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May 24 2012

In which I master German

So I found my way to a Bäckerei — not hard, they’re everywhere — and discovered that my server had not a word of English, and my German is decidedly rusty to the point of crumbling. I know some nouns, at least, and I quickly discovered that I could manage with just two words.

“Frühstuck!” I said.

She started rattling off a list of words that included “-brot” and “-fleisch” and “-käse” and a lot of other utterly unrecognizable phrases.

I simply said, “Ja” to each. It was easy.

Thus I ended up with a platter of meat and cheese, and a basket of assorted bread, and a cup of strong dark coffee, und Ich beginnen mit the gut fressen. And it was real bread, with texture and flavor and a wonderful flaky crust, Gott sei dank. Ausgezeichnet!

I may not be able to leave this country, at this rate. Just the thought of the pale bland gooey Minnesota version of “bread” fills me with revulsion.

126 comments

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  1. 1
    duvelthehobbit666

    The bread rolls in Germany are very good. Coffee seems to be better in places like the Netherlands and Germany too. I don’t know how it is with Italian ristorantes but in Munich, they are about as good as if you were in Italy itself.

  2. 2
    Lars

    Bake your own bread, PZ. After a couple of tries, you won’t find better bread in the store. Ten or twenty more iterations after that, your bread will start to get really good.

    And if you do the kneading manually, it’s good workout to boot.

    Satisfying stuff, bread baking. It even involves mycobiology.

  3. 3
    johnm55

    All you need to know is “Eine bier bitte” and “Danke”
    (I think the spelling is correct but I’m sure someone will put it right if I’m wrong)

  4. 4
    drahtmaultier

    It’s called “Ein Bier bitte”
    after all, beer is neutral gender

  5. 5
    yogzotot

    I would have thought the German Americans in Minnesota had at least honed some brewing and baking traditions… anyway.

    You will be fine with “Frühstück bitte” (Breakfast please), “Ein Bier bitte” (no explanation required), “Wurstplatte” (meat platter), “Käseplatte” (cheese platter).

    Just be careful that Cologne is known for some local shenanigans. If you find “a halve Hahn / ein halber Hahn”, literally “half a chicken”, on the menu, it’s a cheese roll…

  6. 6
    Jadehawk

    Just the thought of the pale bland gooey Minnesota version of “bread” fills me with revulsion.

    now you know how I feel

    if you get desperate, there’s always the option of ordering a loaf or two from Zingermann’s, of course

  7. 7
    Jadehawk

    Zingerman’s, that is

  8. 8
    Olav

    I second the motion for learning how to bake your own bread. For lazy people or those with little time, an automatic bread machine is acceptable too. Pour in your ingredients, set the program, press “Start”, a couple of hours later: proper bread.

  9. 9
    Q.E.D

    Bad bread is surely the irrefutable sign that the Antichrist is amongst us.

  10. 10
    Nick Gotts

    I once went for a job interview at a Max Planck Institute in Berlin. The working scientific language is English, but of course the support staff are mostly German. In the canteen at lunch, I asked for a small portion of something: “Klein, bitte.” That’s about the extent of my German. The person showing me round said: “That’s more German than many of the scientists who’ve been here for years speak!”

  11. 11
    rilian

    That’s cool!
    I studied german for like 2 years and then I forgot most of it. I’m going to study it again and try not to let it go this time.

  12. 12
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Ich beginnen mit the gut fressen.

    Psst, Essen
    Fressen is what animals get.

    And it was real bread, with texture and flavor and a wonderful flaky crust, Gott sei dank. Ausgezeichnet!

    Yes, there’s few things that will get me patriotic, but German bread is one of them. Try Pumpernickel some time.
    And yes, you can totally use “Gott sei Dank” as an atheist in Germany.
    That’s probably some good advice for all Meiricans visiting Germany: People are big at using religious language without actually believing any of it.
    So, if somebody talks about “apocaliptical conditions” they don’t think that the end of the world has come.

  13. 13
    Phillip IV

    In which I master German

    You’re a cruel, cruel master.

  14. 14
    jim1138

    I tried pointing. She screamed. What I got wasn’t very much or very good.

  15. 15
    rorschach

    One of my rationalisations for not forking out 3000 bucks for these 2 conferences in Germany was that I couldn’t see myself listen to Germans speak English for 2 weekends in a row.Now I realise that there is worse things than that, for example ‘mericans trying German…

  16. 16
    PZ Myers

    Fressen is what animals get.

    You haven’t seen me eat.

  17. 17
    ericthered

    Jadehawk,

    Are you an Ann Arborite?

    I used to live on Detroit Street, just down from Zingerman’s – a dangerous thing, lol. The bread is indeed delicious.

  18. 18
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    You haven’t seen me eat.

    Ehm, yeah, but that would be the verb.
    “Ich hab mich vollgefressen” is totally acceptable, but referring to the food as “Fressen” usually means it was bad quality.

    Swapping German Bäckerei stories:
    Some time ago my husband had a Russian colleague to whom this happened. she actually works in the company’s Russian branch but was working some time in the main plant to get to know the whole thing better.
    Now, in Germany, the word for slugs and snails is both “Schnecke”, while you’d add a “naked” for the slug. Also, anything that has a rolled spiral form is a Schnecke, too.
    So said colleague went to a bakery to get one of her favourite treats. Only instead of a Nuss-schecke (sweet rolled pastry with nuts), she ordered a Nacktschnecke.

  19. 19
    SQB

    So first Frühstück, then to the convention?

    Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral.

  20. 20
    Alex

    SQB

    first Frühstück, then to the convention?

    Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral.

    Rofl

    Du gewinnst +1 glänzendes Internetz :D

  21. 21
    radpumpkin

    “und Ich beginnen mit the gut fressen.”

    I should probably correct some of this…
    Anyway, here are some phrases you should learn:
    “Eine Maß, bitte”
    “Wieso zum Teufel ist die Internetverbindung in Ihrem Hotel so schlecht, und warum zahle ich dafür?!”
    “Entschuldigen Sie, wie komme ich zu X?”
    “Oa Schweinzhax un knödel, bitte”

  22. 22
    Alex

    “Eine Maß, bitte”

    Do you want him to get beat up in downtown Cologne? :D

    “Wieso zum Teufel ist die Internetverbindung in Ihrem Hotel so schlecht, und warum zahle ich dafür?!”

