Food Culture and Tradition

Food, People and Culture Resources

erman Foods Glossary and Foods Terms


Apfelkuchen: a short rich pastry is pressed into the bottom and sides of a springform pan. Sliced apples, bread crumbs, currants flavored with rum and grated lemon rind are arranged over the pastry, then baked. Twenty minutes before removing from the oven a creamy egg custard is poured over the cake to form a topping.

Auflaufe: soufflé.

Braten: the favorite German technique for cooking most meats. If necessary, meat is larded first then browned in a heavy pan with fat, onions, and seasonings. Liquid is added and the dish is covered to cook slowly. To finish, the gravy is thickened with potato paste, bread crumbs, or flour. Sometimes wine, beer, or sour cream is added. Meat is sliced and served with accompanying vegetables and sauce.

Baumkuchen: a many-layered egg-crusted log glazed with chocolate. A Christmas specialty.

Der Westfalische: a Westphalian pudding made of grated chocolate, pumpernickel crumbs, lemon zest, cinnamon, and slivered almonds blended with eggs and baked. It is served with vanilla sauce.

Einbrenne: used as the basis for most German sauces and to thicken soups, vegetable liquids, and gravies. Flour and fat are heated and blended together, then the liquid slowly added. This differs from the French roux, because the German Einbrenne always has the flavor of onion. Chopped onion is added to the fat while heating or a half onion is allowed to brown in the fat for flavor and may then he removed before blending with the liquid.

Eintopf: a one-dish meal related to the casserole, usually of meat, vegetables, and gravy.

Feinkostgeschaft: literally a “fine food shop,” and actually the next step up from the usual delicatessen in that such a shop carries not only an exceptionally wide range of fine local and imported foods, but also foods which feature exceptional quality and unusual packaging.

Gans: goose. But in Northern Germany a goose is not just a goose. It may be Spickgans, pickled and smoked goose breast; or Ganseklein, bits of goose meat stewed with vegetables and finished with dried cooked fruits and finally served with dumplings; or Schwarzsauer von Gans, goose blood and vinegar thickened with flour and spiced. Or it could be a dish of pickled goose stomach minced and blended with onion and seasonings and used as a spread on bread.

Hausgebackenes: home-baked goodies, cakes, and small cookies.

Himmel and Erde: South German specialty of pan-fried apple and potato slices served with fried slices of Blutwurst (blood sausage).

Huhn im Topf: chicken simmered with wine and vegetables.

Kalbfleisch: veal.

Kartoffel: potato.

Kartoffelpuffer: potato pancake.

Kase: cheese, of which the two most used types in Germany are Topfen, a dry farmer’s cheese, and Quark, a moist creamy cottage cheese.

Kasseller Rippenspeer: roast pork served on sauerkraut with mashed potatoes and a rich wine and sour cream gravy

Klopse, Knodel, Klopse, Klosschen: only a few of the many names for dumplings. Klopse are those made with finely ground meat; Knodel is the South German name for the North German Klosse, which are fluffy potato dumplings, while Klosschen is an endearing name for little dumplings.

Konfekt: a confectionary, a place where sweets of all kinds can be purchased.

Konigberger Klopse: an example of dumplings fit for a king. Mixed finely ground meat and soaked bread (in milk) is shaped into small balls and poached, usually in a light broth, then served with a cream sauce. What sets the dumplings apart are the anchovies and capers in the sauce.

Kuchen: generic name for yeast dough, pastry or cakes baked with fillings and shaped in a log, square, or round.

Napfkuchen: fruit cakes.

Pfefferpotthast: a beef short-rib stew with onions, knob celery, and carrots all browned in bacon fat. Served with potatoes and beet salad in the winter but with a fresh salad of lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers when they are available.

Pickert: a yeast-risen wheat or potato-flour bread. A specialty in the central region.

Potthucke: a baked pudding of raw and cooked potatoes, eggs, and milk, sliced and fried to serve.

Rindfleisch: beef.

Rostbratl: roasted pork basted with dark beer.

Rotwein: red wine.

Sauerbraten: a marinated pot roast of beef with a rich dark gravy sweet with sugar and gingerbread crumbs and sour with a touch of vinegar. Traditionally served with cooked red cabbage and fluffy potato dumplings.

Schinken or Speck: cured bacon or ham.

Schnippelkuchen: a large egg-rich potato pancake served in wedges.

Schwarzwalder Kirschentorte: Black Forest cherry cake. Layers of chocolate cake filled with whipped cream and cherry preserves, the layers having first been given a dousing of rum and/or kirsch. The cake is coated with whipped cream, the sides pressed with chocolate flakes, and the top decorated with chocolate-dipped cherries.

Schwein: fresh pork.

Soleier: pickled eggs, a common snack in most drinking places in Germany.

Strudel: a log of thin stretched dough enfolding juicy fruit or cheese filling. Favorites are sliced apples and currants, cherries and almonds, or cottage cheese and raisins. Reputedly of Austro-Hungarian origin, and never forgotten by those who have tasted it!

Suppen: soups.

Susspeisen: the general name for all the sweet dishes that may happily end a meal – puddings or farina, rice or tapioca, apple or fruit pancakes, apple or fruit dumplings served with sauces, egg custards, sweet egg omelets or soufflés, and finally wine or fruit jellies.

Topfbraten: a thick stew made from pigs’ ears, snouts, kidneys and heart with the sauce thickened with both gingerbread crumbs and plum jam. A specialty of “Slaughtering Day”

Vorspeisen: appetizers, either hot or cold. Germans prefer a one-plate appetizer rather than a choice of many small bites.

Weihnachtsgeback: this includes all the special bakery for Christmas – especially the crisply delicious array of small cookies.

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