Thursday, June 21, 2012

America vs. Germany Part VI. Weird eating habits.

Hallo meine Lieben,

I hope you are all having a wonderful and sunny day! I know, the weather in Germany is not very nice at the moment but I am sure it will be better soon! Wann wird's mal wieder richtig Sommer? Hopefully soon! Ach, Rudi Carell! Herrlich. 

Okay. Food is important. I love to eat and to cook. I am a terrible baker but I think my cooking is fine. I can't find all the things I like and used to eat in Germany here but I think I found a good way to deal with it. I am glad that I found my Maggi Würze here in America. It hurts a bit that I have to pay 4 Dollars for a 100ml bottle but okay. I love it, I need it, I use it for everything (by the way, I can get a 1000 ml bottle for 3 Euros in Germany. Man.).

I miss German Bretzeln though. One time I bought an American pretzel (why do you spell it wrong, America?) and there was sugar on it. I want salt! Or sunflower seeds! But not sugar. 

I found some fantastic vegan Würstchen though! Good job, America! That makes it a lot easier to grill out! By the way, David says that the German Bratwurst in America never tastes like German Bratwurst. 

As you can imagine there are many differences between German and American food. I could talk about this for hours but I just want to mention a few that really stand out to me. Please write me if you have any other suggestions. 

★ Chips for lunch

When I first came to America I thought that's just a thing that David does. He sometimes eats chips for lunch. For example he has a hot dog on his plate and next to it a handful of chips. As a side. For me chips is not a side. In Germany you get vegetables or rice or salad or whatever as a side but I have never seen chips on a plate. I don't know why you would do that. Because it's easy? I mean, you just have to grab a bag and but the chips on your plate, no cooking etc. And no, it's not just David. Everybody eats it. I have seen other people do it, I have even seen it on TV. Walter White eats chips for lunch. 
It's so weird for me. Really. I mean, for me chips is something you eat in the evening in front of the TV when you watch a movie. Or at parties. 
I know that people eat fish and chips in England but as far as I know these "chips" are fries or something similar to that. And it's hot, not cold plain chips.
So yeah, it is really weird for me to see people eat chips for lunch together with their other food. And I am not sure if I will ever get used to it. For me it's an evening snack. 

★ No coffee after a meal.

I know, I know. People drink coffee in America too. That's not what I mean.
But when I go out for lunch or dinner in Germany I order a coffee when I am done eating. It's a ritual. I need that after a meal. Every restaurant has a menu with different coffee specialties. You don't see that in America very often. To be honest you rarely even see a "Getränkekarte", a card that lists all the different drinks the restaurant offers. Like different wines, beers, coffee etc. 
And I have never seen people order a coffee after a meal. That's weird because for me drinking a coffee is a perfect way to end a meal. Okay, when I go to my favorite Pizzeria in Germany I drink a coffee first and then get some free alcohol when I want to pay. That's nice. I never get free alcohol in America. It's a little mean if you ask me. 
My grandfather always said that "Alkohol ist gut für die Verdauung", Alcohol is good for your digestion. 
For me it's a very nice and cozy thing to drink a coffee after a meal in a restaurant. But it's just not possible to do that in America because a) they don't offer it and b) they bring you the check as soon as you finished eating.
I have said that before, going out for dinner is an experience for me....nothing you do in a rush. I want to sit in a restaurant for hours and talk. With a nice hot cup of coffee. 

★ leftovers

I have to say that this bothers me a lot because I just can't understand it.
One time I went to a restaurants with David and his parents. It was a buffet. As far as I know you can stand up and go to the buffet as often as you want. There are no limitations. That means you can go, get something, eat it and then decide if you are still hungry and then go again. Sounds easy. 
But I have to say that I was a little shocked! The place was not very crowded and there was so much food and I am sure that it was enough for everybody. But the other customers went to the buffet and came back having their plates (yes, plates. Not just one plate) full of stuff. I felt like I was in the middle of a war, food was short and you have to grab whatever you can. That's what my grandmother told me about World War II. You can't be picky, get as much food as you can carry, you never know when you will be able to get food again.
But we're not at war and hey, it's America. There's lots of food so you can be sure that you don't have to starve in a restaurant. 
I really don't know why people do that. All the tables were full of plates. Don't get me wrong, people can eat as much as they want! Really. Take as much as you can eat! But the problem is that people don't eat all their food! You see so many leftovers on the plates and I really wonder why people got all that food in the first place. I understand that people just don't like some of the food but you could try it first and then decide if you want more. 
David calls my plate "the European plate". I always try not to leave any leftovers.

