German Culture

Francine A. McKenna

Germany is a "Bread Paradise". With over 3050 registered varieties, almost all available types of grain used, from wheat, rye, barley and oats to millet, corn, rice and potato starch. While bread rolls go under so many different names in the various regions it is easier just to point.

Francine A. McKenna

The Life, Times and Music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He made his first performance tours at six, wrote a first symphony at eight, kissed an Empress, was an inspired billiards player, spoke 15 languages, a popular marzipan candy is named after him...and there's more.

Francine A. McKenna

Originally an Easter Tradition, Struwen are delicious, and easy to make, fried yeast pancakes now enjoyed throughout the year. For generations they were a Lenten Fast tradition in Munsterland, Nordrhein-Westfalen, and eaten only during the Fast, especially on Good Friday.

Francine A. McKenna

They are "Harbingers of Spring", bringers of babies, stars of myth, superstition and a theme route. Storks...high on the list of Germany's favorite wildlife, it's "celebration time" when they return to their nests on cliff-ledges, rooftops and chimneys, after wintering in warmer climates.

Francine A. McKenna

Europe lay in rubble, and the winter of 1946/1947 was the coldest in living memory. Known in Germany as the time of "Weisser Tod", white death, and "Schwarzer Hunger", black hunger, hundreds of thousands died. Weihnachten was different that year, New Year and Spring held no promises.

Francine A. McKenna

"Putz anfallen", show no sign of ending. Those "cleaning attacks", necessary or not, day or night and at any time of year, although even more so in spring. An "enjoyable", even compulsive, pastime in the German speaking world...but with rules and traditions of course.

Francine A. McKenna

Twisting the Rule Book was the name of the game for Medieval monks during Fasts like Lent, and Monk's Chicken is delicious 13th century recipe, but with chicken rather than the tails from hapless beavers used in the middle ages. Allowed as "fish", as they spent time in water.

Francine A. McKenna

With seven league boots, or even by bicycle or car, Germany's Fairy Tale Road is a fascinating journey in the footsteps of Brothers Grimm. Through medieval villages and unspoiled nature, to a castle filled world of fantasy, sagas and legends, wicked stepmothers and evil witches.

Francine A. McKenna

Special beers and secret recipes made sure a Lenten Fast was never all about deprivation for German monks, but their traditions and fast breaking recipes soon spread outside monastery walls. Maultaschen, Herrgottsbescheisserle - "Little Cheaters of the Lord" included. An over sized ravioli.

Francine A. McKenna

Groundhog Day, a million dollar industry with Punxsutawney Phil the "forecasting" groundhog and his friends, its origins a mixture of ancient European and German "Hedgehog" folklore, the Christian festival Candlemas, seasonal weather, and pagan traditions surrounding February 2.