The decline of German food in America

German food’s decline “reflects the cultural mix of this country toward more Latin American, Asian and African American culture, and less of the mainstay Germanic culture that influenced this country for many decades,” said Arnim von Friedeburg, an importer of German foods and the founder of “The cultural shift is going on, and German culture has to fight or compete to keep its relevance.”

Here is more from Maura Judkis at WaPo.


There's a very good German restaurant near where I work. If you are ever in Chicopee, MA, check out The Munich House. The Beer Garten is open all summer.

Yes, the Munich House is good and so is the Student Prince in nearby - downtown - Springfield: It boasts the largest stein collection in the country, I believe, and their food/beer selection is great!

Not a good sign when a restaurant's main selling point is beer.

Or a very good sign, depending on your point of view.

Only if the women are ugly and it’s in a strip mall.

Or so I’ve heard.

There seems to be a dearth of German restaurants in general.

Cafe Katja isn’t bad in ny. But not great, and it’s the only decent one I’ve found in a while.

This is why I'm hot: I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge.

I know about jack Jacobs.

Old Europe is OK, but it was a shame to see that Zum Rheingarten had closed (though it has been easily 20 years since last visiting - who knows what happened to it over the years).

As someone who grew up eating it, cooks it at home, and regularly goes to German restaurants, I’ll be the first to admit it’s not exciting or exotic. Try writing a review of a schnitzel with a side of cabbage and make it sound like something someone wants to rush out to try.

It’s also heavy with meats and fried food. Even the vegetable dishes aren’t really light or “fresh.” All that is against many of the current food trends.

It’s still out there as biergartens often offer up a small subset of dishes (schnitzel, sausages, etc.) but it does seem sort of stuck there, much like how one rarely sees funnel cake or cotton candy outside of a carnival setting.

Easy, call it "carne frita with a side of teutonic kimchi."

Don't underestimate a pork knuckle along black beer. Absolutely not a German but I like it.

Sauerbraten over spätzle.

Or potato dumplings.

Any variety of German sausage with mustard and beer.

Some of the problem with German food is that it’s so easy to make it became absorbed into mainstream food. Hot dogs and hamburgers were already mentioned, but schnitzel as well. McNuggets is an almost gross version of that.

Good sausage is really hard to come by

All of the good deli meats are unappetizing sounding even if they are delicious.

Try selling an American pan-fried blood sausage with mashed potatoes, apples, and fried onions. They'll gag at "blood sausage" without recognizing how fundamentally delicious it is.

Still, a lot of good German food can be made in the home.

One last note is that in my experience the palate/practical diet of Germans is more "European" -- sure they have national dishes, but my cousin will make Frutti de mare at home, or my aunt will have dutch matjkes just as commonly (if not more often) than they'll make something culturally German. Of course, go out to the local bar and you'll certainly be offered schnitzels and fries along with other fare, but (maybe a consequence of the shared market) I think the practical diet of a European person is much more cross cultural (Doner anyone?)

Places with good sausage and beer remain very popular. It's the idea of German as "fine dining" and a sit down experience that is lagging

American versions of German food are just terrible. The whole charm of German food is that the simple ingredients that make it up (bread, potatoes, sauces, meats) are each of very high quality. In the US I've had decent German-style sausages, but never have I tasted bread or potatoes like those I've had in Germany. German food in the USA suffers from the same sort of problems as does Japanese food: too much of the quality depends on the use of excellent ingredients, and you simply can't get these in the US. The best chef in the world is not going to make an Idaho potato taste like an Austrian potato. The deserts are going to be sweetened with cane sugar, not beet sugar. And bread... my God, even an ordinary corner bakery in Germany has loaves that even the hipsteriest artisinal superbakery is incapable of making, at any price. And yeah, German food made with second-rate ingredients is pretty bad.

Though more or less agreeing with you, this - 'The deserts are going to be sweetened with cane sugar, not beet sugar.' - is not really accurate. First. because it is the amount of sugar that is the fundamental difference. And second, because cane sugar and beet sugar are both essentially sucrose, and there is no real difference in that respect.

I will try a blind test. I feel like I can just tell that beet sugar is sweeter upfront, while the sweetness of cane sugar kicks in more slowly. But I know how easily people can fool themselves into thinking they can detect undetectable differences.