    Indeed! What a travesty. Some of these (even large, reputable) hotel chains still live in the 20th century.

  23. 23
    zyaama

    One of my rationalisations for not forking out 3000 bucks for these 2 conferences in Germany was that I couldn’t see myself listen to Germans speak English for 2 weekends in a row.

    Yeah, that’s the annoying thing about those international conferences. You have to talk to people from all over the world…

    Now I realise that there is worse things than that, for example ‘mericans trying German…

    Or, English, for that matter.

    Seriously: While you are of course always welcome to learn a few other languages, so you don’t have to listen to people butchering yours (as some of us did), I found it very much worthwhile to hear people from non-anglophone countries give their perspective on scientific and skeptical issues in Berlin. I assume it will be the same in Cologne. The modern skeptical movement may have originated in the US and Britain, but Europeans were burned at the stake for heresy before Columbus ever set out to find a shortcut to India. So a conference where you don’t get to listen to the same set of speakers (much as I like some of them) for the fifth time may be a nice change. We should have more of those.

  24. 24
    Jadehawk

    Are you an Ann Arborite?

    no, but luckily, for sufficiently large sums of money, Zingerman’s will send bread to other parts of the country, too. ;-)

  25. 25
    dsabine

    For beer in Cologne, you should try Früh Kölsch, which is a brewery right in the center, just South fo the cathedral – follow the tourists. And be impressed by the massive barrell inside.

    But as it is quite hot these days I recommend outdoor eating and dreaking for which you simply have to go to the Brüsseler Platz (walk down Ehrenstrasse and across the ring road) and sit outside Hallmackenreuther (not all pubs/restaurants have complicated names, but this one has it out of principle, long story). But this is not a toursit trap, so beware: locals and natives and real Germany.

  26. 26
    Jadehawk

    Yeah, that’s the annoying thing about those international conferences. You have to talk to people from all over the world…

    or it could be that for Germans who speak fluently English as a consequence of having lived for a long time in English-speaking countries, the semi-fluent English with the heavy German accent sounds somewhat painful

    just sayin’

  27. 27
    SQB

    Stell dir vüür, do jings spaziere op der Huhstrooß.
    Unger dingem Ärm häätste e P.Z.

  28. 28
    Cosmic Teapot, not the Antichrist.
    “Eine Maß, bitte”

    Do you want him to get beat up in downtown Cologne? :D

    On a similiar note, do not ask for ein Alt. It is a beer from Düsseldorf, and there is a rivalry between the 2 cities.

    And yes, german bread is sehr lecker, shame you could not try a piece of my wifes Hefezopf.

    Enjoy your stay, and the great weather we are having at the minute.

  29. 29
    zyaama

    or it could be that for Germans who speak fluently English as a consequence of having lived for a long time in English-speaking countries, the semi-fluent English with the heavy German accent sounds somewhat painful

    I’m sure that is the case. I find that accent painful, and I have one of my own. But that’s not the point. By focussing on the accent, you may miss the content. The skeptical/atheist movement is currently a very localized phenomenon, and I think this is in part due to the fact that perfect fluency in English is one of the requirements to be accepted as an expert in these topics.

    I didn’t really want to write more about this. I know rorschach just made a joke, it’s just one of those low-level annoyances to me that occasionally result in me posting grumpy replies.

    Oh, and if PZ should read this: Don’t believe those people telling you to drink Kölsch. Kölsch is a local beer variety from Cologne, and there is a good reason why it has stayed local in a globalized world. It tastes like the water you used clean beer glasses in at a long party and is generally considered a soft drink by serious beer drinkers. Craft beers are slowly making a comeback in Germany, maybe somebody can get you some real beers. And if you go to a bakery, remember that the really dark breads can take some getting used to. Your unprepared American intestines may just give up and go home when faced with black bread.

  30. 30
    Zeno

    Gott sei dank

    I see what you did there! (That’s just an expression anyway. Right?)

  31. 31
    joed

    …Or as JFK said in his famous speech to the people of West Berlin, Ich bin ein Berliner.
    Which many people translated to, “I TOO AM A DONUT.”

  32. 32
    Jadehawk

    But that’s not the point.

    indeed it isn’t. the point was that rorschach made a silly joke about rationalizing why he’s not flying in from the antipodes. and unless we all switch to esperanto, non-local conventions will, with a few exceptions, require enough english to make oneself understood. and in my experience that doesn’t require more than semi-fluency with funny accent.

  33. 33
    joed

    …Or as JFK said in his famous speech to the people of West Berlin, “Ich bin ein Berliner.”
    Which many people translated to, “I TOO AM A DONUT.”

  34. 34
    DLC

    Cafe schnapps, bitte.

    and what you don’t want to hear:
    “Ihre Papiere bitte” /said with a greasy smile.

  35. 35
    'Tis Himself

    All those people who insist that “Ein Bier bitte” is the only German phrase required to be known are wrong. One should also know “Zwei Bier bitte.” One might not be alone in the Gasthaus.

  36. 36
    David Marjanović

    “Frühstuck!”

    Needs möre ümläüts! It’s Frühstück, from Früh “morning” (also früh “early”) and Stück “piece”.

    One of my rationalisations for not forking out 3000 bucks for these 2 conferences in Germany was that I couldn’t see myself listen to Germans speak English for 2 weekends in a row.

    Heh. It helps that I only hang out with scientists… :-)

    “Ich hab mich vollgefressen” is totally acceptable, but referring to the food as “Fressen” usually means it was bad quality.

    *rubs hands with glee at the prospect of reducing this thread to gibbering madness by discussing regional differences within the German language*

    I’ve never heard food referred to as “Fressen”, just “Fraß”; thoug that does mean it was bad.

    “Wieso zum Teufel ist die Internetverbindung in Ihrem Hotel so schlecht, und warum zahle ich dafür?!”

    Indeed! What a travesty. Some of these (even large, reputable) hotel chains still live in the 20th century.

    + 1
    The cheap place I’ll stay in has free WLAN. PZ once made an entire post about the most expensive hotels having the crappiest and most expensive Internet connections.

    (And do people still say “zum Teufel” in Cologne?)

    Yeah, that’s the annoying thing about those international conferences. You have to talk to people from all over the world…

    Rorschach is German (just doesn’t live there). He feels the shame he thinks his compatriots should be feeling.

