You don’t have to be a professional chef to cook delicious German-style cuisine. Foods like sausages and salads can be prepared in minutes, and don’t require any special cooking methods or ingredients. Follow these simple recipes and read up on their histories, so you can bring the flavors of Germany to your dinner table.
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Beer, bratwurst, and sauerkraut are all German favorites, and can be prepared in less than an hour. And really, what could be more German than bratwurst and sauerkraut? It’s arguably one of the most beloved traditional German dishes.
In fact, the earliest documented evidence of bratwurst dates back to the early 14th century in a region of what would become eastern Germany near the present-day city of Nuremberg. And while it’s likely that bratwursts are much older (possibly dating back to the Celts), the oldest known recipe for Thuringian bratwurst shows that the Germans had very strict guidelines for their sausages as early as 1432.
As a food product, pork is almost as popular as beef is in the U.S. To this end, there are more than 40 distinct varieties of Bratwurst in Germany. So for German Americans, this dish likely has particular significance. Particularly in parts of the country like Wisconsin, brat and sauerkraut is seen as a cultural touchstone of older times.
If you’re looking to cook up your own version of this iconic German dish, here is a simple (yet delicious) recipe:
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Rice is one of the simplest foods to prepare, yet many dishes would be utterly incomplete without it. In the confines of German cuisine, it can be cooked in any number of ways to go along with other delicious fare like sausage and sauerkraut.
Although it’s believed that rice was first introduced to Europe by Alexander the Great’s returning armies, large deposits of rice have been unearthed from ancient Roman military camps in Germany. So it’s likely that this grain made its way to Germany during this time, if not earlier.
And while rice is largely used in Germany for puddings and as sweet rice, it also has some more conventional uses with which American diners might be more comfortable. This recipe makes a German rice dish similar to the ones served in Germany hotels and dining rooms throughout the country:
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Potato salad makes a simple side dish for almost any kind of cuisine, and today they’re a staple to many different types of cooking. However, when the potato first came to Germany, it was considered a food fit only for peasants, prisoners, and livestock. This was partly because the first domesticated potatoes to be grown in Europe simply weren’t very good. It wasn’t until sometime later (more than 200 years, in fact) that the potato was finally cross-bred into the form we know today.
However, thanks to this act of homologous recombination, the modern potato does indeed exist, and it’s a major part of German cuisine. Aside from the seemingly omnipresent potato pancake, hot potato salad is perhaps the most popular dish from Germany’s culinary idiom that utilizes this versatile plant. And while many Americans probably are more used to cold potato salad, this particular dish has been in the country since German immigrants first crossed the Atlantic.
Earliest versions of this dish were probably something like a “leftover gumbo” that combined old roasted or boiled potatoes with ham or German bacon. In any case, this German twist on the classic recipe uses hot ingredients served straight from the skillet:
So hopefully after reading these short histories, you now feel compelled to cook your own versions of the aforementioned dishes. But that doesn’t mean you should stress out the next time you want an authentic German meal; recipes like these are quick, delicious, and simple enough for anyone to make.
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