Anyone near Landstuhl, Germany?
Our family is getting ready to move there at the end of this month. I'm wondering how challenging/easy it will be to continue eating the way we do while living there. Anyone out there have any experiences in this area? Anyone currently living there now?
It shouldn't be hard. My mom is German, her whole family is there, and I spent 8 adult years there on my own. There are still butcher shops and you can develop a relationship with them, especially if you try to speak the language. There is lots of butter and more fatty sausages of the clean-eating kind than you can shake a stick at. Being a cold, clay-earthed, cloudy, continental-weathered country populated by evergreens, the lack of produce will drive you a little nuts, but there is still enough, and there are varieties not seen here, so be sure to go to every farmer's market you can possibly find and ask what something is.
Pork is the dominant meat (pasture land is scarce for grazers), but there is beef. Fish is good there. Germans unapologetically love organ meat, so that is good, too. The older generation isn't afraid of fat, the younger ones are more careful because they predominantly work in offices and such and don't burn the 5000+ kcal daily that the their villager parents and grandparents did. Bread is a mainstay, so you will have to take a stand against that, and because Germany has more bread types than literally any country on earth, and they are justifiably proud of its history and flavor and all that (and the fact that it sometimes saved them from gross starvation), you might need to get creative with the little white lies - like telling everybody that you are gluten-intolerant or something, depending on the type of people around you. Most everybody understands allergies and the like.
I do dairy, and the dairy there is great. Again, head out to the villages and ask around - I got my milk from a dairy just down the hill from my grandmother's, and it was raw and still warm from the teat - simply filtered. Cheese shops are present in the cities, and the quality is what Americans dream of when they think of Europe and food.
If you want to have a real Primal experience, if you make friends in the villages, and they are traditional people, chances are that they will have a Schlachtfest in the fall - that is the annual fall butchering of a pig. The work is intense on the day of, as everything is either cut and frozen or made into sausages of a dozen types - a week later there is a semi-formal dinner featuring the pieces / cuts that won't keep all winter. I can't tell you how yummly that stuff is.
Because all the European countries are about as big as western states are here, there is a lot of cross-pollination of food styles and foodstuffs - try it all out. If you go to a big-city indoor farmer's market you will find rabbit, lamb, goose, duck, pheasant, goat... And all the attendant fats. Take advantage of the proximity to France to get over there and snag pate and everything else animal you can get. A kick-ass bone broth will win you adoration from the older crowd, but be warned, they do it well.... so they won't be easy to impress.
Germany is a country with a no-holds-barred attitude to walking and being outside. Because the weather is so crappy, they have just learned to suck up the nastiness and hike and walk all over anywhere at any time. My grandmother could kick my ass with her daily exercise in the garden until a couple of years after I had moved there and gotten stronger. Also, look up the name "Sebastian Kneipp" - he is the now-dead godfather of restoring health using cold water. If you are a cold-thermogenesis fan, you need to know his name, and his name is universally recognized and respected as a natural healer.
Exercise and sports-as-hobby are wildly popular. You will soon find walking, hiking, bicycling, weight-lifting, swimming, etc. buddies. Their preferred way is to join a Club - as in the "Table Tennis Club Landstuhl, First League". My uncle lives in a teensy village and they support two fistfulls of clubs - table tennis, shooting, German bowling, soccer, and heaven knows what else. If you join these, don't take it lightly - this is serious business to them, and seriousness is expected from you - if you join, you are expected to fully participate.
There are health food stores everywhere, but they specialize in biodynamic grains, herbal teas, juices of things like sauerkraut and beet, supplements, and the best damn natural body-care products almost anywhere - so go nuts with the lotions and potions if you can afford them. One popular national chain of health food store is called "Reformhaus". There are others, but I somehow always only found this one.
Along with the bread, there is a decently big grain culture, but you can simply not buy this for your house. Muesli of all sorts (a kind of granola) is everywhere, but usually eaten at breakfast, so if you don't eat at friends' houses for that meal you can ignore it. Stay out of the supermarkets, they are the same as in the US with a view to what a Primal can eat - you will need to shop at the specialty shops (butcher, farmer's market, produce stand, etc).
You will be in glory land with the bacon. It is usually called "Speck", and they love, love, love it. This is also the land of unbelievable quantities of ham hocks - some roasted and some boiled in broth, depending. The quality of the chocolate will have you hating on Hershey's very quickly.