    “Oa Schweinzhax un knödel, bitte”

    Because German is full of [ts], [s] and [ts] are strictly kept apart, even behind [n]. Don’t insert a [t] behind the poor swine.

    However, the end of the word needs a syllabic [n].

    Stell dir vüür, do jings spaziere op der Huhstrooß.
    Unger dingem Ärm häätste e P.Z.

    That’s an attempt to write (what’s left of) the local dialect! For comparison, a too literal translation into Standard German:

    Stell dir vor, du gingst auf der ????straße spazieren. Unter deinem Arm hättest du einen P. Z.

    “Imagine you were going for a walk along [whichever street it is]. Under your arm you’d have a PZ.”

    I conclude that “under your arm” is a local expression for… something. “And suddenly a PZ would come up”?

    By focussing on the accent

    Strong accents are a distraction that can be difficult to ignore.

    (And in the worst cases, they can make it impossible to understand anything. Ever heard English in the French sound system without compromises?)

    And if you go to a bakery, remember that the really dark breads can take some getting used to. Your unprepared American intestines may just give up and go home when faced with black bread.

    I’ve only had that happen with bread that was not really dark but pretended to be. Some “rye mix” crap (with more wheat than rye) that was edible but not good.

    That’s just an expression anyway. Right?

    Right. It’s often spelled as a single word and used like “fortunately”.

    Which many people translated to, “I TOO AM A DONUT.”

    Depending on local grammar, you can get to “sort of donut without a hole” there, but you can’t get to “too”.

  37. 37
    gussnarp

    I think this is kind of a classic German experience. There’s sort of a standard German breakfast, which is pretty much what you got, and all you have to do is ask for breakfast and you get it. My first trip to Germany we only had breakfast out once, I was with four other people and my three years of high school German was the only way we were going to get a meal in the small town we were in. We stopped at this little inn with outdoor tables, but the chairs were all up on the table, I wasn’t even sure if they were open and serving, but the door was unlocked, we walked in and I managed to ask if we could have breakfast outside in German (more or less, I think). I got a “Ja” back and soon a table was readied and we sat down as eggs, bread, meat, cheese and coffee materialized before us. It was great. Thanks for bringing back a fond memory with your little update, PZ.

  38. 38
    hinschelwood

    #13

    Which many people translated to, “I TOO AM A DONUT.”

    “Berliner” means jam/jelly doughnut everywhere in Germany except for Berlin. We call them “Pfannkuchen”, which translates directly to “pancake”.

    Everywhere else in Germany, “Pfannkuche” means pancake, as expected. In Berlin, pancakes are called “Eierkuchen”, which translates as “egg-cakes”.

  39. 39
    SQB

    That’s an attempt to write (what’s left of) the local dialect!

    It’s a line from a BAP song.

  40. 40
    TGAP Dad

    I have been a bread maker for 30+ years. I have tried many recipes, and I always like the ones with German origins (schwarzbrot! see gut!). Find a local bakery where the bread is kneaded hand and baked on a stone hearth or tiles. A nice, a crusty Bavarian rye with a hearty dark beer really takes you to a whole other place. As for beer, I think the popular German beers are overrated by most Americans, although they have some truly outstanding smaller brews. Give me a good Belgian trappist ale any day!

  41. 41
    SQB

    …which is, of course, in the local dialect.

  42. 42
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    The summer before my sophomore year of high school – the summer of 2001 – my parents decided that the thing to do was to send me to stay with my many-time-removed cousins.

    In a small town southeast of Regensburg. They run a brewery and biergarten (seit 1047!). The branch of the family that I belong to huffily stomped out of the area a good 200 years ago to go to Holland, on the grounds of irreconcilable Protestantism. Eventually we wound up in Chicago. The family name does not feature any umlauts, but it does feature on of these things -> ß. Oh, and it is two words long, beginning with “von.” The American branch has dropped the “von” and converted the “ß” to “ss.”

    I do not speak more than a few words of Hochdeutsch. And I was in rural Bavaria, where people do not speak Hochdeutsch.

    After a summer, I was able to order a bier, a radler, wienersnitzel mit spätzle, and apologize profusely for being an ignorant American.

    I almost got attacked by a mob for openly rooting for the US during a US-Germany soccer game. It is odd, I was certain that was the World Cup, but the Pfft! tells me that there was no Cup that year?! I also distinctly remember encountering a subway car full of drunken Turkey fans in Munich after a game.

    Oh, and to my continuing bafflement, I decided to visit the Hofbrauhaus and have a drink. I ordered one and got delivered a fork. o_O

  43. 43
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    And yes, I realize that I probably misspelled every single German word that appears in my previous comment.

    Ich bin ein unwissender American!

  44. 44
    jorgfehlmann

    @joed #31

    …Or as JFK said in his famous speech to the people of West Berlin, Ich bin ein Berliner.
    Which many people translated to, “I TOO AM A DONUT.”

    Not the Germans he spoke to. In this context, ‘Berliner’ can only mean “Berlin citizen”.

  45. 45
    Alex

    The essential difference between Berliner and Donuts is that Berliner have Euler Characteristic \chi=2 whereas Donuts have Euler Characteristic \chi=0
    They may taste similar, but the are not homeomorphic… and isn’t that what counts?

  46. 46
    zyaama

    They may taste similar, but the are not homeomorphic… and isn’t that what counts?

    That, and the jam filling.

  47. 47
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    *hands Tyrant of Skepsis a shiny new internet*

  48. 48
    gussnarp

    I’m pretty sure everyone understood what JFK meant when he spoke, it was only after the fact that people made a joke of it based on the double meaning. It’s not that he got the meaning wrong, it’s that there are two meanings. And there’s no “too” in the sentence, for the record. I suppose one could infer it, but it’s just “I am a Berliner”.

    @Tyrant – That would be true of jelly doughnuts and all filled doughnuts as well as berliners though. We’d have to stop calling custard filled doughnuts doughnuts if we went with that definition of a doughnut.

  49. 49
    radpumpkin

    ““Berliner” means jam/jelly doughnut everywhere in Germany except for Berlin. We call them “Pfannkuchen”, which translates directly to “pancake”.

    Everywhere else in Germany, “Pfannkuche” means pancake, as expected. In Berlin, pancakes are called “Eierkuchen”, which translates as “egg-cakes”.”

    Nope, down south we call them “Krapfen,” the jelly doughnuts I mean.

