That’s Typical

Photos taken in November, 2011

When we hear of a food typically associated with a country, we often ask ourselves, “Yes, but do the locals eat that? Or do they just sell it to us?” Haggis and lutefisk come to mind immediately, but I remember hearing an Irishman declare that he and his fellow citizens would sooner die than eat Irish stew. So I thought I’d take a camera to the German supermarket to answer a few basic questions.

Do Germans eat pretzels? Yes, they do: big soft pretzels, tiny hard pretzels, and pretzels dipped in chocolate. On a recent Lufthansa flight, I was disappointed to receive a soft pretzel as a snack until I realized it was filled with real butter (17%). That was a pretzel I could appreciate!

Photo taken in November, 2011

Do Germans eat gummy bears? Oh, yes. Invented in 1922, gummy bears are the M&M’s of Germany. Germans of every age and class tuck them into lunch bags and hide them in desk drawers. You’ll find them for sale wherever candy is sold. As the photo shows, Haribo makes an astounding array of other gelatin candies, and so does Trolli, their leading competitor. Between the two, they take up half an aisle.

Photo taken in November, 2011

Do Germans eat wurst (sausage, hotdogs, brats)? Yes.

Photo taken in November, 2011

And yes.

Photos taken in November, 2011

And yes. My husband declares that this bacon-wrapped, cheese-filled wurst may just be nature’s most perfect food.

Still, there are some grim statistics wrapped up in that decorative slice of bacon. According to the most recent statistics I could find (2006-7), heart disease is responsible for almost half of all deaths in Germany. In fact, in this gloomy category, Germany has us beat: 224 deaths per 100,000 over America’s 199 deaths per 100,000.

That’s a good reason to leave the bacon, cheese, and wurst on the shelf.

To read my latest blog posts, please click on the “Green and Pleasant Land” logo at the top of this page. Photos taken in November, 2011, at the Globus supermarket in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Text and photos copyright 2011 by Clare B. Dunkle.

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