Gruenkohl Night


A January tradition has been building among our friends. Almost without exception the Germans I surround myself with are foreigners too. Northern Germans living in the South can be best imagined as Yankees living in Texas or Tennessee: Two peoples bound by government, speaking different languages and having nothing much more in common. I find comfort in the fact that Oliver’s sister, newly moved from Berlin, has just as much trouble understanding the local butcher as I would.

Might as well be Albanian.

Eating fatty heavy meats, stewed in kale for days and served with potatoes and mustard is a Northern German tradition. The only way to get through the meal is to take regular breaks where you down a shot of corn liquor, cheap stuff that leaves a hefty burning sensation. It cuts through the fat and helps the residue get to your stomach and then helps your gut digest it.

Beer quenches the thirst, but the cheap booze makes it possible to eat this stuff at all. Even the smell of the kale stewing is impressive. It invaids your nostrils and takes over, setting up camp, not letting you smell anything else for days. But that may be the fact that it enters your pores and coats every surface. This is a dish best made at a friend’s house.

Luckily our friend Nina has a larger kitchen and happily hosts this dinner party every year. I collected visual evidence of this evening to share with the curious.

Oliver found a butcher on the internet who has discovered a niche market in pre-packaged Gruenkohl dinners for the homesick displaced northerners. So instead of stewing for days, it was heat and serve.

Being a cheating vegetarian who, thanks to a food poisoning incident last year, is unable to eat even the gruenkohl, I passed the night dining on endless amounts if sushi and, in order to keep up with the Joneses, washed it down with sake…

Naturally horrible things happened that were blamed on excessive drinking and the kind of behavior it inspires, such photos and information have been censored to protect the innocent and those still on trial.

The link is here.


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