Having lived one year in Germany, I can report that:

1. Although bread in Germany is on average better than American bread, there is plenty of German bread that is worse; and

2. German meat, and in particular beef, is worse than American meat (German beef: much, much worse).

'there is plenty of German bread that is worse'

Well, the Germans still do really poorly when it comes to bagels, and German Toastbrot is not American style white bread, but in general, I just cannot agree. You have to work pretty hard to find low quality bread - at least in this region - and that definitely includes the lowest priced bread from a Lidl, Aldi, or Pennymarkt (bread is very much a regional product in Germany, so I can easily imagine that some places have lower quality bread than others).

And as tastes differ, it is difficult to make any meaningful distinction on that basis between people, but Germans have an extremely hard time finding good bread in the U.S. Sadly, some of the bread options I used to offer in NoVa - a Trappist monastery's whole wheat or Columbia (? - used to be available in Giant) sourdough bread, that required 20 minutes baking, are both no longer commercially available.

In my experience, what's really going on is that Germans and Americans look for different standards in bread. Germans prefer bread that is dense and made of rye, while Americans prefer a lighter, less-dense, wheat-based bread. As a result, both cultures find the other's bread "worse," because it's designed with different goals in mind.

@IVV: I think you have a point about different standards, i.e., tastes. It's not quite that straight-forward, though. American bagels are extremely dense. Germans eat a lot of wheat, too. In fact, there is a gradient: more rye in the north, more wheat in the south. The standard roll is made of wheat.

Maybe it's the crust: Germans like it crisp and crunchy, Americans soft to negligible.

I feel like "traditional German" might be on the decline in terms of use of that label, but German influences in our cuisine run so deep and wide that there's a huge path-dependence effect so that influences will probably persist forevermore. And people of all ethnic backgrounds in the US love a good sausage and potatoes meal

Bangers and mash?

An English friend says he finds American culture more German than English. For example, basic American fast food -- e.g., hamburgers and frankfurters -- is obviously German.

Not surprising, German-Americans are the largest self-reported ethnic group in America at 17% of the population (2000 Census).

Fazal, "self-reported" perhaps, but it's nonsense. As Greg Cochran has noted "...the fraction of Americans who report English ancestry has dropped drastically since 1980 – so much so that you would have to wonder about secret death camps if you took it seriously."

By about 1850, the country's white population was overwhelmingly British, and of that overwhelmingly English in particular. There is a strong bias in self-reported surveys to identify with the more differentiated, later arriving groups even if in reality this is only a small proportion of one's ancestry.

Yeah, I'm just wondering to what extent sausage and potatoes are really German. The Polish and the Italians are no slouch at sausage making, and of course the potato is South American in origin, so I'm not sure that can be claimed as a distinctly German staple, either.

Oh how I wish that were true. But alas, look at the bread in your supermarket. And for that matter, compare the sausages you see there to English sausages, and then to German ones. The hamburger is also an English sandwich. On reflection, could you imagine Germans - with their bread culture - would produce something as insipid as a hamburger bun?

On a related note, a joke about Canada: "We could have been a country with a government like Britain and a cuisine like France, but instead we have the cuisine of Britain and a government like France."

Reminds me of the old chestnut:

In Heaven the cooks are French, the lovers are Italian, the police are British, the mechanics are German, and everything is run by the Swiss.

In Hell the cooks are British, the lovers are Swiss, the police are German, the mechanics are French, and everything is run by the Italians.

I don't have to be English (and I'm not) to know that when I'm eating high-quality Midwestern American food, it's really an adaptation of German food. (Off to Germany in two weeks.)

Hmm.... It would be hard to confuse the king and the clown with anything you'd ever find at Lidl.

Basic American fast food = American style pizza and fried chicken, no?

Sure it includes those, but also hamburgers and hot dogs. Those are probably the big four. Or big five if we include sandwiches including hoagies, Philly cheesesteaks, etc. although we could argue whether a made-to-order sandwich is fast food or not. After the big four or big five: fish and chips, falafel, gyros or doner kebabs, tacos and burritos, and increasingly Chinese food.

