First of all, credit where credit it due. Many thanks to Deanna for the title! Here is the full title: “It’s All Foreign to Me, and Foreign = Interesting.” :D
Over the last month, I have been discovering that even though Germany is a different country (big surprise there, huh?), it is really only a little bit different from what I am used to in little ol’ Missouri. Don’t get me wrong, everything is different, but only a little bit.
I have chosen to start this post series by discussing the food here because food is a part of everyday life.
In Springfield, the most easily accessible bread we bought our at Wal-Mart, Dillon’s, or Price Cutter in loaves in plastic bags. Here, we walk across the street to the bakery and pick out two or three days’ worth of rolls (“Kartoffelnwecke” or potato rolls, “Oma’s Urwecke” or Grandma’s rolls, “Milchwecke” or milk rolls) or maybe a half a loaf (read: 16 in. diameter!) of rye. The bread is amazing. It’s fresh, the texture is wonderful, and the flavor! The crust taste great and the insides are soft and yummy. We eat them for breakfast with jelly, Nutella, or meat and cheese; or we have them for dinner with brats or “hackbraten,” which is most easily described as hamburger patties of meatloaf. I take rolls to school for lunch with salami and cheese.
The other main difference is the portion size. We have been here for about six weeks, and I have lost 10 pounds. I would like to remind you that in that month, I ran regularly the first two weeks, then ran a half-marathon. We have only run irregularly since the half because Rob was having some knee pain and school started, so we had a new schedule to figure out. So, even though I haven’t been hitting the pavement like I should be, I lost weight. I wasn’t eating totally healthy, although I feel like that is easier here (more on that in a minute), but I still lost weight because I was eating less more often.
Eating healthy is easier here. I think, for me especially, there are two components that contribute to that. First and foremost, soda is limited. I told myself that I would stop drinking soda once I moved to Germany. It was a clear break from my previous life and soda is frickin’ expensive here. We pay about €1,20 or €1,50 for 0,33 Liters of soda. That’s one-third of a liter for about $2.
And NO FREE REFILLS. Portion control for soda, finally! If you want a second Coke, you pay another €1,20. So, in two ways, I don’t have to say “No!” to a refill simply because “I’m trying to drink less carbonated water with lots of sugar in it.” I can drink only one Coke (that’s right—no German restaurant serves Dr. Pepper!) because I do not want to pay for a second one. If the health issue isn’t helping me, at least the money part of it can.
So why aren’t I just skipping the Coke altogether and just drinking water? Because you pay for water too. And you get funny looks for ordering it “Still,” or not sparkling. Plus, I drink lots of water at home and at school.
The other thing is that you can find juices everywhere. And they cost just as much as soda. When I have the option, I’m ordering juice, so I don’t feel too bad about the places where I do end up ordering soda.
Fresh Fruits and Veggies
The other reason that eating healthy is easier here is that beautiful, fresh, cheap fruits and veggies are everywhere! On Wednesdays and Saturdays, there is a farmers’ market about a 1/2 mile down Seltersweg, so we can very easily get local farm-grown fruits and vegetables, not to mention fresh meat, flowers, and bread (which are also available every day in shops within 100 meters of our front door).
I never really cared about avoiding preservatives or eating “natural” foods in America, but it seems like many foods here avoid preservatives anyway, and there are many natural food choices at every single grocery store. Plus, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Many of the meals here that sound like they will be a familiar taste of course taste differently than what I expect, and that really makes me miss some of my favorites. But it sure is fun to try a new fruit or veggie from the farmers’ market (some I haven’t even seen before!) or to try a dish I’ve never had before even though it’s made of all familiar ingredients.