  50. 50
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Even if “Berliner” does in fact mean both “jelly donut” and “person from Berlin,” I’d think that context does everything.

    I mean, if I went to Copenhagen and said, “Jeg er ikke dansk,” I’m certain that people would understand that I was referring to my nationality, not asserting that I am not a baked good. Of course, I don’t know what Danes call the pastry that Americans call a “Danish.” For all I know, they could call it “Yankee brød.”

    Context!

  51. 51
    joed

    @44 jorgfehlmann
    yes, i found only about 8 million results from google on the “donut” speech.
    it was and is a big deal to some people in the u.s., because it can be funny.

  52. 52
    hinschelwood

    #49
    Didn’t know that, should have guessed that everything is different down there.

    #51
    I wonder if this is started off as a political thing? You know, “Obama said there are 58 states”, “he can only read from a teleprompter”, etc.

  53. 53
    tbp1

    One of the things I love best in Germany are the local bakeries. Always at least a dozen kinds of bread, and I have never found a bad bakery or a bad bread (some I liked less than others, but I have never had one that wasn’t good). And the cheese, and the sausage…

  54. 54
    jorgfehlmann

    @joed #51

    I know.

    To us older Germans, JFK’s speech has been important. That’s why I mentioned it.

  55. 55
    Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa

    Esteleth said:

    I almost got attacked by a mob for openly rooting for the US during a US-Germany soccer game. It is odd, I was certain that was the World Cup, but the Pfft! tells me that there was no Cup that year?! I also distinctly remember encountering a subway car full of drunken Turkey fans in Munich after a game.

    Hmm… mystery! FIFA shows no record of a US vs. Germany [men's] match in 2001, but there was one such game in the World Cup of the following year. Also, Turkey fared pretty well in 2002, finishing in the third place overall, which could explain the happy drunken fans. Perhaps you were caught in a time warp during that summer?

    PS: Shame on those violent sports fans.

  56. 56
    opposablethumbs

    Ever heard English in the French sound system without compromises?

    Mots d’Heures: Gousses, Rames: The D’Antin Manuscript (1967, Luis d’Antin van Rooten).
    You’ve probably known it for years already, David, but if perchance you don’t I suspect it may make you quite happy for a moment.

  57. 57
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Phalacrocorax,
    No idea. I’m pretty sure it was the summer of ’01. Of course, I could dig out my old (since expired) passport and look at the dates on the stamps. Maybe it was 2002, the summer before my junior year. *headscratch*

  58. 58
    razzlefrog

    Amerikanische brot ist schreckliche Qualität! Deutsche ist viel besser. :)

    My German’s a little rusty too, but boy, do I make a field day outta tryin’!

  59. 59
    RFW

    When you return home, P-zed, find the YouTube video on “New York Times no-knead bread” and do what it says to do.

    I’ve made bread for many years, off and on, in a desultory fashion (as a bad novelist would put it), and it was only when I began using the NYT NK recipe that I started getting consistently good bread.

    Consistently excellent, I should say, not merely “good”.

    You must use good quality high-gluten flour, as the old garbage in, garbage out rule applies. A low-protein flour from soft wheat won’t produce a decent result. The best I’ve found here is a “strong bread flour” I can buy in bulk from a organic food place, and you should be able to find something similar even in the wilds of rural Minnesota.

    Advantages to doing what I say:

    1. Once you master the technique, your family will fall at your feet and adore you for your bread making skills. (This is in addition to the adoration they give you for other reasons.) You will become a household god.

    2. You will live a life of bliss eating really good bread.

    3. I won’t sic my shoggoths on you.

    PS: The standard recipe for NK bread calls for 3 cups of flour. You can substitute up to one cup with just about anything resembling flour. Oatmeal works. Semolina works. Rye flour works. Barley flour works. Cornmeal probably works.

  60. 60
    TonyJ

    #2 Lars:

    Bake your own bread, PZ. After a couple of tries, you won’t find better bread in the store.

    Agreed. Even better if you make your own starter and feed it regularly to keep it going.

    This should get you going:

    whole wheat flour
    water
    drop of milk
    miniscule bit of cumin

  61. 61
    Alex

    @Esteleth

    :D

    I mean, if I went to Copenhagen and said, “Jeg er ikke dansk,” I’m certain that people would understand that I was referring to my nationality, not asserting that I am not a baked good.

    When I was at the Copenhagen airport earlier this year I was actually looking out for a “Danish” (specifically to see what they called it, of course), but, alas, I was not successful.

    PS: Shame on those violent sports fans.

    I don’t care much for sports or sports fandom at all, but when I saw Turkish-German double flagging on some of the motorcades downtown during the world cup, it gave me some hope for humanity, or at least the future of german integration politics.

  62. 62
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    I second RFW, with a few caveats:
    1: Measuring flour by the cup is a bad idea. Use a scale and a recipe that gives flour measures by weight.
    2: White bread is the devil! Use at least 1/3 (up to 1/2) coarse flour. Personally I use 450 grammes of flour (half white wheat, half assorted course flours, usually a mixture of rye, wheat and oat) to roughly 0,3 litres of cold water
    3: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and some linen seeds are greatly encouraged.

  63. 63
    christianvon kietzell

    Real bread is what we miss most when we’re travelling. There’s hardly anything more delicious than fresh-baked dark bread, preferably wholemeal.

  64. 64
    starstuff

    I had buder brezel EVERY morning when I was in Munich. I’ve yet to be able to reproduce them.

    I also found that when you order “water” they bring you fizzy Perrier type stuff (yecch) with no ice. I had to ask for TAP water & ice cubes.

    “Cheers” takes you a long way if you’re not up on the language (which I really wasn’t). Everyone I met was super friendly and patient with the furriners. Enjoy your visit!

  65. 65
    David Marjanović

    Nope, down south we call them “Krapfen,” the jelly doughnuts I mean.

    Yep. And when you leave Germany and enter Austria, the pancakes turn into Palatschinken, from Latin placenta in Italian pronunciation via Hungarian, Slovak and Czech in this order.

    Lots of Germans believe this word is related to Schinken, “ham”. Isn’t the case. The singular is Palatschinke, and it’s feminine, unlike the masculine ham.

    Mots d’Heures: Gousses, Rames

    Exactly. :-)

    PS: The standard recipe for NK bread calls for 3 cups of flour. You can substitute up to one cup with just about anything resembling flour. Oatmeal works. Semolina works. Rye flour works. Barley flour works. Cornmeal probably works.