And just as a little cultural note - most Germans have a very different attitude than Americans do about being nice to people in public - generally, they aren't and don't. They don't see the need to be "nice" to folks they do not know. So don't expect smiles and chit-chat and all that. You mostly won't get it. But don't think the locals aren't checking you out - they are. They will approach you in their own time when you have passed whatever internal test they have for deciding you are acceptable. I mean, go and shake hands and introduce yourself and stuff, but it isn't like here. If they invite you over to their house, especially the older generation, be advised that once they befriend you, they expect very-long-term to life-long friendship, so just know this going in. Don't toss out the "we'll get together soon" thing - they will take you seriously and be upset that you haven't called and made good on the comment. On the other hand, you will get very loyal friends for life if you do take them up on it, so the benefits are definitely there.
It is a socialist country, so the bureaucracy is thick and will drive you flippin' nuts - there are laws and papers and rubber stamps from all sorts of Official Government Offices That Must Be Obeyed And You Must Also Have Proper Documentation. Germans complain about it as well, but do it. There is the idea that a government can and SHOULD take care of its people, and to do that it must be bossy. Telling the government to go screw itself works less well over there.
The only other thing I think an American should know is that Germans will defend their territory to the death, or to the German Supreme Court, whichever comes first. There isn't as much room as here, and if you haven't encountered millions of families living in tight quarters before, I don't think you can possibly understand the mentality. There just isn't any elbow room, and the very expensive extra few square feet you get, inside or out, means the world to them. So don't go putting yourself or your stuff anywhere but on your space - you hereby avoid a faux pas that many Americans stumble on.
All in all, I loved it there. Some things drove me nuts, but some things drive me nuts here as well, like the total lack of any national train system and whatnot. You'll love that there!!! You can get from anywhere to anywhere without a car... write me in a few months and tell me how wonderful it is, especially those bullet trains.....
Good Luck, and eat yourselves silly!
Landstuhl, Germany is a great place for living and it has some good restructures and hotels where you can eat your favourite food and dishes. I spend many time at there in my friend's wedding ceremony and I was staying there for 2 weeks.
What crabbcakes writes about the food, the attitude to outdoor sports and the tendency to live in clubs ("Verein") is spot on. Germany can be a primal paradise. I live in the center of a big city and can get for example liverwurst, blood sausage, soup bones, boiled pig trotters at normal shops, or organic everything at an "organic supermarket" in a matter of ten minutes. Several farmers' markets are in walking distance.
However, as a German I must politely disagree with some of her points, the first about being unfriendly to strangers. Germany, in spite of being so small in the eyes of you Americans, consists of vastly different regions with vastly different mentalities. What you describe, Crabbcakes, I know very well from visits in southern Germany, which is the region that you describe. (And which is absolutely okay in the context of this thread, as the OP asked specifically about Landshut.) However, my region , the northern part of the Rhine, is very different. Here, if you have to wait ten minutes at a bus stop, you can hardly escape getting into a conversation with the other people standing there. Last Sunday I went to a flea market. I entered the subway alone and ended up in a group of three that all went to the same location. I am a middle aged, overweight lady, so no chatting-up going on, just normal conversation between myself, a young man and a lady in her thirties.
The other point is about Germany being a socialist country. This I don't understand. Our government is a coalition of christian democrats and liberals (liberal here means "big business friendly"). I think our chancellor, Mrs. Merkel - a christian democrat who grew up in the old, really socialist eastern Germany -, would drop dead if you called her a socialist.
No offense meant, crabbcakes!
To Nmeyer: when you are here, you can always PM me if you need specific advice or so. German is my mother tongue (as if you hadn't already noticed from my awkward English) and I am a translator. Hope you enjoy your stay here. Are you moving to Germany for good or just for a limited period of time (deployment for example)?
All the best, Bess
Sorry for jumping in, but I had a chuckle too when I read the "socialist" comment. Maybe understandable from an American point of view, where McCarthyism left a big legacy, but no, not really true at all! Apart from that, some very good comments above.
I'm originally from Belgium myself, a small country next to Germany, and I guess we are a kind of mix between the German and English culture (in terms of language too, I'm a freelance translator as well, native tongue Dutch). In that sense I can sympathise with the more relaxed, polite attitude of the Anglo-Saxon culture (USA and UK), but I am very appreciative of the more "efficient" and "in your face" aspects of the Germanic culture too. It is different for sure, but I'm sure you'll have a great time.
Originally Posted by Bess58
Re the serious public face of Germans - I'm glad it isn't that way EVERYWHERE. I am definitely aware that different regions have different personalities (history, recipes, traditional dress, and everything), and even the different regions of a single Bundesland, but I just never ran into much everyday shoes-on-the-sidewalk friendliness where I was. I had my apartment in Frankfurt for the duration of my stay, and my family lives a. just outside of Fulda, b. in Frankfurt, and also c. in a few villages that belongs to Kreis Bad Hersfeld-Rotenburg.