★ real cheese

It's so funny for me to see that every American food that contains cheese says "With real cheese". It is a running gag in our house that we always make fun of the "reeeeeeaaaaaal cheeeeeese". It's really weird for me that every package says that it contains real cheese and not fake cheese. Shouldn't that be normal? 
Okay, in my opinion American cheese is NEVER real cheese but that's another story. 

★ baking = opening a package

I have never seen so many baking mixtures before. Really. It's overwhelming when you go to a grocery store and see hundreds of different packages. I never use them but I have seen that you get a package for every kind of cake, muffin, cupcake you want. 
And I feel like everybody uses these mixtures. I rarely see homemade cakes. I admit that I have seen homemade pies at Thanksgiving but what about a Schwarzwälderkirschtorte? Seems like people always buy cakes but rarely make them on their own.
And I know that Americans LOVE  their frosting. I just can't understand why.

★ no bakeries

I know, I have said that before....I miss my German bakeries! Bread, Laugenbretzeln and my Dinkelapfeltasche (spelt-apple-turnover). Every German village has a bakery, no matter how small it is. Only 700 people live in my home town. There is no supermarket, no nothing. But we have a bakery! People need a bakery. I want to go to a bakery on Sunday morning (yes, a lot of bakeries are open on Sunday mornings even when all other stores are closed) and get my warm crunchy Brötchen and eat it with yummy marmalade. 

★ no fat

Nothing contains fat in America. At least the packages say so. One time we went to the supermarket and I looked at yogurts (David likes yogurt, he eats it with his lunch by the way, not as a dessert or snack). Every single yogurt said "no fat". There was NO normal yogurt. I mean, you get non-fat yogurt in Germany too but that's the exception, not the standard. In America you don't even have a choice. Everything is non-fat and non-taste. Let's be honest, Fett ist ein Geschmacksträger, fat is a flavor-carrier. The fact that the food is fat-free might look healthy. But isn't it a little weird that all the yogurts contain lots of sugar instead? But it seems like people fall for it.

★ everything German is Bavarian

That's another weird thing for me to see. It seems like Americans love everything from Bavaria. Yeah, Bavaria is a great state! I love it. But not every German food comes from Bavaria. I mean, in Germany you don't buy "bayrisches Sauerkraut", you just buy Sauerkraut because it's a German thing and not a Bavarian thing. But I guess it sells better in America when it says that it's from Bavaria. It's a good advertising strategy.....but for Germans in America it's weird to see that all German food is Bavarian food. 

Do you like German food? What's your favorite food from your country?
Have a wonderful day!

PS: You can find more here:

America vs. Germany Part I
America vs. Germany Part II
Mein Baby gehoert zu mir, ist das klar?
Shoes from hell.
America vs. Germany Part III
America vs. Germany Part IV.1
America vs. Germany Part IV.2
America vs. Germany Part V


  1. Ha, I love this! I experienced this all in the same way as you are now! So funny! Love it! xxx

    1. Haha, I am so glad that you experienced it the same way! I always think that I am the only one who feels like that...that I am weird or something like that! Thank you, Chrissy! Hugs!

  2. "Nothing contains fat in America. At least the packages say so."

    I cracked up when I read this. It's true - how do we REALLY know if it doesn't contain any fat? We don't.

    I've had chips with my lunch since I was a kid. It's a hard habit to break, but I've stopped doing it as an adult. Instead, I bring veggies or nothing at all.

    I find that waiters/waitresses always ask if I want coffee after a meal, but I rarely say yes - especially for lunch. Usually, I'm on the go and will grab one at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks if I want it.

