Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kochen mit Peter - "cooking with Peter"

So, who is Peter, you ask?  Peter is the master chef at Sonne, our town's local gasthaus and brewery, which also happens to be our favorite German restaurant in the area.  Peter has two children that go to school with little r, so we have become familiar acquaintances over the past year or so.  We pride ourselves in the fact that we are considered somewhat "regulars" at Sonne.  It was super intimidating to eat there when we first moved to Bischberg.  The staff speaks barely a lick of English (a common theme in this small little town), and they are accustomed to tourists.  We have found that they have grown appreciative of our business and even moreso of our attempts at learning German.

All that aside, why was I cooking with Peter?  My friend Nina brought my attention to an invitation from Peter to all the parents at the kindergarten to spend an evening learning how to cook his specialties.  Primarily, his stuffed schnitzel.  Sound amazing? That's because it truly is.  Well, for us meat-eaters anyway...  Nina had gone last year to this cooking event with Peter last year and said it was a good time, so I figured, "why not?".

My original hope was that both Big R and I could go together.  The stuffed schnitzel at Sonne is one of his favorites, and I thought he would get a kick out of learning how it's made.  But, my ability to find a babysitter at the last minute and his insane trial schedule this month, made it easy for me to go on my own.

I was glad to have Nina there to help me interpret all that was going on.  Although I found that I was doing ok with my German, she definitely made certain things much more beneficial because I got a deeper understanding of what all we were doing.

Peter had us actually helping him prepare the food. That was comical being that there were 8 women in his tiny kitchen.  Seriously, I had no idea how small the kitchen was in that place until last night. I'm perplexed how they operate so efficiently when they have a packed house, and that is a common occurrence! We were all over each other, and honestly, pretty clueless.  Nina and I were put on soup duty, so we were peeling and cutting vegetables.  My hands still smell like onions.  When it came time for doing the schnitzel filling, Peter had us step out of the way and he took over.  It was a crazy show to watch how it all came together.  Nothing fancy, actually. In fact, I was more caught off guard by how simple the operation was for something that tastes so fantastic!

The best part was getting to eat all the food.  We started with the tomato soup, which begins with a "squirt" of cream in the center of the bowl, and the soup is gently poured around the outside and garnished with basil and croutons. It was amazing!!! (and vegetarian to boot)  Peter made 10 different styles of schnitzel with different cuts of meat and filling.  I felt as though I hardly tried any of them, but I was so incredibly full I thought I would bust.

The food was incredible, but my favorite part of the evening was sitting down at the table to eat and listening to everyone discuss German.  They talked politics, food, children, kindergarten, school, difficult life choices... it was a crazy evening of discussion.  Crazy only for me because I was trying intently to follow it all.  I spoke very little throughout the entire night, but my brain was on overload taking it all in and trying to interpret all that was being said. It was somewhat exhausting, but exhilarating at the same time.

This evening is definitely up there as one of the best, most authentic German moments, and I think it will stay embedded in my memory for quite awhile.  I'm hoping that by writing this post I won't forget all of the details or that it happened.  Hopefully we'll be able to stay in Bamberg for another year and I'll be able to bring Big R to the event this time next year.

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