View Full Version : Learn German by Cooking!

08-02-2011, 10:09 PM
This summer I am teaching a course, "German for Graduate Reading Knowledge" that is supposed to teach graduate students who don't speak German to nonetheless be able to read articles and other texts that might only be available in German. One of the things that they have to practice with is reading Fraktur, that old-timey printing style that was popular in Germany until the last hundred years when people finally realized it was a pain in the butt. Hardly anything is published in Fraktur these days, but I do happen to own a German cookbook from 1901 (my fiancee got it for me at a book auction for $1.50!) so one of the homework assignments that I made them do was practice reading and translating recipes. Finally, there is a small amount of extra credit available to those who want to demonstrate that they actually understood everything by cooking some of the food. Here are my own results for the recipes. (http://www.epicuriouswhores.com/2011/08/learn-german-by-cooking/) (link on account of the large number of photos.)

The sausage was good--very soft and tender (as one would expect from something that's cooked this way) although the sauce that went with it was less intense than I expected. The carrots were also good in a "this is so old-fashioned German it almost hurts" sort of way. The first things I'd do to bring that recipe into the 21st century would be to add white wine and capers and only cook the carrots until al dente. My grandma would have definitely approved of these things though!

The students have until the end of the week to try and do some cooking themselves and provide photo evidence (after all, pics or it didn't happen), so I'll be eager to see if anyone does it!

08-02-2011, 10:52 PM
What a great idea! Lessons are so much more effective if there is some reward at the end!

08-02-2011, 11:10 PM
After all, "Mann ist, was er isst." At which university do you teach?

08-03-2011, 01:25 AM
Nice way to approach the subject! Kudos!

08-03-2011, 02:53 AM
Ha, that's easy, I can read that perfectly fine :)


Eamon Burke
08-03-2011, 12:49 PM
That font is indeed killing me. But, I love German food.

08-03-2011, 01:00 PM
Oh lord. I'm having flash backs about wading through mounds of Fraktur for my thesis. Talk about eye-strain. Oh, and you've not read Hegel until you'd done so in Fraktur!:doublebanghead:

08-04-2011, 02:53 PM
Could be worse. You could have to read the pretty much the entire surviving archives of the Imperial and Royal Army from WW1............most written by hand in Kurrentschrift!!!! My adviser at University Of South Florida did that.

08-07-2011, 05:55 AM
Well, at least two of my students actually did the cooking, and both seemed really enthusiastic about it (one even went so far as to prepare the brats as the food for her housewarming party). I thought another might, but is seems like he didn't. I'll post some more pics later on!

After all, "Mann ist, was er isst." At which university do you teach?
I am currently teaching at Washington University in St. Louis, although my employment there will be ending at the end of this month (budget cutbacks and all that :( ). In the fall I will be teaching an online literature course for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as well as courses for the German School Association of St. Louis.

Ha, that's easy, I can read that perfectly fine
Well not all of us have made the same pact with devil as you Stefan... or should I say Faust? :ninja:

As for Hegel, that stuff is rough enough when read in an English translation printed in Times New Roman 12pt font, let alone Fraktur!

08-08-2011, 10:46 AM
Awesome idea. My professor would have likely made me read War & Peace instead of actually doing it. Just imagine if someone mistranslated sweet paprika for habanero pepper :happy2::happy2::happy2: