Tuesday, August 28, 2007

wurst ist sehr gut… aber ich habe zu viele gegessen

i spent the august bank holiday weekend in hamburg visiting my dear friend, hotdog aficionado t. hamburg was bursting with summer street fairs this weekend and we were constantly confronted with yet another hamlet of temporary stalls, beckoning us with their wafts of grilling wursts - white docile bratwursts, spicy krakuerwursts, curry topped currywursts - I'd never seen t so happy in a long time. There was also the calorifically sinful kartofelpuffer - german potato pancakes, griddled to a happy crisp and a myriad of german sweets and pastries including a very sugary jam filled berliner donut. t worked out that it was also cheaper to drink wine than water thus justifying the many glasses of excellent reisling to wash the kartofelpuffer down. Poste! Sitting along the banks of the alster picking greedily at chunks of meaty currywurst beneath their deep red sauce and walking in the happily cheesy Dom breathing in the sweet smell of sugar and general fairground merriment, they were happy days.

we would have continued on our merry consumption of wursts, kartofelpuffer, berliners and other e-numbers had we not been rescued by T's charming and extremely personable boss, D who bought us dinner at Goldfisch. T and I went for the chef's surprise menu in the interests of being entertained. An amuse bouche of octopus salad preceded our creamy earthy turnip soup studded with brown shrimp. this was followed by a fillet of panfried red mullet, its crisp skin and firm flakes against the bed of creamy kartofelpuree, cauliflower puree and seared scallop. we finished with a light cheesecake with a compote of summer fruit. The meal was of course accompanied by many glasses of more reisling and alsterwasser (otherwise known as shandy to the rest of us). The order of alsterwasser led to the discussion of radler, which is the munich version made by mixing beer and according to D, "orange lemonade" which upon pushing defined it with a straight face as "fanta, or otherwise known as the soda with addition of a compound meant to resemble orange flavouring." I think he spends too much time with lawyers.

i was privileged over the weekend to also have been invited to a german barbeque where a trestle table laden with salads was proferred. kartofelsalat (potato salad) and nudelsalat (pasta salad) - according to D, the two stalwarts of german society. for all your archaic stereotypes of the hanseatic race, I was privy to a warm, welcoming and extremely polite party of germans who made the effort to engage in conversation despite language difficulty. T and I were also teased because we had woken up to visit the fischmarkt - most people end up at the fischmarkt after a night of boozing at the nearby reeperbahn. T and I just happened to fit in a night's sleep in between, which I thought most sensible.

t and I have shared, in the course of our friendship, the consumption (and the reminiscence) of many things unhealthy - bacon pancakes, Popeye's fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits from red lobster (and the associated (alleged) theft of our doggie bags by a law student) and many pao de queijos. we always marvel at how God worked, how life turned out, how our paths crossed the continents and how we would never have become friends if not for that year in hyde park. and I can think of nothing wurst (sic), than not having become friends with t.


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