Jan. 11th, 2010

danika_ni_sidhe: (Default)
I love the Food Network Show "The Best Thing I Ever Ate..." Every week they take a topic like "The Best Fried Food I Ever Ate..." or "The Best Hometown Favorite I Ever Ate..." and they talk to the Food Network chefs/personalities. Not only do they describe it, but they actually tell you where you can get it.

It made me think.

Now, I wouldn't call myself a foodie; I'm not passionate enough about food to be one but living with Bruce has taught me to love food as more than just fuel for the Stephanie. Looking back on my life, as I am wont to do, I have noticed that most of my positive memories involved food, one way or another. As anyone who is around me for more than five minutes knows, I lived in Germany for about eight years, all told. I grew up drinking Evian (because the tap water gave Mom bladder infections), eating German/Belgian/English chocolates and all around enjoying the different foods of Europe. Barring the odd trip to Lawrence to visit Au Marche or to Westport for the World Market, I don't get much of the foods I grew up loving. I have two dishes from my years in high school that pretty much sum up my food experiences living there:
1. Un sandwich de jambon blanc in Strasbourg, France.
2. Jaegerschnitzel.

I can make a white ham sandwich here, at least. Take good bread (fresh and French), butter it (real butter, s'il vous plait!) and put a fresh dill pickle and ham thickly cut off the bone. Magnifique. I had it with a lemonade, which in Europe is akin to our 7-Up but with more lemon flavor.

I despaired of ever tasting Jaegerschnitzel again as all the recipes I found didn't look quite right. And then, when visiting my parents in May, I talked them into taking the family to Edelweiss, a German chain restaurant in Colorado Springs. It had all the stereotypical German ornamentation and polka music. Now, everything was authentic but it was still all lacy curtains and edelweiss. Not all of Germany is alpine, don't you know? I was a little skeptical but they passed my first test.

They had Spezi, that wonderful fizzy blend of German recipe Coke and orange juice. We can get Mezzo Mix at Au Marche, but that's got Fanta Orange and Lemon in it. Not quite the same thing at all... I almost cried.

The second test: they had shredded celery hearts and red beans with that tart-sweet vinegarette as a salad.

And the final test: I braced myself and ordered their Jaegerschnitzel.

It tasted just like my memories of it.

I sat there quietly, feeling not unlike the scene in Ratatouille when the title character serves ratatouille to a crotchety old food critic. He takes the first bite and is immediately transformed back to his childhood, when he had taken a bad spill off his bike and he came home, ragged and teary-eyed. His mother smiled, patted him on the head and served him his lunch.

I hope it's not another 12 years before I can get it again... knock wood, I'll get to go to Heidelberg, Germany next year for my high school reunion.

As a mildly irrelevant aside, for those of you who haven't seen one in person, I think edelweiss is the ugliest flower ever.



Ugh.

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danika_ni_sidhe

June 2010

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