    Definitely. The best bread I’ve ever had looked like dark bread, but it was yellow. That was in Croatia in 1993.

    Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and some linen seeds are greatly encouraged.

    Even more encouraged are fennel and caraway!

  66. 66
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Even more encouraged are fennel and caraway!

    Not for everyday consumption with everything according to my taste, but for some things: Sure.

    When I was at the Copenhagen airport earlier this year I was actually looking out for a “Danish” (specifically to see what they called it, of course), but, alas, I was not successful.

    IIRC, the Danish use “wienerbrød” (lit: Viennese bread)

  67. 67
    David Marjanović

    I also found that when you order “water” they bring you fizzy Perrier type stuff (yecch) with no ice. I had to ask for TAP water & ice cubes.

    It’s specifically American that everything drinkable is either hot or contains ice cubes. (In my experience, water with ice cubes is served in the US even if you say you want nothing to drink.)

    Unfortunately, it’s taken for granted over here that everybody likes fizzy stuff and prefers it over tap water, and tap water is sort of considered below a restaurant’s dignity – you could have tap water at home; it’s assumed you specifically came to drink something “better” and laughably expensive.

  68. 68
    David Marjanović

    Not for everyday consumption with everything according to my taste

    What would you eat with bread that would clash with fennel or caraway?

    IIRC, the Danish use “wienerbrød” (lit: Viennese bread)

    Pastry in French is viennoiserie(s).

  69. 69
    imnotandrei

    @36, 39

    Ah, BAP. I have fond memories of the time when, as an exchange student, I had an easier time understanding BAP’s lyrics than my German host student, because he kept persisting in thinking it was German sung wrong, instead of a dialect. Ironically, his father, who didn’t like the band, did speak Kolsch.

    Me? I became that oddest of ducks, a BAP fan who lived in the U.S.

    (It did not help that the first album of theirs I heard had Wie ‘ne Steyn (IIRC) on it, a Kolsch cover of Bob Dylan.)

  70. 70
    joshuakundert

    Ha! I lived in Germany for three years and the bread is so good that I could not leave it behind.

    So I make my own.. It’s not hard–and when made correctly–it has as much protein in it as the cheese or meat you put on top of it..

    So here’s a recipe (makes 2 loaves)

    4 cups unbleached bread flour
    1.5 cups whole wheat flour
    1.5 cups whole rye flour
    2 tsp salt
    3 Tbsp yeast (buy it in bulk at your local commie hippie coop or what not. It costs like 1/10 of those fleishman’s packs..)
    2 Tbsp honey
    2 Tbsp black strap molasses (don’t get the other stuff–black strap has way more flavor and vitamins..)
    2 Tbsp butter
    2 tsp caraway seeds (for the rye flavoring..)
    1 to 1.5 cups of assorted whole grain type seeds–I use a mixture of: rolled oats, buckwheat groats, rye berries, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, hulled pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, etc..–basically go to your local commie hippie (I bet even corporate Whole foods has some of these) coop and buy this in bulk.. then scoop out a couple tablespoons of each until you have 1-1.5 cups of them..
    16-20 oz of Warm (not hot–but not cold) water.

    Mix all dry ingredients + honey & molasses.
    Add in 16 oz of water–stir with a plastic spoon/spready knife type thinger until you get lots of clumps. Then get in there and start kneading. (basically grabbing/squashing the dough together and folding it over repeatedly…) Add more water if you need it in order to bind in all of the flour.

    Do this until you have a big round ball of dough.

    Put this in a different/smaller plastic bowl and cover with a cloth. Wash out mixing bowl and then fill it with hot water.. Place smaller plastic bowl in this (so you get a double boiler effect) that will warm the bread and cause it to rise faster.

    Let this sit for like 1.5 hours. It will rise.

    Turn on oven to 350-360′ and let it warm up.
    Then grease two bread loaf pans (I use pyrex.). take the risen loaf out, split it into 2 equal sized chunks, and knead again briefly for like 15 seconds and then shape into two logs that will fit in your loaf pans. Place these on the counter and let them rise for 10 minutes as your oven is warming up.

    Put in the oven and then bake them for 45 minutes.

    Take out–and you have solid German bread. Eat with butter/cheese/meat/pb/etc.. Note–you should refrigerate at least one of the loaves–as this bread WILL GET HARD AS GOOD BREAD SHOULD–and refrigeration will slow this down. After a week of leaving it out–you should be able to throw it through windows with some success. This makes it ENTIRELY unlike the fake Wonder Brand Bread that we have here–a loaf of which I’ve had in my office for 2 whole years (and it’s been touched and left open) and which STILL HAS NOT MOLDED.

    Anyway.. Enjoy!

  71. 71
    stwriley

    My wife always insists that her favorite words in German are “mit schlag” (with whipped cream) and she uses them whenever we’re in a German-speaking country. It’s the only German she knows, but it does seem to work well for her.

  72. 72
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    What would you eat with bread that would clash with fennel or caraway?

    It’s more the every day part. I’m Scandinavian, we eat bread with basically everything that’s not accompanied by potatoes (and most things that’s accompanied by potatoes). And I got a twice-a-week policy towards caraway (and one dose has to be reserved in case of aquavit)

  73. 73
    starstuff

    It’s specifically American that everything drinkable is either hot or contains ice cubes. (In my experience, water with ice cubes is served in the US even if you say you want nothing to drink.)
    —-

    Yeah, they serve it everywhere, you know, just in case you decide you’re thirsty. I pretty much drink nothing BUT water so ice is what I’m used to. Although, I can see where it wouldn’t be the norm in a restaurant there.

    Silly American forgetting she was experiencing someone else’s culture. :)

  74. 74
    grumpypathdoc

    I concur with posts #’s 1 and 2 above as well as several others.

    There must be some decent bakers in your area. If not bake your own. “Beard on Bread”, which is still in print, is good starting point. Innumerable recipes are on the web.

    Just got back from Zagreb, Croatia. A block away from my wife’s apartment is a small grocery store where you can buy fresh baked bread every morning. Guess where I’m retiring to?

    PS; Karlovačko Pivo and Ožujsko Pivo are good local beers, as well. Don’t drink alcohol anymore, due to my antiarrythmia medication however.

  75. 75
    SQB

    What you need, it the lingual equivalent of a towel.

