The whole world on your plate

Big and hearty

Big and hearty

As a result, Germans loved to eat hearty, filling meals, even after the centuries of scarce supply and famine were over. “The permanent fixture in German cuisine was always large portions,” writes Siebeck. Instead of dabbling in fine dining like their neighbours across the Rhine in France, Germans continued to swear by pork knuckle with sauerkraut, kale with sausage and hearty stews. In colonial times, the cuisine of the British Empire distinguished itself with aromatic spices that arrived from India. In the first half of the 20th century, the two world wars ensured that Germany lagged behind when it came to fine cuisine. But necessity is the mother of invention – so housewives across the country started to serve bread soup and turnips.

Brand new and inviting

In the years after the second world war, CARE packages from the USA started to introduce Germans to the exotic tastes of peanut butter and cornflakes. In 1950s, Coca Cola and tomato ketchup strengthened a longing for the “American way of life”. During the Wirtschaftswunder, people’s horizons began to broaden. Germans visited neighbouring countries including Italy and France, and became familiar with Mediterranean cooking. Cookery books such as Lilo Aureden’s 1954 classic “Was Männern so gut schmeckt” (What men love to eat) helped German housewives learn how to cook typical dishes such as Spanish lamb ragout or Hungarian goulash themselves. Legendary TV chef Clemens Wilmenrod began his career in 1953. His most famous recipe? Toast Hawaii.