The plethora of pickled vegetables would be the way for German cuisine to be relevant with present trends. Although, "sour" isn't a really trendy flavor.

Ultimately, though, the real issue is that American cuisine is, for a great part, German Fusion. If it wants to be more "exotic," then there should be a greater focus on venison. But I mean, heck, to an American palate, even the new-and-not-exported German mainstay of currywurst can't stand up against a barbacoa burrito. Or a hot dog with sriracha.

...Could something be done with desserts? Kaiserschmarrn, palatschinken, hefekloesse? The cape gooseberry garnish?

I love sour. It should be a trendy flavor. Fancy pickles could be a new wave too, if you can work it into the pro-biotic trend, like kimchi. I've exhausted varieties of honey and fruit preserves, but pickled vegetables are a delicious sounding uncharted territory.

I agree about the underlying problem. Many of the least healthy standards in American diets are, unfortunately, Germanic in origin. Sausage, hot dogs, hamburgers.

the desserts probably wouldn't fit with healthy food trends.

If you like fermented sour foods and are in the DC area, try the pickles, kimchi and krauts from Number 1 Sons. Delicious, and good for you, too!

This is a useful point. If you page through mid-century editions of _Joy of Cooking_, you're essentially reading a German cookbook. There are French and E. Europe borrowings but that is true of German food too.

Made well with fresh inputs it can be really good.

Desserts would be great. Still better would be a Germanic bakery with places to sit and eat that would have a few simple main dishes for lunch. That's how a lot of Korean places started and then grew.

Seems like if it would work, it would first be viable as a bakery +lunch place.

"Ultimately, though, the real issue is that American cuisine is, for a great part, German Fusion."

Yes this. There is so much Germanic culture that has become part of the fabric of American culture that Americans don't even recognize it as German anymore. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and for that matter Christmas trees.

But the other comments raise good points too. I've always assumed that two world wars were a big factor (OTOH Japanese food was able to experience a postwar popularity increase). And when we list the great cuisines of the world, German cuisine is rarely near the top of the list.

I also wonder about the premise of the article (which I can't read due to lacking a subscription). Is German food experiencing a decline? Maybe, but the places that I've lived it was extremely low in popularity in the first place. It's hard to decline when you're already close to zero, as measured by: how many German restaurants are in the area, and how much explicitly German food is available in the supermarket.

"Ultimately, though, the real issue is that American cuisine is, for a great part, German Fusion. "

I guess this is probably the case in the Mid West, but certainly not the case in the South.

Well, outside of Texas, maybe. And you can still get burgers, hot dogs, and potato salad anywhere. Barbecue is still German-inflected, if it's not really German at all anymore.

It's in large part because the food is not very good compared to other options these days.

It's the wurst.

I'm 25% Austrian, 0% anything non-European, and there are literally dozens of non-European cuisines I would choose over German food. The Germanic people in general (including the English and the Nordics) simply make bland food. Slavs and Hungarians make bland food as well, except insofar as they have been influenced by Turks.

There's a strong correlation between Catholicism and good food in Europe. The Dutch=speaking people are a case in point. Dutch food is terrible, but Flemish food is great.

German baked goods are terrific, though, sadly it's one thing that doesn't seem to have carried over from Germany or Austria to the US. The terrible ersatz that pass for black forest cakes in America would not pass muster back in the old country.

Good Kirschwasser is hard to find, isn't it?

Isn't that just a north/south problem?

Northern Europe which is largely protestant has a terrible climate for growing food.

Poland is Catholic and has terrible food. Ireland is Catholic and isn't known for having particularly appealing cuisine either.

Hungarian, bland? I thought they loved drying peppers?

My nanny was German - she escaped Germany in the 1930s (she was from Koblenz) and came to America. She was a petite, caring woman and I adored her. She made some German dishes but the only one I remember in particular is German potato salad. I mention this not because of her German potato salad (it was delicious), but what it included as its base: white vinegar and mustard. I don't care for mayonnaise or any food with mayonnaise as its bas. But vinegar, especially balsamic vinegar, and mustard I like. Whatever one associates with German food (sausage, potatoes, cabbage), if its base includes vinegar and mustard, it can be very good and light. As for German restaurants, there was one in my small Southern town when I was a child. But I can't recall one in the city where I have resided most of my adult life or the small Southern community where I now have a home. I should point out that my nanny did not serve German potato salad when my grandmother came to visit. My only uncle died in France in !944 and she wasn't particularly fond of Germans, or their food. I'm not sure what she thought of my nanny.