    “A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value – you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to- hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

    More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”

    Just a line, a couple of words, two or three sentences that convey the idea that the speaker is clearly “someone to be reckoned with”.

    Whether it’s “mit Schlag” or something else, it needs to be useful enough to have a good chance of being used in everyday conversation, but more importantly, it needs to hint that the speaker has true knowledge of the German language, and that any mistakes made from there on out, are just little tidbits they just haven’t picked up yet.

    Unfortunately, I can think of no such line.

  76. 76
    NitricAcid

    The most important lesson in German is to realize that the person who tells you that the German phrase for “Help! Police!” is “Schweinehund Polizei!” is not really your friend.

    Similarly, “Ich muchte mit dir schlafen” does not mean “Where is the post office?”

  77. 77
    tbp1

    Ah yes, the battle for tap water and ice in Europe.

    I like fizzy water just fine, but it is often ridiculously expensive in restaurants in Europe, considering what it costs in stores (and restaurants get it wholesale, I assume). The markup is absurd. On a percentage basis it frequently seems to me to be higher than the markup on beer or wine. I’m all for restaurants making a profit, but come on.

    The only European country where they seem to understand the American need for ice is Greece. All kinds of great iced drinks (frappes!).

    That said, I get it that food and drink customs are different around the world. Indeed that’s part of why I like to travel. So it doesn’t bug me at all if my drink doesn’t automatically come with ice when I’m abroad, but I don’t like getting dirty looks if I make a perfectly politce request for some, especially in a nicer place.

    I host people from Europe as part of my job from time to time, and of course they always have to ask to get their water without ice.

  78. 78
    eddyline

    …Nor does “haben Sie Zeit?” mean “What time is it?”

  79. 79
    benjaminbreuer

    Seconding RFW at #59 and David at #65:

    The no-knead recipe is easy, you let the yeast do the work of breaking down gluten, and you can vary the recipe. It’s simply important to bake the bread in a closed container for some time, otherwise it won’t moisten on the surface and won’t get a nice crust. The container must be piping-hot when the dough is poured/put in, otherwise the bread may get stuck.

    For that recipe: more water, more yeast, higher temperature during fermentation, or lower-grade (i.e., whiter) flour shorten the time of fermentation; the opposites lengthen the process. I often put in spices, such as (per David and South-Tyrolian custom) fennel, caraway, anise, and coriander seeds (which I usually allow to ferment with the bread).

    #71: “mit Schlag” all by itself has an Austrian (at least South-Eastern German) twang to me.

  80. 80
    hypocee

    Of the Midwest and bread:
    http://threepanelsoul.com/view.php?date=2009-08-05

  81. 81
    hypocee

    …which is broken apparently, They changed their URLs but kept the archive – it be here instead.

    http://threepanelsoul.com/2009/08/05/on-the-staff-of-life/

  82. 82
    Christoph Burschka
    “Eine Maß, bitte”

    Do you want him to get beat up in downtown Cologne? :D

    The best way to do that is to ask for “ein Alt”. :P

    (explanatory link)

  83. 83
    Rich Woods

    @tbp1:

    Ah yes, the battle for tap water and ice in Europe.

    Here in the UK, we respect the American need for ice by not bothering to have hot weather.

  84. 84
    michaelbusch

    PZ,

    I can’t speak to the bakeries in Morris, but if you’re in Saint Paul at some point, there’s a bakery and deli called Cecil’s that makes excellent pumpernickel. If you don’t want to bake your own, I suppose you could arrange some long-distance takeout…

  85. 85
    Olav

    Joshua:

    unlike the fake Wonder Brand Bread that we have here–a loaf of which I’ve had in my office for 2 whole years (and it’s been touched and left open) and which STILL HAS NOT MOLDED.

    Now that is just scary.

    If even the fungi won’t eat it, is that stuff suitable for human consumption at all?

  86. 86
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    Now that is just scary.

    If even the fungi won’t eat it, is that stuff suitable for human consumption at all?

    Nah, it’s just the lack of available moisture (emulsifiers are used to bind the moisture in industry bread to fats iirc). Spray the stuff with water and close the bag, and it will probably mold.

    Proper bread won’t mold if dried either.

    I’m not saying that you should eat it though. It won’t taste good and all the fat in it is most likely trans-fat(I hope that’s the word used in English – in no way meant as a slur in case I’m mistaken).

  87. 87
    Jadehawk

    (In my experience, water with ice cubes is served in the US even if you say you want nothing to drink.)

    and if you try ordering your cold drink without the ice cubes, they’ll look at you as if you were trying to trick them (and then promptly forget that you said “no ice” anyway)

    less so in touristy places, more so out here in the middle of nowhere

    Yeah, they serve it everywhere, you know, just in case you decide you’re thirsty.

    that’s what the beer and sparkling water are for. if you wanted tap water, you wouldn’t have needed to leave the house for that.

    or you could carry a bottle of water with you. which you should do anyway while running around Europe, since water fountains are not provided.

  88. 88
    crocodoc

    I’m sitting here in Munich right now, enjoying my PZ warm-up party and watching this brilliant ‘dancing on the graves of gods’ talk that everyone who has not seen it on Youtube yet should watch ASAP. My flight to Cologne goes at 7:35, time for a few hours sleep now, I guess…

    Man sieht sich später!

  89. 89
    alektorophile

    America’s love of ice is indeed rather perplexing for us Europeans. The mandatory glass of ice with some water in it is one thing, but I have also more than once been offered ice for my white wine, which is somewhat unusual to say the least, and have also recently been severely frowned at in a MT restaurant in wintertime for suggesting I’d rather have a non-frozen mug for an already bitter cold pint of an otherwise fine stout, which is borderline barbaric.

    Oh, and don’t get me started on the overuse of air conditioning in stores and homes…

    Still, it is also these little idiosyncrasies that make traveling so much fun, isn’t it? And the quality of many of its beers (aka liquid bread) alone makes traveling to the US worthwhile.

    And as far as the jelly doughnuts are concerned, even farther south (in Switzerland), they are commonly known as “Berliners”.

  90. 90
    crocodoc

    Oh, I forgot: If ordering a Maß or an Altbier in Cologne does not help you lose a few teeth, try this. Go to a crowded place and shout:

    Nie mehr zweite Liga! Fortuna, wohooooo….

  91. 91
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    The riddle has been solved.
    The relevant stamp in my old passport is here, clearly indicating that I entered Germany at Munich in June of 2002.

