Although we’ve been able to generally maintain our American-style eating habits with the macaroni and cheese and Ranch dressing that we air-freighted over here, the reality is those things won’t last forever. So we have been slowly figuring out how to eat here. Or better, how to eat well here. Since you can’t go to the store it seems and pick up in Iowa chop and a handfull of sweet potatoes like we used to, that means tackling some of the local cuisine. Melissa has introduced some Wurst and Fleischkäse to the dinner table and we sure like the rolls down at the local bakery.
But Flammkuchen (litterally, “flame cake”) is the family favorite right now. It’s sort of like an thin crisy pizza, except it has a special white sauce. The sauce is a mixture of sour cream, quark ( a unique German item, basically tastes like sour cream), and creme fraiche (which also tastes alot like sour cream). You stir them together into a mixture that continues to pretty much tastes like (suprise!) sour cream, and then spread it over a flammkuchen crust like you would pizza sauce. The typical flammkuchen is then topped with diced ham and onion. You can of course experiment with different toppings…Melissa’s favorite is a Margherita variety with tomato, basil and little bit of mozarella and gorgonzola. Its really good.
We washed it down tonight with a local specialty, Neuer Wein. We were driving back to Neustadt today and saw a few stands on the side of the road with “Neuer Wein” signs on the road. Its like an Iowa sweet corn stand except with less corn and more wine. I stopped in one and asked the lady manning the station what exactly Neuer Wein (“new wine”) was. I understand about 20% of the German I hear, but gathered from her it was the early fruits of this years grape harvest – grape juice just before or, if you like, just after it has begun to ferment. We picked up two varieties, one that was just grape juice (ok for the kids) and the other that had already begun to ferment for Mom and Dad. And the nice things is you can use the jugs for your lawn mower later. So we’ve got that going for us. The thing is, I don’t think most Germans sit around eating flammkuchen and drinking wine all night long, and neither can we…so after a month here of a diet that would make Man v. Food’s Adam Richman blush, we both recognize we need to figure out how to start eating healthy. Some of our favorite staples are hard to find here (I had to work hard to find some sweet potatoes – found exactly four of them at the down town farmers market last Saturday – and we still haven’t spotted a butternut squash). But in general the fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats fare is excellent. And although its been nice to take a few weeks off from the exercise regimen,tomorrow I think its going to be time to for me to welcome back the workouts with about a 150 wall balls. Thats when I’ll realize how bad 4-5 weeks without regular exercise can really hurt.