    There are a lot of bakeries were I live, so maybe I'm just lucky ;)

    1. Haha, no, nobody knows that. It's so stupid.
      Maybe I go to the wrong restaurants! Nobody ever asked me if i want a coffee! And here are no bakeries! :( I am not so lucky!

  3. Your observations about American food are pretty true and funny to read. I love German food, particularly the brats. I do agree that alcohol is good for digestion but the last thing I want to do when I'm stuffed full is put more stuff in my stomach

    1. Glad you enjoyed it!
      You always need to leave some space for dessert or alcohol. :)

  4. I never thought having chips with lunch was weird! Love that I will now think of you when I have them...:)

    1. Haha, poor Kari, I will always haunt you from now on! :D Hugs!

  5. I do have to say one of the places America fails in is food. Way too much convenience food and too big of servings.

    1. Agreed. America has a lot to offer but I prefer to eat in Europe. :)

  6. This is a great post! My grandparent's live in Germany and I always love going grocery shopping there when I can... but there are a few things in Germany that I thought were weird at first, but now I love. (Also I'm Canadian not American) 1) deli meats and cheese for breakfast. 2) mayonnaise with my french fries 3) sparkling water served automatically at restaurants. Now all three things are staples for me. Thanks for sharing! ~Stephanie

    1. Thank you so much! Where do your grandparents live?
      It is so funny that these things are weird for you because they are so completely normal in Germany. :)) I miss my typical German breakfast here! :) I don't like mayonnaise but it's normal for me to see people eat it with fries. And I would prefer to get sparkling water at restaurants! :)

  7. Found you thru BBN! Great blog!

    1. Thank you, Leslie! Your blog is gorgeous!

  8. hahahahahaha I will never get enough of these. I should start a series but you are way more observant than I. I posted a longer comment earlier but I wasn't logged in and it didn't save and anyway...

    I think the weirdest thing to me about eating here is that lunch is the big warm meal and dinner is sandwiches and cold stuff.

    1. Glad you like my posts, Alex! You should definitely start a series, I would love to read about this from an American perspective!!
      So sad that your comment got lost! :(
      Haha, yeah, Abendbrot is awesome! It's weird that nobody does that here in America! :)

  9. haha this is so funny! Ive been to germany once because my uncle is from there but i never stop to think about these things! The real cheese thing is true why would you use fake cheese, and what is that?!

    1. That's cool! Where does your uncle live? There is a thing called "analog cheese" in Germany so maybe that exists in America too. I am not sure. It is just weird that every product that contains cheese says in huge letters that it is "real cheese". :)

  10. Hallo Katrin,

    "real cheese", haha. I never actually paid attention to that. But I would have guessed that there is as much Analog-Käse available in American grocery stores as it is in Germany.

    I totally agree on the coffee after lunch/dinner. I love to have a coffee after a good meal. And if I am stuffed I really like a Kräuter-Likör as well. Not if I am driving of course.

    I guess everything that is slightly German is labelled as being from Bavaria because most Americans only know Bavaria. Germany = Bavaria. That was something I was very frustrated about when I lived in the States. Everyone asked me if I was from Bavaria. People just have their stereotypes in mind. I think there is nothing you can really do about it.

    P.S. Heute ist Sommeranfang und wir haben gerade ein tolles Hitzegewitter.

    1. Hallo Chrissy!
      I see that "real cheese" sign all the time, it's so weird! I am sure they have Analog-Käse here too but it's so strange that every cheese product tells you on its package that there is real cheese on it.

      For me it's a very relaxing thing to get a coffee or a Likör after dinner.

      Yeah, it's a weird stereotype that everybody thinks we wear Lederhosen and eat Weisswurst all the time. :) haha. I am sure Bavarian stuff sells better!