    WTF. Why do I clearly remember being there in 2001?

  92. 92
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    you let the yeast do the work of breaking down gluten

    wut

    It was my understanding that you want MORE gluten. Long fermenting time allows starches to do their thing and release flavor while gluten develops.

  93. 93
    Jadehawk

    Oh, and don’t get me started on the overuse of air conditioning in stores and homes…

    OMFG yes. and the same for heaters in the winter, making it impossible to dress in a way that allows one to be comfortable both indoors and outdoors without extensive layering (and constant dressing and undressing)

  94. 94
    Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa

    Esteleth said:

    The riddle has been solved.

    The relevant stamp in my old passport is here, clearly indicating that I entered Germany at Munich in June of 2002.

    Yay! Right in time for the World Cup!

    By the way, thanks for posting the solution. It’s fun to work on little puzzles via the Internet.

    Why do I clearly remember being there in 2001?

    I don’t know, but this is a kind of mistake I often make. It was natural to assume it could’ve happened here.

  95. 95
    Akira MacKenzie

    I was actually doing pretty well in High School German until German II when they hit us with the gendered nouns (masculine, feminine, and neuter). I couldn’t figure out how to use them and had to drop the class when I looked like I was going to fail.

    I always wanted to pick up where I left off and try again. I don’t suppose anyone has some resources that will help?

  96. 96
    Emptyell

    …mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm….

    Deutsches Frühstück.

    Sliced meats, fruits, cheeses, veggies, yogurt, muesli… And bread, real bread, on a board, with a knife to slice fresh (with a cloth covering so you don’t touch the loaf of course). Nothing like our slightly flavored simulated bread like product. I’m sure it would all be illegal here in the land of sneeze guards and Sani-Paks.

    German breakfasts are the best!

    I’m jealous. Wish I were there. Maybe next time.

    Enjoy!

  97. 97
    jorgfehlmann

    @Akira MacKenzie #95

    Have a look at this:
    Amazon: “German Made Simple: Learn to speak and understand German quickly and easily” for currently $8.42.

    You might need an additional German dictionary.

  98. 98
    jorgfehlmann

    @Akira MacKenzie #95

    I use the online dictionary LEO, which has several integration possibilities, e.g. for Firefox.

  99. 99
    echidna

    urbanlegends.about.com does a nice job telling the story about the Berliner misconception.

    Laying decades of misinformation to rest, in 1993 linguist Jürgen Eichhoff laid out a concise grammatical analysis of Kennedy’s statement in the academic journal Monatshefte. “‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ is not only correct,” Eichhoff wrote, “but the one and only correct way of expressing in German what the President intended to say.”

    An actual Berliner would say, in proper German, “Ich bin Berliner.” But that wouldn’t have been the correct phrase for Kennedy to use. The indefinite article “ein” is required, Eichhoff explained, to express a metaphorical identification between subject and predicate. Otherwise, the speaker could be taken to say he is literally a citizen of Berlin, which was not Kennedy’s intention.

    Just the warmth of the crowd toward JFK makes watching the video( the famous line is at 1:40) worth it, and I don’t mean to detract from the speech itself.

  100. 100
    joshuakundert

    @Olav,

    Actually, what makes the whole thing even more scary is that the plastic packaging, which has corn starch in it so that it will biodegrade–has started to do so.. you can see a thin layer of black mold which is breaking down the plastic and it is sticky as the starch is broken down into sugars.

    Given the chance, micro-organisms would rather eat plastic than wonder bread.

    Isn’t processed food great.

  101. 101
    benjaminbreuer

    #92, kristinc: You’re probably right. What I was going for is that the yeast does some digesting, as a result of which we get chewier bread. Gotta look up some bread chemistry some time.

  102. 102
    radpumpkin

    @90 crocodoc

    See, that will get him killed, in much the same way as openly and vocally professing your fandom of FC Chelsea here in Munich will.

  103. 103
    Tomaz79

    Good to see you back in Europe, PZ.

    I was planning to go to Koeln this weekend, unfortunately other things came up. Gonna shake your hand next time then …

  104. 104
    joachim

    When in England as an exchange student, having discovered an Austrian bakery that makes real bread, coming home with my prize, the landlord said: “Oh no, you can’t eat that! It’s a stone!”

    Good to see someone from abroad can appreciate German bread.

    P.S.: Whereabouts are you? Maybe I can attent a talk of you, if it’ll be near Frankfurt am Main.

  105. 105
    SQB

    WTF. Why do I clearly remember being there in 2001?

    A perfectly understandable mistake, except for one thing — summer 2001 was pre 9/11, while summer 2002 was post. That must have made an impact on the journey.

  106. 106
    SQB

    Also,

    Mein Hut, er hat drei Ecken
    Drei Ecken hat mein Hut
    Und hat er nicht drei Ecken
    So war es nicht mein Hut

  107. 107
    Alex

    Mein Hut, er hat drei Ecken[...]

    That’s like the closest thing to an Aristotelian logic 101 song I know :D

  108. 108
    jorgfehlmann

    Happy Towel Day!

  109. 109
    keenacat

    Akira MacKenzie,

    I was actually doing pretty well in High School German until German II when they hit us with the gendered nouns (masculine, feminine, and neuter). I couldn’t figure out how to use them and had to drop the class when I looked like I was going to fail.

    I always wanted to pick up where I left off and try again. I don’t suppose anyone has some resources that will help?

    To be honest, lots of gendering in nouns is historical and thus there is no easy way to get it right via logic (puzzling example “das Mädchen (girl)”, making the girl a grammatical neuter). Some endings provide information, but only practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to using pronouns and articles.
    I’d suggest you get reading material for your level and start reading books and articles in german. For beginners, using special learners books including vocabulary and grammar info is helpful, as you progress you might want to read books you’ve read in english already and later on new stuff. On the intertoobs, I used to keep dict.leo.org open, which is awesome and still helps me getting my vocab right once in a while.
    This is how I kept my english fluent and even getting better in regards to vocab and grammar since school, even though I hardly ever spoke any. I’m still better at reading/writing than speaking or understanding, but I have no issue switching to english and conversing with people who lack a heavier accent.

  110. 110
    gavinmcbride

    So I have brought a lederhosen set with me to the convention. Trousers, the shirt, the hat, the sheep skin coat. The lot.