Maybe it's declining because it isn't much good.

I think German restaurants and social clubs were much more common before the world wars, but backlash against Germans led many to close down or to downplay their ethnicity, and it seems the niche never recovered.

Unfortunately, I don't see any historical references at the website, but this is a place in Indianapolis that has survived the ups and downs of that history.

So far as I know, Kurt Gutenbrunner's restaurants in NYC which serve Austrian/Bavarian food are still very successful -- Wallsee, Blaue Gans, the beer-sausage concession at The Standard, and Cafe Sabarsky at the Neue Galerie. Ultimately, there aren't many new immigrants from Germany or Austria to bring modern developments here. Sounds to me like a market opportunity ...

Watch out if they say they'll solve this with bigger ovens.

Well, when you have mongrels running in the white house since 2009, what do you expect? I suspect with a half-Ashkenazi in the white house, German food will be banned by 2020.

A decline in ethnic food is almost always caused by a decline in poor immigrants.

While that may be a good general explanation, it doesn't seem to apply here--the demand for German food, not the supply, seems to be the issue.

Italian and Japanese food are extremely popular in the US even though there hasn't been significant immigration from either country in decades.

Was it ever anything more than a niche market? German food and culture in the states never carried the same cache as Italian, Irish, Greek, or even Polish. How many movies or novels about German families or the German immigrant experience in the USA were ever made? How many “proud to be german” buttons do you see, especially in comparison to the other countries I just mentioned? Is it all the fault of WW1 and 2?

For whatever reason, German influence on American culture was massive, but outside of Wisconsin maybe it never really stood out.

The US is a Germanic country hence it's not a "culture influenced by Germany" but a Germanic culture itself. So proud of being American is pretty much synonymous with "proud of being Germanic".

Never heard that one before! Whet does this fit into the ‘Albions Seed’ story of America?

Evidently RafaelR fancies that 'the US' consists of a block of counties in Pennsylvania and the Old Northwest, and that Milwaukee is our number one city.

Well, those are the best parts.

The white American ethnotype is about as much German as English, so while RafaelR is overstating the case, it's not by much.

That maybe true but neither is a particularly dominant segment. And the idea that American culture is Germanic is just ridiculous. Certainly there are Germanic influences, but they are minor compared to English influences. Language alone guarantees that.

German Americans are the largest single ethnic group in America.

Largest self-reported group. And of course many of us, whose families go back a few generations , and mixes of ethnic ancestry. About half my ancestry is German, but I also have English ,Scotch, Scots-Irish, maybe Dutch and maybe a small strand of native American.

Um, not exactly. I think the poster above who mentioned WWI and WWII was more accurate.

I believe it’s the same north of the border. Wasn’t Kitchener Ontario once named New Berlin or something? And hostility to the Krau—- er the Germans caused it to be renamed?

The 2nf world war may have forever taken away the ability for Germans to be openly 'proud'. I have known many Germans and many of them are proud, but the war and its awful legacy makes outspoken 'pride' a complicated factor.

What? Pizza and tacos are beating out hamburgers and hot dogs? Really?

My friend Roger Koppl likes to imitate Fritz Machlup saying with a heavy accent, "Vaht in America is called a hot dog is in Vienna called a frankfurter and in Frankfurt is called a wiener." So there, although I happen to know that real frankfurters are much longer than real wieners.

German food is not spicy enough.

I am as white bread as they come, but over my 69 years I have moved towards the spicy end of the scale.

Think habanero peppers as the midpoint.

This seems to be common as people age. I'd guessed it was because sense of taste declines with age, and spice tolerance increases with exposure.

We eat a German dish once a month in winter: Himmel und Erde. Delish.

Have you hear of The Maine, The Titanic, The Lusitania, The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire?

Of course.

What do you know of the General Slocum disaster in NYC in 1904?