      PS: Oh wie toll, ich liebe Hitzegewitter! Hab ne gute Zeit! :)

  11. No real cheese? Wow, that would bother me!

    1. I think real cheese is very important in America. :)

  12. I simply love your posts! They always make me smile and remind me of things that I almost forgot about :D
    - Rudi Carrell...I remember him vividly and now this song is playing in my mind :D
    - Chips for lunch, yeah, I thought the same thing as you did. Wondering if this was just a weird liking of the people I saw eating them - until I discovered it's common to have chips as a side. I can't make up my mind if I like it or not ;)
    - Same thing about the icing on cupcakes and cakes...why so much? I don't like things when they're too sweet, I love natural food, unsweetened please ;)

    Have a wonderful day - and please keep those posts coming, they're always so much fun to read :)

    1. Beate, it means a lot to me that you enjoy my posts and that I can even make you smile. Thanks for reading! :)
      I have that song in my head too! :)
      For me chips are still a snack and not a meal. :)
      I don't know why they use that much and even enjoy it. Brrr....

  13. I am so delighted to have read your post. I have never been to US, but these days there is not really need for that. American food can be found almost everywhere. I have been to Germany, and intend to retunr to Germany this year, part of a 2 months Europe trip. So, I'll pay extra attention on how they eat over there.

    1. Thank you so much, Laura. Where have you been in Germany? A 2 months Europe trip sounds awesome! Where else will you go?

  14. Oh, I could go on and on about food...everything there has cornstarch in it, even the bread. Speaking of bread...they don't know what it is..only the over processed square things.

    I havn't been the the US in a long time but I remember I had a lot of trouble eating there, and gained a lot of weight in 3 weeks.

    PS British fish and chips are fish and thick cut potatoes (like Belgian fries)

    1. Yeah, I miss my German bread! And I have gained weight here too. I don't even know why. :)
      Thanks for explaining, I never had fish and chips (obviously :)).

  15. Ach ich liebe diese Posts einfach!
    Brezeln und Bäckereien würde ich so unglaublich vermissen... Und wie ich in den Kommentaren gelesen habe, ist Mayo zu Pommes untypisch - ich liebe Mayo! :)
    Das mit den Chips habe ich noch nie gehört, finde ich auch eher befremdlich als Beilage.

    1. Dank Dir, das ist so lieb! :))
      Hier gibt's eigentlich immer Ketchup zu Pommes, Mayo wird auf nem Burger gegessen. Ich esse immer Pommes mit Senf, das ist wahrscheinlich auch komisch.

  16. This was so interesting to read!
    I would LOVE to visit a German bakery, especially after reading your description. :) You make it sound delightful! and the idea of making 'going out to dinner' a chance to leisurely enjoy company (with coffee) sounds incredible. I WISH we did that here in the USA!

    1. I am glad you liked it, Anna!
      German bakeries are really awesome, they have huge selection of delicious things.
      It is really weird because I am used to stay in restaurants for hours but here you eat, get up and leave. :)

  17. haha this is soo funny!! yes we in America like things fake unfortunately. that is why when i go to europe everything tastes so god because it is fresh and there are hardly any preservatives.

  18. Thank you, I am glad you like it! I really prefer fresh food over processed food. So much better!

  19. Oh ich hoffe, du kannst mal nach Seattle oder Portland fahren- Baeckereien sind hier grad total im kommen! In Seattle gibt es eine ganze Menge kleiner, unabhaengiger Baeckereien, wo man am Sonntag Morgen einen Kaffee und ein Croissant essen kann... Nicht so viele wie in Deutschland, aber in den verschiedenen Stadtteilen findet man die schon. Und Seattle ist auch die Stadt des Kaffees, wo man an jeder Ecke ein Starbucks findet aber auch in Restaurants jede Menge an Auswahl hat. Ich hab ganz zu Anfang zu meiner Zeit hier in einer Restaurant gearbeitet und mich total gewundert dass es Leute gibt, die den ganzen Morgen und Tag lang nur Kaffee und Kaffee und mehr Kaffee trinken. Ohne Witz- 7 Tassen in 1 Stunde oder so. Brrr.

    Wenn mich nach 5 Jahren jemand nach grundlegenden Unterschieden zwischen den USA und Deutschland fragt ist meine Antwort immer: Banken (Papier Checks?), Zuege (sooooo langsam und so wenige!) und die bloeden Messeinheiten. Echt- wer teilt denn Sachen durch 12 bitte. :)

    Hoffe, du hast ein schoenes Wochenende!

