Saturday, June 13, 2009

Is Bread a Meal? No, Bread is not a Meal!

This blog post is part of World Blog Surf Day, a day when expat bloggers around the world write about one topic and then link their blogs to each other. The topic this WBSD is food. Since I live in Germany there is basically only one thing I can write about: Bread.

Yes, it is almost a cliche how much Germans love their bread. The stuff is pretty good, with so much variety; from dark, moist and molasses-y nut covered loaves to crusty beer bread to white (but still heavy)"Land" bread. Most of the bread is not pre-cut of course (this would be close to sin)and I've never been very good at cutting it myself. My husband always laughs at my slices, which are invariably thick on the top and thin on the bottom or the other way around. Still, I am better than my sister. She recently came for a visit and usually only managed to cut off a wedge of crust which somehow made me feel better about my bread cutting deficiencies....


Anyway, the only problem that I sometimes have is that Germans are convinced that bread itself is a meal. I'm not talking a nice sandwich with some potato salad on the side, I'm talking several slices of bread with a thin wedge of cheese on top. My husband often wants this for dinner (one of the words for dinner in German is Abendbrot, literally evening bread...)but I always end up feeling unsatisfied in the end, not to mention slightly bloated. But then, if we ate something else for dinner we might be eating two warm meals a day which is itself a cardinal sin as well a story to be told at another time...

When trying to remind my toddler of something she shouldn't do, I often first ask her a question which we then answer together: Is baby a chair? No, baby is not a chair. Is the trash can a toy? No, the trash can is not a toy. Hey, Germans! Is bread a meal? No, bread is not a meal. The problem is, no one here would ever believe me....


Support WBSD! Here is a link to Romancing Italy where you can read an interesting feature from an expat on a restaurant in Italy. A special thanks also to Anastasia Ashman who is tweeting about it at Thandelike. Anastasia is an American cultural producer based in Istanbul and is the creator of Expat Harem, the anthology by foreign women about modern Turkey.

14 comments:

Oscar said...

Meow, my Mommy is German and she says bread IS a meal.But Daddy is the same like your hubby, every time she suggests 'Abendbrot' for diner, she gets THE LOOK from him. Meow! I do like bread, but only when it is fresh, and not too much, but Mommy says she can live of it!
Oscar, the Expat Cat

Ivanhoe said...

Being Czech that grew up right next door to Germany, I totally understand the bread thing. Yup, sorry to say, bread is a meal :o)

Sher said...

Hi Schaufenster,
Yes...even for this American, bread can definitely be a meal! No problems about this!! And good thing as my Czech husband also asks for this sometimes, rather than eating a big meal. We bring out the cheese and butter...I usually bake my own bread or eat rice cakes...and he has huge slabs of wonderful, crusty bread...I'm so hungry!!!

Have a great day!
Sher :0)

Camille said...

One more vote for bread as a meal. I lived in Berlin for 8 years, during the 8tees, in Kreuzberg and Schoeneberg. Great foods to be had.
Had my first Thai food experiences in West berlin, the country I live now in since 10 years, also with two young kids.

Would love to swap links with you and when I have a bit more time I will check out your blog a bit more!

cocreatr said...

Bread can be a meal, for me often is, together with fruit.

When I (German) moved to Japan, I was appalled at the white wheatish mush they bake up as "bread" here. And for sandwiches, they even cut off the brown crust. I was quick to adopt a colleague's name for it, "hatto-pan" literally pigeon-bread, shaming well-meaning hosts with the remark that in Germany, such bread is not for human consumption but sold in parks to feed the pigeons. After such remarks, we got served the much more pleasing Japanese meals.
As for bread, we import German flour, mix with Japanese and have decent and fresh, sugar-free "black bread" from the home bakery.

Leigh said...

This had me laughing the whole way through, especially the part about your bread cutting deficiency.

So funny and yet so very symbolic of what it's like to be an expat.

Of course, now I'd love a piece of that molasses bread with a good strong coffee. Mmmmmm.

Emmanuelle Archer said...

Schaufenster, your blog has the best pictures!

I too am a bread lover and when I get my hands on a heavy loaf of good, dense European-style bread, you can bet that I will turn it into a meal! I completely understand not finding a meal of bread totally satisfying or easy to digest, though.

Oh, and I cannot slice bread straight to save my life, so you are not alone!

Emmanuelle

Corinne said...

I love German bread, bakeries, mmmm mmm good. I was just in Kaiserslautern for the weekend, and my first priority was to have a salami brotchen. I know, wierd, but oh are they delicious! Thanks for the great post. Corinne

Yazar said...

I agree, bread is not a meal. It can be a snack but not a meal! Turks eat it with every meal. I've seen my DH eat half a loaf of bread with a plate of pasta and sauce, seems like carb overload to me!

Schaufensterbabe said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. Whether or not you see bread as a meal unto itself really seems to be a question of how you were raised (or if you bake it yourself) which makes sense. The bread here is so delicious and I will surely eat it as a meal since I'm married to a German. I just hope I can get us down to once a week because cooking a separate meal only for myself is truly a bitch. ;)

Jen said...

Hi Rebeccah,

What a cool coincidence that we were both doing the World Blog Surf Day thing!

I enjoyed your post, the German bread looks great, but it sounds like total overkill to me too.

Yazar is right that the Turks love bread as well, but I think it's just a subset of loving carbs in general. Meals in the cafeteria at the newspaper where I work have been known to include rice, french fries, *and* pasta. Plus bread, of course!

P.S. Your photos look great and your kids are darling. Keep in touch.

Schaufensterbabe said...

Thanks Jen! I'm going to link to your blog under my expat blog list.

Janet said...

I love bread too! Just a slice will do me fine though with a big cup of stew/beef and potatoes (I still need to try Renee's beef bourgenaue-spelling?)-yum!

Schaufensterbabe said...

You should try the recipe. It is super delicious. Better yet, you and Renee should have a cooking party! :)

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