Germany’s Greatest Gift To The World

As a European transplant to America, I am often asked if I miss my native country. First and foremost, I miss my Dad, his significant other, the rest of my family, and my friends. Staying connected via the Internet or the occasional phone call can, in no way, replace cherished face-to-face time, which happens all too seldom, but at least a connection remains. This was commonly not the case for earlier emigrants who, once they stepped on board the ship that would steam across the Atlantic, were never heard of again. Furthermore, I miss certain places and traditions that have imprinted themselves on my psyche and are associated with an aching sense of nostalgia.

On a lighter note, when we met, my future husband used to tease me about not really being German by birth, as I neither ate meat, nor drank beer, wine, or coffee. He always claimed that I must have been an import. So when American friends wax lyrical about German cuisine and German hops, I can only roll my eyes. I no longer yearn for the typical meals of my childhood, centered around a slab of meat, accompanied by a potato variation, and served with an overcooked, tasteless vegetable slathered in a Fondor-based white sauce (my apologies to all lovers of said dishes).

What I long for instead is German bread. Oval, round, square, or rectangular loaves (not to forget Brötchen). Baked with wheat, buckwheat, rye, barley, spelt, or oat flower. Topped or filled with sunflower, pumpkin, millet, poppy, or flax seeds. With a crunchy crust and a firm yet fluffy core that can neither be lumped into a ball, nor tastes of molasses, or some other sweetener (my apologies to all lovers of American bread). If this sounds like a nightmare for sufferers of gluten-sensitivity, it is a dream for someone who will never embrace a low-carb diet.

Given this somewhat lengthy introduction, it is perhaps relatable that one of my first errands upon my arrival in Frankfurt is a detour to one of the various airport bakeries, followed by many similar errands to similar establishments throughout my sojourn in Germany, be they venerable old-time, locally-owned businesses (those are the best!), supermarket-affiliated chains, or pretzel kiosks at train stations, or in downtown pedestrian zones.

The inimitable, irresistible aroma of freshly baked goods wafting out of a bakery, and the sight of shelves weighed down with myriad shapes and sizes and shades of bread are, for me, the surest signs that I am back in the old country.

Alas, at present, I have to content myself with visual, olfactory, and gustatory fantasies, until our travel plans come to fruition.

Click here for the German version/bitte hier für die deutsche Version klicken:…henk-an-die-welt/

57 thoughts on “Germany’s Greatest Gift To The World

  1. Ja, das deutsche Brot würde ich auch überall vermissen und das ist eins der Dinge auf die ich mich am meisten freue, wenn wir von irgendwo wieder nach hause kommen. Ich kann das supergut verstehen!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My other German friend (also named Tanja!) was quick to respond when I asked about what she misses most being in Texas: the bread. And for the reasons you so perfectly describe.

    I will pass this post along to her. Perhaps you will meet when you visit in April. *wink wink*

    Wonderful post and scrumptious photos! It reminds me of winter, what I deem to be the season of warm, crunchy-soft breads here in Texas (my household anyway). After all, what goes better with a warm soup or saucy dish? A vegan brats and sauerkraut? (Not the floppy sandwich stuff, I’ll tell ya!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Shannon. I am not surprised by my shared passion for German baked goods. And I can imagine that your homemade bread also creates a wonderful aroma and sense of yum. You probably have to bake several at once, and even then, they probably disappear with lightning speed!


      • What you refer to as ‘your homemade bread’ comes from the grocery bakery! They do it so well at a good cost .. all I do is warm it to crisp up the crust (and get that smell!) and voila. All done. Then they do magically disappear.

        My daughters are dying to bake homemade, but lately, I haven’t the extra time. Perhaps over the holidays. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with you about breads and rolls. When they are good, they are among the best things to eat. In my area, a suburb in which I’ve lived since 2005, I’ve found very, very few places that sell hearty, flavorful, substantial breads or rolls. Usually what they sell is soft and low on flavor!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you share my love for baked goods, Neil. I can imagine that there might be a few German/European bakeries in Philadelphia, and one might find a greater variety there. I am actually lucky in that there is one German bakery here in town, so that I can at least get a semblance of German bread on a regular basis. Yet, somehow, it is still not quite the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting and relatable, Tanja. I’ve heard so much about German bakery. Bakery is not very popular in Nepal (my birth country) so I never have been a huge fan, but several years in Europe have made me appreciate some of the fine bakery here. In Poland there’s a wide selection of breads too and I do have some favorites.
    You’re really right about it being so much easier after internet to connect at least on some level with folks back home! I cannot imagine how much harder it was in the old times to move away from your home forever and never be connected to the country or people back there again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Pooja, and welcome back. I have never been to Poland, but can imagine that I would be happy with the bread variety there. I think European countries tend to be more rooted in cereals, rather than in rice, like many Asian countries. Though, come to think of it, one of my favorite breads is naan. 😊
      Thank goodness for the internet for all us emigrants!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I do understand your longing.
    When I do/did eat bread, it HAD to be rye sourdough or breads with character. Too bad about the after-effects of gluten intolerance. Now I get a very bad reaction, especially in the last 7-8 years, but I love my German rye sourdough still to this day.

    When I was a teenager, apart from being a good home cook and growing most of our fruit and vegetables, my Mother used to bake wonderful breads with all different flours, nuts, seeds and whatever. Alas it was a phase, but I certainly remember the breads my Mother bought were always full of texture and flavour anyway.

    We were a rare breed of Aussie families who rarely ate white bread, chops and 3 vegetables, like everyone we knew in the 50s and 60s. We ate mushrooms, capsicums, eggplants and other Mediterranean flavours like the European migrants back in those days.

    The rare times I’ve eaten white sliced supermarket bread, not only do I feel sick at the sight of that bleached-looking doughy lump of rubbish, my blood sugar soars very high and I literally feel quite nauseous. Must be an awful lot of sugar in that bread.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your detailed comment, Vicki. I would be very sad if I developed gluten sensitivity all of a sudden, and I am sorry you have to deal with it. At least there are many alternatives available nowadays, which was not the case for the longest time!

      Your mother’s breads sound absolutely delicious, and I am glad that you still relish your memories. Your family’s diet seems very progressive, and I know that you continue to eat healthfully. Your balcony garden provides you with such gorgeous, appetizing produce.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Bread is something it’s always difficult to adapt to when going to different countries. Many places bread is simply a disaster if you are used to “real” bread. So even if I am not German myself, I do understand your craving.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I am literally drooling just looking at your pictures, Tanja. I love bread! Good bread. And yes, the year I spent in Germany is forever marked in my memory as “bread heaven”. Thank goodness, we find good bread in Abu Dhabi. Not plentiful, but still good. Nowadays, when I go to South Africa, I am disgusted by the bread. Overly sweet and tasteless mostly, unless you are lucky enough to find a little artisan bakery.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have heard about the German Bread and it’s fabled aroma or delicacy. If I am not mistaken, every region or city of Germany must be having some unique variant of German bread. Can you tell me the local and traditional German bread variants to look for in Munich?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think there are regional differences, but since I haven’t visited all of Germany, I am not qualified to talk about them. Some of the basic variants seem to be universal, such as wheat or rye bread, but then there are countless variations with added seeded seeds and nuts, etc. I think it’s best to walk into a bakery and try different baked goods that appeal to you (I hope you don’t have gluten sensitivity!).

      Liked by 1 person

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