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

Lidl: Taste of the Alps

Since yesterday Lidl has had this range available: Lidl: Taste of the Alps.

alpenglut

Upminster is Aldi country rather than Lidl country, although Lidl has been going through a process of gentrification (it’s in the news for paying all its workers in the UK above the minimum wage) and I am urged to get some of their wine offers, but have not yet made it to South Ockendon.

I don’t suppose the web page will be available for ever. It is fuller than what you read in the Evening Standard or see in the video. But it is amazing how far the Alps extend. Who would have thought of the alpine pig in pork schnitzel, to say nothing of Bismarck herrings? Some are labelled Alpengut, which I keep reading as Alpenglut. Kabanos must be from the Polish Alps. Bavarian Brie is less surprising. But what of Meadow Fresh potato salad?

German Deli – Huh?

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It looks as if German Deli is waiting for the next Olympics.

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huhw

They do have a special offer on Limburger cheese, best before date 28th July. I’m not a great eater of Limburger cheese, and am surprised it has a best before date at all. Also an offer on Halberstädter Wurstsoljanka. It is also the place to get your Sahnesteif, or indeed the Great German Bake-Off Hamper (don’t think Paul and Mary would think much of this one) and pseudo Currywurst pack.

There is apparently also a shop here at Stratford.

Bavarian invention hits the big time abroad

One of the curiosities of Bavaria, and more specifically of beer festivals, is the (mooli/daikon) radish cutting device, which you can see and hear explained on YouTube here.

radi

I am now shocked at the rise of the spiralizer in the UK. Apparently it makes it easier for you to get your ‘five a day’.

Transform your 5-a-day into spaghetti-style spirals to make meals healthier and convert everyone into a curly fruit and vegetable fan. Perfect for preparing coleslaw or salads, the Spiralizer is also great for getting the most out of your vegetables with the latest in food trends: vegetable spaghetti. Feed in raw courgette, carrot or aubergine and it produces fine, looping strands which can be cooked in next to no time so that vegetables retain their vitamin content and act as a quick-cook substitute to pasta.

Telegraph: The best spiralizers, tried and tested

They claim it was a Japanese invention, but I gather some Germans have had spiralizers in the family for decades.

Pease pudding nearly banned from hand luggage

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This is perhaps off topic, but I was surprised to read about this EasyJet case:

Geordie passenger stopped by airport security staff after pease pudding mistaken for Semtex

After being told that the consistency of the pudding could see it ‘technically’ classed as Semtex, he offered to let security taste it to prove it wasn’t.

The pease-pudding lover was allowed through with his snacks and simply warned to pack them in hold luggage the next time he travels.

He said: “I was very glad that they allowed me to keep them in the end. It is quite hard to get your hands on pease pudding down south.”

Since when is pease pudding hard to get ‘down south’? We always have boiled ham and pease pudding on Christmas Eve. And when we moved to Romford in about 1952, my mother was at Romford Market one day and went to sit down in the churchyard to have a rest, where she found two women eating saveloys and pease pudding out of newspaper. And now I read that these are a northern delicacy! And what is a ‘tub‘ of pease pudding?

Or does the actor not like the brand Foresight, which is the usual one down here? I think all the big supermarkets sell it. Well, maybe Foresight is too southern. And it appears that in the north east they eat pease pudding on its own in sandwiches, which is certainly strange.

It does elicit discussion.

English language curiosities

On reading this headline in The Local:

Merkel to meet Putin in January over Ukraine

I wonder whether anyone will shoot them down. However, the earlier headline about the blazing ferry has been improved (Flaming ferry counted 18 German passengers).

In the following, what role was played by Microsoft Word capitalizing words at the beginning of a line?

trolleys

but maybe the locals can’t read.

On a different subject, there is probably a law against this kind of thing in Germany:

stollen

stollenslice

Heston also created his own kind of mince pies, which were OK except they weren’t really mince pies, more like Linzer Torte. They had the tangerine-flavoured sugar too.