"An estimated 1,021 of the 1,342 people on board died." But the women and children piteously drowned and consumed by fire were German immigrants. No need to remember them.

I think most Americans have heard about the Hindenburg.

"What do you know of the General Slocum disaster in NYC in 1904?"

What do you know of the Eastland disaster in Chicago in 1915? 844 passengers and crew drowned. But how many remember it now?

I know about both. Not everyone on MR is a young, history-blind punk.

Kasseler -- smoked pork chops -- are phenomenal. But rarely do you find them in German restaurants.

German has since 1941 or so been a self effacing ethnicity in America.

I can order a fried pork loin with mushroom sauce at any number of local establishments. Only one of them calls it a schnitzel.

Here in NYC most of the German restaurants in Yorkville, the traditional German neighborhood, have disappeared as has Yorkville as an identifiable ethnic neighborhood. It does not seem as if German food with its emphasis on meat, pickled vegetables and starch is really in keeping with modern tastes, which seem to tend toward Asian. I wonder if German has done worse than the other European cuisines except Italian?

I was thinking about that neighborhood as well, the German and Hungarian places seem to be gone now. I was lucky enough to find a cute little German place in Orlando, of all places, back in the 80s.

No doubt about the German influence on US beer at least

Big doubts about the beer, actually. It seems impossible to get a decent Pilsner in the U.S.

Not so sure modern tastes "tend Asian" as such; "meat, pickled vegetables and starch" is pretty much barbecue, which is probably still among the most popular American food today.

Central European food (and German food is really mostly an undistinguished part of this region) is kind of "competitive" at the mass level in many ways with barbecue and fried chicken, but will have a hard time being more popular. It's a hard argument to make to many Americans to choose a golonka with dill boiled potatoes over their favourite barbecue joint's smoked pork shoulder and wedge potatoes seasoned more in line with a modern US palette.

Pasta, pizza, rice, noodles, tacos, etc. all survive because they offer something a bit distinct from the southern Soul Food behemoth that stomps home with the crown over all other US food traditions. Fried meat and potatoes traditions have a harder time; if you could choose, are you going for the fried chicken or the schintzel? If people en masse really went for the schintzel, KFC would be smaller business than it is.

And there's not much room at the fine dining end either. Assuming you're going fine dining, are you going French or "Modern American" or Central European? Probably not Central European.

If you find yourself in Kansas City, you should head to Grunauer. They describe themselves as Austrian-German. The food is great. They share a building with the Union Station iteration of Jack Stack Barbecue.

The 20th Century wars and health food trends have not helped canonical German cuisine, however it's easy to find traces everywhere if you know where to look. German influence is American as apfel pie.

Well, apart from the fact that apple pie is unknown in Germany. That sort of thing is British.

Nonsense. You'll find variants of apple pie in pretty much every European country and every German bakery.

I think German food is on the decline in Germany, too. As is traditional English food in the UK. One word reason: boring.

OTOH, we are also seeing a revival of some traditional food techniques, e.g. lacto-fermentation. Best pickles you'll ever have. We cured some olives this way, and they were magnificent.

This was my question: how popular is German food in Germany?

It could be like the US, where the burrito is now the national dish.

It kind of is, the German national dish is now doner kebab

'how popular is German food in Germany'

In a way, there is no 'German food' in Germany. There is generally regional food. Spätzle or fresh baked pretzels are pretty much non-existent in northern Germany, for example, and Wirsig and herring are not part of normal cooking in southern Germany. Throw in the Austians and the Swiss, and it starts to get even in more complex.

But there has been a definite shift over the past 25 year - German tastes have started to be become more Americanized, what with the growth of pasta and pizza, for example. Oh, wait - are pasta and pizza American, Italian, or just food that lots of people enjoy without caring much about provenance?

Exactly right, food is very regional in Germany. Austrian food is similar to Bavarian, which is what most foreigners take for German food in general. Just please don't throw in the Swiss.
Italian food has been popular in Germany since the 1960s when large numbers of workers immigrated from there. Luckily, it is therefore closer to the original than to the American take on Italian cuisine.
German food still seems popular in Germany and is served in every Gasthaus.

I stand firmly with the dog in that ridiculous pet-treat commercial from a few years ago: "Sausage! Sausage! I smell sausage! Did somebody say sausage?
Sausage! Sausage!"

