get everywhere the same answer: WTF?! ;)

Jakob Hein in a taz blog actually got an answer from Dr. Oetker, to the effect that Dr. Oetker created the cake in 1993 following a competition – there was nothing Russian about it, but the chocolate blobs on top reminded them of the spires of Russian churches. At that link you can actually see a video clip of the Onkel Michael advert.

5. Why are the Hairy Bikers allowed to tell us that a recent Swiss invention that is sold to German bakers in a kind of franchise (Pain Paillasse) is a typical example of wonderful German bread?

6. What is the Latin name of the Easy Peeler tree? I can’t identify it.

7. Zimmermann Feinste Kalbsleberwurst – English slogan apparently ‘There is calf’s liver sausage and then there is this one!’ – contains 50% pork, 20% pork liver and only 10% calves’ liver. Why is this? Is it like Leberwurst, which is known not to contain any liver?

8. Finally, who was Dr. Oetker and what was his doctorate in? Botany, apparently, and he lived from 1862 to 1918. He did invent a kind of baking powder, called Backin, and his success came from selling it in little packets for domestic use.

LATER NOTE: I was devastated when I had to buy Dr. Oetker baking powder, not in a sachet, at Tesco.

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Pilzwanderungen

I do miss the chances I had in Germany of going on guided mushroom-collecting walks. They have some here in Havering but I doubt the woods are so exciting. And there was also the Naturhistorische Gesellschaft Nürnberg e.V. with Ursula Hirschmann, where you could sit in the lecture hall and all sorts of poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms were passed round. I remember woods whose floors were covered in deep moss studded with the most various mushrooms, which I largely did not dare eat. There is a system where people qualify as mushroom/toadstool experts and a list of people to contact to inspect your day’s collection. I had my basket, knife and brush, and a mushroom app, but I was cruelly torn out of it.

This might have helped some of the Syrians et al. who have been trying the death cap mushroom (Knollenblätterpilz) recently. That was usually the first one we looked at and learned. The Washington Post reports:

According to a warning issued by Hanover Medical School in northern Germany, more than 30 refugees have been sickened after eating “death cap” mushrooms — a species so toxic a small amount of it can cause organ failure in a matter of days.

Die Zeit has a nice map of treated cases of mushroom poisoning from 2008 to 2013 (most survived).

Guardian: Germany attributes spike in mushroom poisonings to foraging refugees