I have heard from other Germans that Mainhattan is kind of an anomaly in Germany, with its huge immigrant population and skyscrapers and commuting workers and international banking and all. I have been told directly that it isn't much of a "real" German city at all, and this was by a coworker dude from Hamburg, a nice lady from Muenchen, and an apartment-mate from Aachen, but they all were proud of their home cities and it could just be this. Just FYI, I was not connected to the military in any way - I had my proper Aufenthaltserlaubnis and Arbeitserlaubnis and renewed them on schedule (or else ).
I did get around some, to Sylt, Sankt Englmar, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Stuttgart, Heidelberg, Berlin, Weimar, and a decent list of European capitals. Since I did my darnedest to learn the language, I think I got along better than most might who don't make the effort. Mostly, though, I did my Pflicht and spent a lot of time in my mother's home area when I wasn't working to support myself, learning all I could about that area, chopping a lot of wood and digging a lot of Duenger into the garden for Oma (my Opa died when I was quite young, and Oma was still wearing black 15 years after his death, and we all helped out since she never learned to drive, never remarried or dated, and lived in the house alone), and showing up for family functions. My family's favorite place is the Rhoen when they decide to go on a day-long road trip for fun.
Re the "socialist country" term - I see your point. I am showing the effects of living in my part of the US, and in the political-historical-cultural climate of my Fleck, even the US government has been "socialist" for a long time. So I will be more circumspect when using that term. But thanks for being so nice while disagreeing with me . If you want to have some fun reading about parts of the US that have really never gotten a lot of respect (even from other Americans), it would be good to read up on Appalachia. The (European-settlement) history starts way back before Revolutionary War times, and like any history, is closely tied to the geography of this part of the country (ie how do mountain people make a living, who decided to live here, and how did/does the isolation affect them).
I will be over there in November for a visit. It will be interesting to catch up on things like you only can when you are in-country. There is a lot I miss - especially the trains. I am tempted to ask my family not to pick me up from the airport just so I can take the ICE from Frankfurt to Fulda as soon as humanly possible! (After a bender into the city to drink a belly full of Ebbelwoi, and eat some Handkaes' mit Musik, that is! Ooooooh, and Kochkaese, und Kartoffelwurst, und Kindereier - yes, I love the little toys!)
Hello, Flying Pig and Crabbcakes,
we are totally hijacking mmeyer's thread, but I find it sooo interesting to hear about cultural differences, how others view my country, or to think about what preconceptions I have about other countries and cultures, if they are true or not ...
Flying Pig, you are a freelance translator too? What type of work do you do?
Crabbcakes, very interesting to hear. You have seen a lot of Germany, and my compliments for learning the language. I know it's not easy, in another life I was a teacher of German as a foreign language. And your friends may be right about Frankfurt; I have to go there every year for the book fair, and I have never got a feeling for this city. Then again I'm from Cologne, whose citizens are also famous for thinking their city is the center of the world.
One misunderstanding: I wasn't implying you were in the military, I just asked mmeyer if he/she will be in Germany on deployment.
I would like to write some more, but I think this really isn't the right place. Maybe one of us could create a "what do you think about my country, and how is your's?" thread as this is such an international forum. I'd rather not do it because I am quite new to the forums and only have a few posts under my belt.
Mmeyer: Sorry again for so much off topic in your thread. Please fire all your questions at me and I will try to answer, and I'm sure others will too.
DANG, I don't know how this smiley got up there. Nobody take offence, I doesn't mean anything, just shows that I'm computer-illiterate (is that a word?)
Last edited by Bess58; 08-14-2012 at 12:26 PM.
I am not worried about mmeyer that much - we are still discussing Germany, and he/she is getting a little culture and international understanding lesson along with his Schweinshaxe and Eisbein. But I won't continue this much longer.
I have an idea - how about you come on over to my journal? It's called "Gettin' All-Primal in the Appalachians". I would give you a link, but I am computer-illiterate as well and can't do that yet, so I am sorry to say that you will have to do this the old-fashioned way. I would very much love to discuss anything you like!
Flying Pig - you come on over as well!
mmeyer - thanks for your thread space. Don't worry - the food is yummy and Germans have high standards for their own dining room tables, so you will benefit from their good taste. Just don't let the Konditorei waylay you. These are pastry shops-cum-little cafes that serve coffee and hot chocolate and herb tea and warm milk, and have probably a dozen hand-made layer cakes of the most luscious variety plus pastries behind the counter that they serve by the slice and/or piece. Just. Do. Not. Go. In.