And Gutenberg Lived Here: Bread Rage

Germans have a thing about bread.

And proud they are of the fact.

365 kinds of bread,

so goes the advertisement,

one for each day.

Every corner has a small bakery.

Our little village has four.

And they all survive.

Hard rolls for breakfast, usually with cheese or luncheon meat.

Ten o’clock “snail noodles” (cinnamon rolls) to quote one of my favorite shows here “Adelheid and her murderers.”

Twelve o’clock thickened soups, or vegetables in white sauce.

Then four o’clock is heavy pastry time-

and here they really bring out the big guns:

crumb cake with vanilla pudding-

black forest cake with heavy cream on the side and butter cream in the middle.

Even at funerals you get served cake-

yeast braid with rock salt-   to show the seriousness of the situation.

And for supper-

two slices of bread.


(hint:  for a healthy long life here, don’t ever serve a German avocado with fresh lemon and chili spices for supper)

(My Harold is the exception- but hey, once, in Canada, he ate alligator McNuggets.)

The typical German, however, is just that: typical.

And the funniest thing, for me, is that most Germans can’t even begin to understand that there can be a culture without a continuous flow of bread.

The fact that I once smeared a piece of hard cheese with berry jam, rolled it up and ate it, nearly got me kicked out by The Mother-In-Law for being undisciplined-

one piece of bread, butter, one piece of cheese, if you please, and don’t even THINK about tea instead of coffee.

(we drag our tea back from Tescos in London-and if you want a laugh some time, try to take 1280 tea bags through customs.)

The thing is, that bread is so much a part of the fabric of this wheat, rye, spelt based whole-grain six-grain evening protein bread culture, that they take our lawless lack of bread in America as a sign of everything they dislike about us.

A discussion that starts with “Oh, you’re an American, I spent a vacation, (or a half-year, or a year there )

rapidly proceeds through the mental vacation pictures of the national parks

to: “I don’t know how you all survive. The bread there is absolutely awful. That white, slimy, wiggly colorless BENDABLE stuff you crush in one hand and it doesn’t spring back- how can you all survive? Maybe that’s why you ….”

And off they go.

With every prejudice they have ever heard or read about us.

And there definitely are a lot of them.

And if you think road rage, or gas-line rage is bad…

You have to have experienced BREAD RAGE to believe it…

Panis angelicus it definitely ain’t.

4 thoughts on “And Gutenberg Lived Here: Bread Rage

  1. I was once offered a ‘traditional’ starter in a German restaurant consisting of bread, cheese and mustard.
    I expected some kind of fondue. I got a slice of bread, a piece of cheese and a small packet of mustard. Very strange !


  2. we luckily have two excellent traditional Indian restaurants here in Mainz, at least as far as I can tell, both of which serve white nan bread, is that roti chapati? baked on the side of a hot circular oven, and chick pea bread (papadam?) AND excellent vegetarian meals. We also have a chinese with real chinese food, etc. Probably because we have a very large foreign student population, and the food has to be real. My only real gripe is that the two Mexicans are not Mexican, but San Diego style with fish tacos, and south american. A famous comic here once said that for a vegetarian there are only two kinds of meals in Germany, salad with bacon flavored potatoe chips, or pork barbecue chips. As long as there are the foreign places though, I am happy. thanks for posting.


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