That was Beggin Strips (bacon!) Not Snausages.

Does Alsace count? My wife makes a chouxcrote au riesling that will delight.

You are a very lucky man. There used to be Alsatian places in the US, but lots of luck trying to find them now. A wife who makes choucroute au riseling....Ah....

You can score a choucroute royale at L'Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls, VA, outside of Washington.

Your wife's roast beef's not bad either.

Try ZEE Bratwurst.
It's really the Final Solution!

I do love the rare German restaurant in my city.

They be more influential in beer, but even in that area they have fallen behind

The odd thing about this article is the inclusion of Old Europe. That place stays packed and I can’t imagine how it could be considered struggling. Pretty good menu and a very nice night out. Cafe Mozart is not bad. I love the herring there. And they come the closest to having a genuine German breakfast roll. One great Germany treat from back in the day were the whole mackerel skewers over beds of coals at village festivals. Never seen it in the US but it might go over.

How about a thread about the spectacular rise of German groceries in the United States?

Certain German food dishes might be dying out; however, one form of German food is now very popular: Hill Country Texas-style brisket. Of course, as many know, this type of brisket has been recently popularized by Aaron Franklin and the brisket consists of fatty meat seasoned with only pepper and salt and gently smoked for an eternity till perfection is achieved. Of course, some would say that Hill Country Texas style brisket actually has German-Czech roots, but that discussion would entail a crash course in Central European history.

I predict that Frankfurter Griesoß (High German Grüne Soße - a cold sauce of seven fresh herbs in a cream/yoghurt/mayo base, traditionally served with potatoes and either thin-sliced brisket or boiled eggs) will soon have its culinary moment in the US. It's fresh and light. On the other hand, given all the attention kale has received, it's surprising that its most famous North German form, as the base of Grünkohl und Pinkel (Kale, with ham and sausage) hasn't hit the US.

And what about white asparagus?

Good point! It's divine.

As clockwork_prior points out above, German cuisine is very regional. Most foreigners mistake Austrian-Bavarian cooking -- heavy, meat-focused dishes -- as representative of the entire country. Far from it. On the coast they eat lots of fish. In Frankfurt a specialty is 'green sauce' made of yogurt and seven herbs. The gourmets live in Baden-Württemberg -- in particular the Black Forest region. It's not a coincidence that they are close to France (Alsace).

The beer variety goes from the best Pilsner outside of Czechia in Northern Germany to wheat beer in Southern Bavaria. The 'rostbratwurst' is particularly excellent in Thüringen and Nuremberg. What Germans (and Austrians) abroad miss most, however, is typically the unique, enormous variety of excellent bread and cakes found at any village bakery.

It is not surprising that the generally simple fare is not internationally successful, with the exception of beer and bratwurst in a (Bavarian) beer garden. What is surprising is that the unparalleled bread and cake culture has not spread further. German bakeries should be everywhere.

“the unique, enormous variety of excellent bread and cakes found at any village bakery.”

Which is ironic because most Austrian bakeries are distinctly mediocre. While the village bakery in Bad Enzersdorf is probably better than the supermarket bakery in some town in Iowa, I had a far better selection of breads, pastries and baked goods in my Boston suburb than are available in Vienna.

I'd be very interested in that Boston suburb bakery. Would you have a pointer? (Asking for a friend.)

There's many. Clear Flour Bakery in Brookline is probably better than any bakery in Europe east of the Rhine and north of the Alps. Flour bakery in Boston proper has amazing pastries, good bread as well. Breadsong Bakery in Auburndale is great as well. But the sad truth is that any Panera store in the US is arguably better than your average Austrian chain bakery (and most bakeries in Austria are chains, not cute family owned neighborhood shops).

Clear Flour Bakery looks very good indeed. Almost half their bread types are German. Flour shows a couple of German-style layered tortes, though they look rather simple and heavy. Not the real thing but a good start.

Lots of farms and butcher shops have German origin. Texas Barbecue has lots of German influence. Some of the greatest Texas BBQ restaurants are very German. Pennsylvania Dutch food including Amish cuisine is basically German. Chicken and Waffles is Pennsylvania Dutch.

