Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

I am been quite absent from writing anything decent on the blog as of late (Dana has been totally absent, but says that she will start writing again when she is done reading “The Girl Who Played With Fire” by Stieg Larsson.)  She doesn’t want to be interrupted until it’s done (by anyone or anything).  I am the PhD student.  Why is my wife the dorky one of the two of us?

Anyway, we are enjoying a nice Father’s Day together.  Germany’s weather in June has been more like March weather, so we are stuck inside listening to another lame Nickelback song on on another 60 degree rainy afternoon while Dylan takes his long afternoon nap. 

Yesterday, we went to our friends pig farm for the day for a tour of the farm and a barbeque.   Dylan was not too excited to see the pigs, goats, and chickens as he was too preoccupied with riding a kid sized tractor around the farm.  Unfortunately, we currently have no pictures from our excursion due to an ‘exhausted’ camera battery.  

German’s really know how to do a ‘barbeque.’  This was our 3rd or 4th barbeque of the year, so we knew what to expect.  Our first BBQ had some surprises as there are some significant differences between a German barbeque and an American barbeque.

First, there is a lot more variety in a German BBQ.  American BBQ’s traditionally stick to hamburgers and hot dogs.  German’s start with bratwurst and move into a large varieties of different meats.  If our hosts are thoroughly prepared as they were on Saturday (or a trained chef, like our first BBQ here) the meat has been marinating in different kinds of sauce.   Variety advantage goes to Germany.

German BBQ Variety
Secondly, the pace of a German BBQ is much slower than an American BBQ.  I learned this lesson the hard way on our first BBQ here.  There, I ate a ton of meat as soon the first round of meat came off the grill as I would in America, where it becomes an every man for himself free-for-all as soon as the food is served off the grill.  I didn’t understand at the time that this was only the first round of many and the key was to pace your self, and not initially gorge yourself.   So, I sat there for the next three rounds of meat trying to eat on an already full stomach.  I get indigestion just writing about it.  

Now that we have a little experience under our belts, the staggered eating is quite nice.  In addition to enjoying a nice conversation with those around you, it’s nice for someone with a big appetite like me to secretly eat a lot of food over the course of the meal without drawing a lot of attention to myself.  Advantage: Germany.

Finally, American BBQ’s (at least as I know them) revolve around a football, baseball, or basketball game.  There is no association to a game being played on TV in the background in our German BBQ’s.  Until we start having BBQ’s that have Dortmund games in the background: Advantage, America. 

Our trip to the farm confirmed that I really want a ‘Schrebergarten.’  A schrebergarten is a small plot of land desiginated as a summer garden and a small guest house, normally equipped with a small kitchen and bathroom.  From a distance, it looks like a village for ‘small people.’  (Actually, that’s what I would always tell guests when we would pass a schrebergarten community on a train.  I kind of believed it myself.)  After eating home-grown strawberries, cherries, lettuce, and veggies yesterday has me really wanting to grow my own fruits and veggies.   I have already searched a couple of places online for our own weekend garden.  

Happy Father's Day to all of the Dad's out there. 

A Schrebergarten in Germany, 

A 'little people' village.  

Not a BBQ, but we got together with our neighbors for an evening Germany Euro Cup Qualifier Soccer Match. 

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