    My plan is to get pz to wear it. I cant not do it alone, so everyone who reads this leave a comment demanding PZ post a picture in leder hosen!

  111. 111
    gussnarp

    I just want to note that I’ve bought bread from a lot of small, local, artisan bakeries in the U.S. and I’ve never found bread that compared to what you can get at any bakery in Germany. I expect part of that is tastes, most bakeries in American seem to be focused on French, Italian, or sourdough breads and simply don’t bake anything in a German style. It may also have something to do with the yeast varieties, particularly wild yeasts. I’m no bread expert, so I’m sure someone knows the technical details better, but good luck finding something remotely similar to your German breakfast bread in the states.

  112. 112
    Alex

    So I have brought a lederhosen set with me to the convention.

    You people do know that Cologne is not exactly close (culturally nor geographically) to Bavaria, right? :D

  113. 113
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    SQB, that is the source of my confusion.

    9/11 would have profoundly affected the trip, especially an international trip. But I don’t remember it doing so!

    I’ve only flown into Munich once, so it cannot be a matter of me finding the wrong passport stamp. *confusion*

  114. 114
    joshuakundert

    @Tyrant (and others..)

    Having lived in Germany (Goettingen and then Duesseldorf) for a number of years–obviously I know the difference betweent he different areas of Germany.. but I think the whole “Germany=Lederhosen” stereotype, while obnoxious, is not all that different than the stereotype of “Americans=cowboys” that a good chunk of Germans that I met had. I’m from Chicago–and when I told that to even highly educated Germans at the Uni, 90% of them would ask.. “Is that next to Florida?”–so Geographical ignorance is not merely an American thing…

    In very interesting ways, Texas & Bavaria are similar in providing a kind of easily definable stereotype for the whole country–one, however, that doesn’t remotely begin to cover the variety found in each country…

  115. 115
    ButchKitties

    Easiest homemade bread in the world:

    3 cups self-rising flour
    2 or 3 tablespoons sugar
    12oz bottle of beer

    Mix everything. Pour in a loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. If you wanna get fancy, pour a little melted butter over the top before baking. If you want to make a dessert bread, add a little extra sugar and use a good pumpkin ale (I like Dogfish Head). It’s not anything mind-blowing, but it is stupidly easy to make and definitely superior to what you’ll find in the supermarket.

  116. 116
    NitricAcid

    #89

    And the quality of many of its beers (aka liquid bread) alone makes traveling to the US worthwhile.

    That’s not what I’ve heard about American beer.

  117. 117
    jorgfehlmann

    @gavinmcbride #110

    So I have brought a lederhosen set with me to the convention.

    Wearing Lederhosen in Cologne marks you as a tourist from Bavaria, the US, or Japan.

    :-D

  118. 118
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    That’s not what I’ve heard about American beer.

    Many of the smaller breweries (Sam Adams, Ommegang, Saranac, just to name a few) produce some excellent and varied beers. Last night, I had a Saranac Single Malt beer which was excellent. Not that I am a beer expert or anything, so please disregard my plebian taste.

  119. 119
    gussnarp

    @Nitric Acid #116:

    The major breweries and their endless array of mass produced beers are pretty much swill, as you’ve heard, but smaller breweries have been popping up all over the country for some time now and you can easily get some really good micro brews and craft brews in any decent bar anywhere in the country. There are nation wide breweries producing smaller quantities of really good stuff and there are local beers in most major urban areas that you won’t find anywhere else and should definitely look into. And even Sam Adams, as Ogvorbis mentions, is still producing a pretty decent beer even though it is pretty huge now.

    Our large and varied population and geography has served us well yet again, providing us with a rich and widely varied selection of fine beer. You can also probably find more different imports from more different countries in more parts of America than in any other country too, but that’s speculation.

    If it has commercials on the super bowl with scantily clad women, don’t drink it, but try anything else and you’ll find something you like.

  120. 120
    Alex

    gussnarp,

    I can very much second that, I have increasingly enjoyed the beer variety during my past few visits to the US. As a fan of malty darks and hoppy stuff, the micro brews are really nice. Also, yes, Sam Adams really is a decent if you’re in a place that doesn’t get the micro brews and specialty beers..

  121. 121
    Olav

    Akira MacKenzie:

    I always wanted to pick up where I left off and try again. I don’t suppose anyone has some resources that will help?

    http://www.dw.de/dw/0,,2547,00.html
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/german/

    These are on the wild wild web, you can find a lot more like those through something called a “Suchmaschine” ;-)

    Seriously though, those two are probably the most serious, reputable, not-for-profit (free) resources you can find. The language website by the BBC is quite famous for that reason.

    Also checkout dw.de, ard.de, zdf.de. They are German public TV stations and they have either livestreams of their broadcasts or a very rich “Mediathek” where you can watch all kinds of programmes for free. They are usually less rigidly concerned with “rights” like for instance the BBC, so they do not restrict viewing only to the German audience. As far as I know, that is. Try it.

  122. 122
    petralichtenecker

    Thank you for the talk today, PZ. :)

  123. 123
    yubal

    And it was real bread

    The single most reason a German abroad would get homesick.

    I am already down to baking myself. Although I definitely need more practice, more recipes and a better oven.

    (BTW: CURSE YOU FOR REMINDING ME, PZ! Argh.)

  124. 124
    Travis

    I have only been to Germany a few times but I definitely miss my bread experiences there. I had some very good breakfasts in Hamburg and Munich. Even the bread we got at the Penny Markt was decent and baked in the store. I wish I could say the same for discount supermarkets here.

    Some comments on American beer:
    Canadians love to make fun of the beer south of the border, and sadly it seems much of that low opinion is true, at least when it comes to what is very popular. The market penetration of the macrobrews is sadly still very high. However the microbrews I have tried have been extremely good and I have a long list of American beer I would love to get my hands on. Also, if I hear another person drinking a crappy, generic Canadian lager joking about American beer I think I will go crazy. We Canadians drink a lot of terrible beer as well.

  125. 125
    BrianX

    Yubal:

    If you’re in the US, grab some of Peter Reinhart’s books, and maybe Jim Lahey’s.

  126. 126
    clarkcox

    I’ve had very good luck with germandeli.com. I frequently order brötchen and cheeses that taste just as I remember them.

    http://www.germandeli.com/brbr6.html
    http://www.germandeli.com/gutneuburg.html

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