    Liebe Gruesse

    1. Ne tolle deutsche Baeckerei in der Nachbarschaft, das waere wirklich super! Ich hab beschlossen mich jetzt selbst als Baeckerin zu probieren. Mal sehen was da draus wird. Haha. Ich hab allerdings gelesen, dass es so ne Stunde entfernt ein German Village gibt, da werd ich mich demnaechst mal umsehen.
      Wow, 7 Tassen in ner Stunde waere selbst mir zu viel!

      Ja, ich kann Dir nur zustimmen. Das mit den Banken versteh ich auch nicht. Papier Schecks? Kommt mir ein bisschen veraltet vor, aber okay. Ueberweisungen kennen die hier nicht wirklich, oder?

      Wuensch Dir ein tolles Wochenende!

  20. I do use the pre-packaged baking stuff lately because my husband doesn't like sweets and they put those things on sale a lot more often (so I'm not as bummed if it doesn't get eaten). However, it cracks me up that so many can't cook without it. I have seen people complain about certain mixes going up in price and it baffles me that they don't realize the mix is the same as about three ingredients they can buy separately for cheaper. The reason the companies advertise real cheese is that so much of what Americans eat is actually 'cheese product' rather than real cheese. Good observation on the 'no fat' thing; they do replace it with sugar or other things that make it no healthier.

    1. Yeah, I don't know. I mean, for me baking or cooking is not really about opening a package. I am not a big fan of all these mixes. They always have some weird ingredients and I want to know what I eat.
      "Cheese product", that's interesting. Never heard about that!
      And I really don't understand why people don't get the "no fat" thing. It's not healthy at all!

  21. I used to love fish and chips (french fries)! Potato chips are for picnics or pigging out on the couch, not lunch. I pack fruit or veggies, something like that.

    My mom was a big "from scratch" baker so I understand the convenience of mixes, but they never taste "right" to me.

    I wish more people understood that just because something is "nonfat" doesn't mean it's healthy!

    They do kind of rush you out of restaurants. I feel guilty for wanting to order dessert and coffee and linger on, they act like they can't wait for you to leave!

    1. We really have a lot in common, Martha! :)
      Some people really know nothing about food. :) It is hilarious!
      Yeah, I always feel the same in restaurants, it is so stupid. In Germany you at least spend 2 hours at your table!

  22. hey Katrin!

    Das ist wirklich sehr interessant! ich liebte diesen artikel!

    Some one I know, went to Germany for some work. He told us later that he was fined for leaving leftovers in his plate at a restaurant in Berlin! Food wastage can never be good but sadly, people just do not bother.
    I have read somewhere that Germans are very fond of various types of breads and soups. I really want to visit Germany atleast once!!

    1. Glad you like it, Ankita! And your German is perfect! :)

      I am not so sure about your friend's story. I mean, it is not legal to be fined for something like that. You can leave as many leftovers as you want but I always make sure to not get more than I can eat because I don't want to waste food!

      I hope you can visit Germany! The bread is definitely the best!

      Have a great weekend!

  23. Havent you learned ANYTHING about america?? You have to understand: IT IS ALL ABOUT MONEY. And money kills culture. So. . . america was never able to 'grow' a culture, like Germany/Europe. Why is it all about money, because it is basically a jewish company . . . sorry country. ;) Germans and Jews represent the two basic 'life views' in the world, and are thus diametrically opposed. I could explain more, but I would have to write a book about it. . . and I would be labeled an 'anti-semite' (even tho they arent semites). God its exhausting trying to counter the propaganda and educate the world. But I will never give up. :) Peace. FreedomFighter

  24. I just ate german food for the first time yesterday. To say that I love it would be an understatement. Im totally fanatical about german food now and I dont want to eat anything else! Everything else, american or hispanic tastes booring compared to the amazing german flavor! I want to marry a German man and have frequent hot monkey sex if he will cook german food for me daily. Once I learn to cook it myself perfectly then we get divorced lol


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