German food part 1: hot German potato salad

German food, Germany, German beer, knockwurst, spaetzle, spaetzle dumplings, german dumplings, potato salad, german potato salad, spicy potato salad, vinegar, celery seed

I dont know much about German food (or German culture in general), and what I do know is limited mostly to stereotypes:

Epcot didn't teach me much

But I'm always open to trying new foods, so when I was at Disney we ate at Biergarten. The food was exciting, the people were nice, and the music was lively! So when Ken and I were deciding what cuisine to tackle next, I thought, "why not German?"

This proved a little more difficult than we imagined, and while I'm fairly certain our methods were as unauthentic as you can get while still calling it German food, I think it turned out well!

German food, Germany, German beer, knockwurst, spaetzle, spaetzle dumplings, german dumplings, potato salad, german potato salad, spicy potato salad, vinegar, celery seed

 

On our menu we had:

  • hot German potato salad
  • Spaetzle dumplings
  • Knockwurst
  • and of course, beer

 

I knew right away I wanted to make spaetzle. When I had it at Biergarten, I was blown away by how tasty it was, even though I didn't know what was in it. Making it at home was a bit of an adventure, because the recipe we used called for a spaetzle maker, which obviously I don't have. So we had to get a little creative. 🙂

Constructing the rest of the menu was a challenge, because German food apparently consists mostly of side dishes. After searching for recipes for days, we gave up on trying to find a big main dish and instead chose to make a spicy potato salad, and fry up some sausages to round out the meal.

Hot German potato salad

From my mom's ancient Betty Crocker cookbook (I'll post the info later)

German food, Germany, German beer, knockwurst, spaetzle, spaetzle dumplings, german dumplings, potato salad, german potato salad, spicy potato salad, vinegar, celery seed

I will preface this by saying we messed this recipe up a few times and changed a couple of things, and it still came out really really well. You bite into it and it has such a strong, distinctly German kick to it. Yum!

You will need:

German food, Germany, German beer, knockwurst, spaetzle, spaetzle dumplings, german dumplings, potato salad, german potato salad, spicy potato salad, vinegar, celery seed

  • 3 pounds potatoes (about 9 medium)*
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vinegar

*When I was cleaning the potatoes I realized just how big this recipe was, so we halved everything but the bacon 🙂

The first thing you want to do is wash the potatoes, then pare them and remove the eyes. I was too lazy to look up the word pare, and assumed it meant slice thinly.

This is incorrect. Why Betty Crocker didn't just say peel the damn potatoes, I'll never know. So whether you peel them or slice them, throw them in a pot of boiling (salted) water, cover it, and cook them. If you chopped them nice and thin, it should only take 15 or so minutes, but if they are peeled and still in potato form, you'll have to cook for 30-35 minutes. When they're done, drain them and set aside.

Fry your delicious bacon until crispy (you're going to crumble it, so the crispier it is the easier it will be), and set aside. Don't throw out the bacon grease!

German food, Germany, German beer, knockwurst, spaetzle, spaetzle dumplings, german dumplings, potato salad, german potato salad, spicy potato salad, vinegar, celery seed

Cook the chopped onion in the leftover grease (yum!!!), until tender and golden brown. Add the flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, and pepper, stirring over low heat until bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar and water, then put it back on the heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute.

Crumble your bacon, and if you haven't already, go ahead and slice your potatoes. Carefully stir them both into the hot mixture, and serve!

German food, Germany, German beer, knockwurst, spaetzle, spaetzle dumplings, german dumplings, potato salad, german potato salad, spicy potato salad, vinegar, celery seed

This was surprisingly tasty! We overcooked the potatoes a little, and you can see in the picture that the skin was still on them, which was not the most pleasant thing to eat. But all in all I would say these were really good. It tasted just like the food I ate in Epcot's Germany, and it went perfectly with a nice cold beer!

German food, Germany, German beer, knockwurst, spaetzle, spaetzle dumplings, german dumplings, potato salad, german potato salad, spicy potato salad, vinegar, celery seed

As my father would say, Shlitz! 

(Part 2 coming soon)

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