Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ice, a non-existant commodity

Dr Pepper freeze pops, sounds amazing

Since I've come to Germany and have been getting decidedly fat, I saw it fitting that I should make a post about some of the common foods that are popular here--especially at the work canteens.

All the stereotypical German stuff is pretty popular, schnitzels being the most popular, as well as the various  kinds of wurst--bratwurst, curry wurst, etc.  There are always some kind of "cooked flesh" available, whether it's pork, turkey, beef, or lamb.  Gyros are also quite popular but not the sandwich wraps common in America, they're just small pieces of meat with tzatziki sauce.  I almost forgot to mention that every one of these dishes will typically be slathered with a mountain of french fries or some other cooked style of potato.  If the Germans could be represented by any staple vegetable it would definitely be the potato--just as the Americans could be represented by the corn.  The Germans seem to use the potato for everything: noodles, croquettes, stuffing,  pancakes, you name it.  There are vegetarian things out there as well but I haven't paid much attention to them myself so I can't really comment.  

So you arrive in Germany and go to a restaurant or anywhere with some food and you decide you want something to drink.  Want something with ice?  Too bad, it doesn't exist.  Want something cold?  You have about a 50-50 chance of finding a cold beverage unless it's beer--but ice?  Not a chance.  It seems a bit strange that something so ubiquitous and common in America like ice is the complete opposite in Germany.  However, given that the Germans seem to drink only carbonated / mineral water, I can kind of understand why they don't have or use ice.  They aren't going to use the mineral water to make ice cubes, and they probably aren't going to use tap water either.  Large refrigerators with freezers also seem to be a rarity, so perhaps an ice-less society is at least some part cultural.  

Look at all that delicious water deposit crust, yum :9

Now that I've mentioned tap water--I must say the stuff is nasty.  Having lived most of my life in Arizona where the water is classically "hard," the water in Germany makes Arizona's water seem like jumping into a fresh bin of snuggles laundry.  If you were to pour yourself a glass of German tap water the glass would probably be full of cement after the slightest bit of evaporation.  Showering feels like you're picking up a "residue" from the water and clothes washed in the laundry machine come out stiff as a board after drying.  I can't fathom drinking the stuff (unless in dire straits) let alone making ice from it.  Although the tap is foul, there is thankfully a great selection of clean beverages to choose from such that you would never need to find out what pure unfiltered Earth tastes like.  

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