We are studying countries around the world, starting with Europe. Students drew names of countries at the beginning of the semester. For Europe I had Austria. I have actually been to Austria, once as a child while traveling from Germany to Italy. The mountain roads were scary to us as children and I recall my parents mentioning my brother getting sick in Innsbrook, Austria from the winding roads. I was also in Austria in 2005, passing through on the way to Germany from Switzerland. We stopped at a huge rest stop that looked more like a shopping mall with a giant food court. Very fancy. Although
I didn’t eat in Austria I ate plenty in Germany, much of the same type of food–Weiner Schnitzel, bratwurst, apple desserts. I ate bratwurst every day and it was delicious and much tastier than what I’ve had in the US. I order Wiener Schnitzel several times as well and enjoyed different variations and sauces. For the calss project, I learned more than I already knew about the cuisine of Austria. In summary, they have a widely varied cuisine due to influences from bordering countries such as Hungary, Germany, and Italy and from pre-WWI when Austria covered much more land than it currently does. The most familiar foods are Wiener Schnitzel, Tafelspitz (boiled beef), Sacher Torte, Linzertorte, and Apfelstrudel (apple studel) but Austria has many types of pork dishes, dumplings, goulash, and game dishes. They also eat a lot of potatoes. In fact, it seems that all the countries presented, Ireland, Holland, Sweden, England, Belgium, Germany, Yugoslavia, Northern France, Hungary, and Norway enjoy potatoes. Given that fact we were all assigned to make an individual dish using potatoes as the main ingredient.
We also were assigned tables and each table was given various dishes to prepare. We were to prepare an individual serving for presentation and then enough for all the students to taste.
Our table was assigned English Fish & Chips, Torchespop (Belgium Potato Soup), and Apple Noodle Kugel. I ended up making the soup and a potato casserole. My soup was a little thick but otherwise OK, the fish and chips was not plated very well so Chef Kurima demonstrated ways we could have improved our plating. Very big improvement just by cutting the fish into 3 pieces, stacking them, moving things around and eliminating the vinegar dish. The apple noodle kugel was tasty but a little runny, however Chef liked that we sprinkled salt on top.
At the end of class we tasted everyones’ food. Just imagine tasting 11 potato dishes, meat, desserts, soup, and all the things you see in the bottom photos at 10:00 PM! Being an enthusiastic eater myself I enjoyed many of the items and ate heartily. I even brought several things home to share with the family and had Lisa’s Weiner Schnitzel and Stephanie’s delicious potatoes au gratin the next day for lunch. Thanks Stephanie! We tasted wine after class, a very nice ending to our hard work, and it was nearly 11:00 PM when we left. I learned why I don’t make too many foods from the countries we studied–way too heavy! I am looking forward to next week when we study the foods of Asia. I hope I get to make some sushi.