…for your favorite stove top recipes! And no, I don’t mean THE Stove Top, which, unfortunately, is unavailable here. However, if you ever get the itchin’ to stock my kitchen, I wouldn’t be opposed to receiving a box. Heck, maybe I could even make some for my students, and we could call it “educational” – and you wouldn’t want to deny these kids a fine American education, would you? Because really, what’s a fine American education without stuffing? But I digress. Also, I’m kidding. Don’t send Stove Top.
Now that I have a kitchen table that, when needed, doubles nicely as counter space, the time has come to get creative with my two hot plates – warmed-up Thai-Suppe and noodles upon noodles can only get this girl so far and so fat. So, if it’s not too much to ask, and if you ever get the chance, send your one-dish meals this way (ideally, anything without bell peppers and nutella, because I hate the former, and eat way too much of the latter. Nutella on the stove top, yuck).
In return… my sincerest gratitude? Really, my sincerest gratitude. Also, maybe someday I’ll post some German recipes, if I ever work up the nerve to try them. I mean, everyone likes kraut, so that would be fair, right?
But since we’re on the subject, and since I’m here, and since you’re here, I can’t help but feel obligated to do something other than take advantage of you. So, I give you more on what I know best; I give you more on food… and maybe this time I’ll even talk about the actual edible sort, rather than the dregs of food that can’t go down my garbage disposal, seeing as I don’t have one.
Or, if not the actual edible sort, at least the American sort (see how this ties nicely back to the bit about Stove Top? See what I did there? You can thank my own fine American education for that one; an English degree is useful, kids. If you want to blog).
I went to the grocery store today on my bike, a sea-foam green, creaky old thing (complete with a squeaky duck head strapped to the handle bars. Really). But, excusing that it occasionally forgets which gear it’s in, poor thing, it does its job: it makes me feel German. This is especially true when I can take my bike basket into the store, and fill it up with German Lebensmittel: brotchen, Apfelschorle, nutella (dang), frikadella… okay, okay, and soy sauce. And maybe cayenne pepper, but whatever. A girl’s got needs.
But what struck me today, in the rare moment when I stopped pretending to be painfully self-consciously German, were the “American” foods: American peanut butter, American sandwich bread, American brownies, American popcorn, American muffins, American salad dressing (not sure about that last one. Looked like some variation of Thousand Island?). Each one of these, without fail, has the word “American” plastered brazenly across the label, and each one of these, without fail, has an American flag streaming patriotically, bawdily behind. Sometimes, if the Amerifood in question is lucky enough, the Statue of Liberty even gives her stamp of certified American approval.
But I guess the American’s view of Germany is no less refined. In our collective consciousness, Germany is Bavaria, lederhosen-clad and beer-prosting. It’s just the nature of things, I guess.
Or I could feel justified in writing it off as such, if our exchange of half-understood cultural mumbo-jumbo were at least mutual, but as it stands, it’s not. I’m constantly in bumping into English products and language inserting themselves into all things German. In a technical English class today, the students were having trouble pronouncing some words: “electricity” came out as “eletric-city,” “mechanic” was “meshanic,” “foreign” was not even worth it. But, with a bit of prompting from the teacher, the students caught on, and in each case, the students’ epiphany was accompanied by an “Oh, like Electric Lady Land,” or, “like Foreigner! The band!”
Or, sometimes, I’ll be talking with someone, feeling pretty darn good about my comprehension level, and then realize later, as I replay this conversation through my head, that I only understood largely in part because of some strange English word thrown in – “outdoor playground,” “internet,” “fast-food” – you name it, there’s an American expression for it.
What do we have in return? Schadenfreude.
Anyway, this “Americanization of Germany” topic is too big for me to handle at the moment, and enough has been written about it already that my puny bloggy comments (“Gosh, would you just look at that silly jar of peanuts?”) don’t exactly contribute a heck of a lot to the field. I’m four months out of college guys; my theoretical, analytical days are over.