My husband is of German descent. I am too. There is one huge difference between us, though: he wants to eat like it and I don’t. Paul came from a very Germanic household. His father emigrated from The Fatherland. His family says December funny — DeZember. At least he can keep his v’s and w’s straight, even though his dad couldn’t.
I tried to learn the knack of German cooking for him, but never quite succeeded. My mother-in-law did her best to give me the low-down on cooking bread dumplings, but they ended up as little bits of debris floating in quarts of water instead of the tennis ball-sized lumps they were supposed to be. I used a sieve to salvage the remains. Mom herself grew royally tired, over the years, of eating pork this-and-that drowning in sauerkraut juice. She thought of spaghetti in a can as the ultimate treat.
My husband’s yearning for the Deutsch foods of his youth has been surging to the forefront over the last decade or so, and no amount of feeding him bratwurst has been able to satiate it. Recently it reached the seriously obsessive level, and he began desperately searching the Internet for German recipes that he could cook for himself. You should have seen (and smelled) the red cabbage concoction he came up with. I cannot say how it tasted, for I refused to go beyond the sight and smell perceptions.
Thanks to an approximately 1/2 off coupon, tonight we managed to quell his obsession, at least temporarily. I can only hope I will survive the experience. We visited the local Gasthaus eatery.
I should have known we were in trouble when the first oom-pa-pas of the tuba concerto assaulted my ears — or when we found ourselves elegantly seated next to two overstuffed, three-foot-high ceramic porkers, accompanied by an equally overstuffed ceramic burgermeister. The prices were calculated to cause a stroke (if we hadn’t had the 1/2 off coupon), but they were nothing to what followed.
I ordered the wienerschnitzel, mainly because it was the only thing on the not-in-English menu that I knew how to pronounce, other than the sauerbraten, which was out of the question because it came with the nasty red cabbage side dish which I had already been introduced to at home.
My previous wienerschnitzel experiences had all been confined to a pancake house of some sort and could not lay claim to being authentic. When the real deal arrived, I knew my gallbladder was in jeopardy, not to mention the cardiovascular system. I am not a fat-o-phobe, but this was beyond suicidal.
“I think I am not going to be feeling so good after this, honey. On the way home, maybe we can stop for some emergency antacids and one of those do-it-yourself home remedy angioplasty kits they’ve got at the drugstore.”
Paul looked slightly concerned, but only grunted politely through his mouthful of red cabbage that came with the sauerbraten. I soaked a napkin with what grease was sop-up-able, and then dutifully dispatched the slab of swine frittered in gallons of bacon grease. (Real veal wienerschnitzel cost $3.00 extra.)
We stopped to pick up a few necessary items on the way home. The drugstore was fresh out of angioplasty kits. Paul offered to let me sit in the car while he ran in for the goods, but it is January in Wisconsin, and I was afraid if I sat out there in the deep freeze for a few minutes, the lard I had just ingested might immediately congeal in my arteries.
My diet for the next few days had better consist of dry toast and water. I will pray for an absence of gout and gallbladder attack and run up and down the stairs a few times to get the arteries cleaned out. I’m still trying to decide whether my desire for revenge against the GastHaus will be appeased by writing this blog post or whether I will report them to the health department to achieve full satisfaction.