Germany, along with most of Northern + Eastern Europe has much less of the artisan restaurant culture that you see from Southern Europe or North Africa or China or Peru or Ethiopia.

"Chicken and Waffles is Pennsylvania Dutch."

Hmm, the chicken and waffles places that I've been to have always been either owned and operated by American blacks, or emulating black restaurants. E.g. Roscoe's in Los Angeles, and Glady Knight's in Atlanta (better than Roscoe's when I went there several years ago, but the last couple of years they apparently went downhill and closed).

A story that I read on the web (thus unsubstantiated -- but plausible to me) is that chicken and waffles became a thing when jazz musicians after jamming all night into the the morning, would want to get something to eat before going home and falling into bed. But by now it's about sunrise, so do you finally get dinner, or do you get breakfast? Answer: yes. Fried chicken and waffles.

Maybe black people got the idea for chicken and waffles from the Pennsylvania Dutch, but I cannot think of a plausible transmission mechanism. And this is the first time that I've heard of chicken and waffles described as a Pennsylvania Dutch creation. I've eaten at restaurants around Lancaster, Hershey, Intercourse, etc. (the names of those PA towns just get more and more entertaining) and I don't recall chicken and waffles being on their menus. A check just now of the online menus of several restaurants in that area showed many that served waffles and that also served fried chicken, but none that had chicken and waffles as an entree that you could order.

I know people from Pennsylvania who describe Chicken And Waffles as a Pennsylvania Dutch thing. Wikipedia seems to back that up.

"By the end of the 19th century, the dish was a symbol of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, brought on in part by its association with tourism"

In Texas, I'm more accustomed to your interpretation. There aren't many actual "southern" or "soul" food restaurants, but that's a stereotypical menu item associated with those genres.

Fascinating. Clearly both dishes are indeed chicken and waffles, but different dishes and I would have to think invented separately. I'd never heard of the PA Dutch version -- it doesn't show up on the restaurants' menus that I looked at -- but obviously it is a culinary object. But seemingly a regional one, every other chicken and waffles place that I've seen, from LA to Atlanta to Portland OR, does it using fried chicken.

Shrimp 'n grits used to be a regional dish too, but has become a national dish. Actually maybe a better analogy is with clam chowder. Most places in most of the country will serve New England clam chowder and typically not even bother to call it New England. It's much harder to get Manhattan clam chowder unless you're near New York.

Similarly, soul food chicken and waffles seems to have become more popular nationally, but the Pennsylvania Dutch chicken and waffles presumably still holds sway in its home region.

I grew up in Germany and came to the US in my mid20ies. I avoid German restaurants here in the US. American ideas of German food are stuck in the pre-WW I era. Modern German food is very good. Go to Germany to try it.

I've known a couple of people who've lived for years in Germany in the past decade, and they had negative things to say about the traditional German cuisine and restaurants. Of course, you can get good foreign food in Germany and good food that doesn't necessarily have a German brand to it.

If there were lots of talented restaurant people starting restaurants who wanted to use German branding, or any other national branding, they could do it, but that just isn't a trend.

May I recommend the Schnitzel a la Holstein at the Berghoff in Chicago. Was the perfect antidote for the St. Patty's day mayhem.

Austrian food is better than German food because Austrian cuisine is also stuck in the pre- WWI era, so at least interestingly unfashionable and sincere. Modern German food is mostly a sad compromise, and has about the same level of charm as German pop music or German late night comedy. Czech food is also very good, since it is arguably a kind of German cuisine, and not as spolied by modern trends.

In Norwell, Massachusetts, there is a sausage place called The Smokehouse. Founded by a local Italian-Irish-American who went to Germany in the 1980's and got certified as a master sausage maker (or something like that). Originally, the store served local German descendants in the area, and the food was very German focused. Later, those people drifted away, and the store now sells a lot of Italian sausage (which is what most people I know think of when they think of sausage), along with the German items.

The Germans are the least celebrated of American ethnic backgrounds, I think (reason: the wars?). Followed by French Canadian.

Nothing compares to good sauerbraten or smoked sausage

Given its current self-inflicted demographic changes, I would say the future of German food in Germany doesn't look so hot either.

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