Part 2: The Bad
Note: This is the second post in my series German Cuisine: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. For the first post click here.
Last time, I talked about all the awesome and delicious food Germany has to offer. However, there is also some bad food. Now, this is my own personal opinion based on my experiences; other people’s opinions may completely differ from mine. I will continue the same format as last time for this post as well. Now, let’s delve into the world of bad German cuisine.
- Spargel mit Sauce Hollaindaise (Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce): Every year Germans go berserk over that most uninteresting of vegetables: asparagus. Each year from April to June, is the Spargelsaison (asparagus season) which is hyped up for no apparent reason. During this time, all supermarket vegetable aisles are full to the brim with asparagus, displayed prominently. There are even pretty girls standing beside little stalls in some supermarkets, asking you to politely try
the produce from the local asparagus farmer. Naturally, my curiosity to try asparagus was aroused. It should be noted here that asparagus is not native to Pakistan and I had never had it before, which only built up the anticipation. Therefore, when I was presented with the Spargel mit Sauce Hollandaise dish, it was one of the biggest anti-climaxes ever. The dish is basically boiled asparagus with Hollandaise sauce (made with egg yolk, butter, salt, pepper and lemon juice) over it. It is then served with a side of boiled potatoes. Bland, flat and having no taste whatsoever are just some ways to describe this dish. After eating, I promised myself to never do that to myself again.
- Kartoffelsalat (Potato salad): Potatoes are an important part of the German diet and are present either as the main or side ingredient in many dishes. German Kartoffelsalat comes in many varieties none of which particularly appeal to me.
The main ingredients, usually, are potatoes, eggs, onions, other vegetables (like paprika), mayonnaise, vinegar and sometimes vegetable broth. It’s served cold, and some addition and subtractions from the aforementioned recipe can be present. In the beginning when I tried Kartoffelsalat, I was fine for the first few bites. But later there was just revulsion. I don’t know why, but me and it do not seem to get along. I have tried to start a relationship with many different types of Kartoffelsalat, but none have worked so far.
- Eingelegte Rote Beete (Fermented Beetroot):While in English speaking countries, the use of fresh beetroot is quite common, Germans tend to use fermented beetroot
instead. I was never a fan of beetroots since I was a child and did not make friends with the German fermented version either. Eingelegte Rote Beete can be in whole, sliced or shredded form and none appeal to me at all. It is usually served as a cold side dish with meat and potato dishes. It can also come as a side dish with potatoes in the über high calorie dishes.
- Matjes (Soused Herring): Originally from the Netherlands, this fish is on the borderline between bad and ugly for me. I honestly don’t know why I even tried it. Matjes is raw herring with its head cut off and with gills and innards removed.
It is then fermented in brine for about 5-7 days and then served with onions. It is one of the most revolting things I have ever eaten. I would include this in part 3 but there’s a reason for me not doing it which will be clear in the introduction to the next part.
- Marzipan: Even though Marzipan is nowadays quite common to use in Pakistan, it was not the case before. At least, I had not encountered it there. The first time I tasted it in Germany was while eating a cake and mistaking it for sugar icing. What I don’t like about marzipan is the bitter almond taste and smell it leaves in its wake in the mouth.
The only way I am able to put up with marzipan is when it is present in a really sweet dessert which at least masks the bitterness. If you ask me, I have no idea why someone would like something bitter in their dessert! That said, marzipan is one of the best ways to beautify your desserts. It is really easy to mold it into all sorts of shapes. By the way, here’s some trivia: the city of Lübeck in the state of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany is famous for its marzipan. So if you like marzipan, you might wanna try the one from Lübeck.
- Apfelmus (Apple Sauce): Apple sauce is the closest translation I could find of Apfelmus. It is apple puree – with sugar, apple juice and some lemon juice in it – which is eaten mostly as dessert. It is quite common to have it with cinnamon or in crepes as well. For the Pakistanis reading this,
think of Apfelmus as Murabba in puree form. If you love Murabba, you will definitely love Apfelmus as well. But it is not my thing at all. In this case not the taste but the texture of the thing which throws me off. And yes, I am sometimes a really choosy eater. Let’s be honest here, that’s what you all were thinking, right?
And this is the end of part 2. I hope you enjoyed this post. You might have noticed that this list is noticeably shorter than the one before. That is because I simply like more German food than I don’t like. Don’t forget to leave your thoughts and opinions in comments!