MARCH 1, 2012 10:48AM

ICH BEIN EIN AMERIKANER

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Gotta recount my trip in order. So...to finish the saga of the German sausage.

Desnee, are you there?

Couple things I forgot. James asked if I'd brought a book. Indeed, and paper-and-ink at that (while all about me people were reading off their e-books). I brought le Carre's Tinker Tailor (and left pages behind all over the place - it was an old, fragile paperback). But I checked out the computer on the back of the seat in front of me and, reminiscing about another trip with my daughter, to Egypt, dialled up a documentary about the sphinx. Dumb doc, of course – but I could hear every word. That encouraged me to try a movie. Well, with movies people speak differently, imitating 'natural' speech, and that requires sitting hunched over with fingers keeping the earpieces well wedged into ears. So: discomfort or miss half the dialogue. But I got hooked on some kind of political thing with Geo Clooney playing a Kennedyesque character. So then I decided to try Moneyball, just to see Stephen Bishop, son of a certain OSer. Not bad, despite a terribly perky Brad Pitt, and baseball (sports is not an interest of mine, to put it politely), and Stephen didn't show until about a third of the way thru...and the flight was over before he got to do anything but deliver a few lines and a determined practice swing.

 Steven-C-Bishop-198x300

Lovely to look at, tho. Yum. (I hope Lezlie isn't too grossed-out by an old lady drooling over her boy...)

Anyway, the plane deposited us at the hub of the world, air-travel-wise at least, the Frankfurt airport and, as recounted previously, we had to trek all the way from Gate A1 to A42, beyond the food stands. So, when we got to the gate, my daughter checked on how long we had and, reassured, went off to find one of those hermetically sealed glass cages for smokers. I told her to get me a sausage if she saw one.

Meantime, I tried to get onto the internet, me and another woman at the next table. However, if you haven't got a mobile ID, forget it. Even if you have one, like my neighbour, you still might not get on. But then my daughter returned. And put a paper plate in front of me. Vass eess dass? I cried. She said she'd gone to the only stand in the vicinity of the smoking box, run by a Chinese guy, who didn't seem to know what she wanted (the Frankfurt airport should not give licenses to food-stalls who don't know from a German sausage, for chrissake!), but eventually produced a couple of weiners. Bunless weiners. But with one of those enormous dough pretzels on the side. YOU VILL HAFF A PRETZEL! She got him to add some hot peppers, since she knows I like hot and that might mollify my outrage.

 

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The cup says (by translation on the back) that the next cup of coffee you'll have will be in bed.  ??   It was cappuccino out of a machine.  Free, tho.

Okay, so the weiners were good. Or should I call them frankfurters, given that we weren't in Vienna. The hot pepper didn't go too well with them, so I left most of it. I picked the huge crystals of salt off the pretzel and ate that. On the way back, I vowed, on the way back.

Famous last words.

On the way back, we had to go to the Barcelona airport early, to accommodate everyone's flight times. The Barcelona airport is a splendid example of modern Spanish design (I'm assuming). Clean simple lines, lots of windows, enormous squares of dark marble for the floor. Fine by the windows. But I wandered off to the central area to check out shops, and there, where it's relatively dark, the extremely shiny dark marble gave the impression of water...slightly disorienting. A woman on a marvelous motorized mop continuously polished the floor, maintaining the illusion.

I bought another Gaudi book. I had one on The Complete Gaudi, but now I picked up one dedicated to the park. And a bag. I liked my carry-on, especially for the way it accommodated my laptop and i-pad. But it didn't have enough pockets. Too much rummaging amongst stuff and only every second day finding my eye-liner. This bag (at outrageous airport price, for which I beg the forbearance of my Scottish forebears – Sally Ann no longer good enough for you?!) but it livens up my otherwise all-black Italian widow's ensemble (no worries about mismatched outfits, and besides it's slimming), and it has pockets for everything! End pockets for toiletries and camera stuff. Two front large pockets for a camera and video, also flashlight, small upper pockets for hearing-aid & batteries and pills. Other side, big pocket for le Carre, also passport and boarding pass when needed, above it a tiny pocket where I put my park&fly card, medium pocket for receipts, and beneath it lower rectangular pocket for glasses. More pockets inside for bills and change, both Euros and Canadian, extra glasses, pen, car key... And the computer fits inside fine. (Tho next time, if there's a next time – and with this wonderful bag, there'd better be – I'll just take the i-pad I think...)

 

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Okay, back to the gate. By the way, you need a mobile ID to access the WIFI in the Barcelona airport too. Anyway, back to the saga: My daughter complained that there's no clocks. I guess they'd spoil the sleek uncluttered look of the place. (Sleek and uncluttered just mocks us bedraggled travellers.) I finally found that there are digital time read-outs discreetly located on the boards that give you gates and times. Which boards are sleek and free-standing, unlike those overhead things in less fashionable airports.

She also pointed out that the P.A. announced at intervals that it would be giving no damned announcements, cluttering up the sleek empty air with the usual airport squawks and crackle. Turns out there are also sleek free-standing info boards, with touch screens, one of the choices being boarding times. And, hallelujah, it also turns out that if you are in the vicinity of your gate around the proper time, there are quiet, discreet, localized PA announcements.

Anyway, we get to Frankfurt. My heart sank at the realization that our gate this time was B-42. But, thank god, we didn't have to start at 1, and the gate was close to where the bus left us....and there was a proper sausage stand close by.

Damn. If I'd just settled for a bratwurst. I fully intended to. But listed on the board was also a curry sausage. How could I resist? There were also lots of pre-made enormous sandwiches...including “the Strong German” with roast pork and horseradish. But, no, I'd go for the curry sausage. Are there no actual Germans in the Frankfurt airport protecting their culinary heritage? The guy behind the counter was African, and the two women with him were Chinese. But that doesn't really account for a curry sausage, does it?

Anyway, that's what I ordered, and the guy grabbed (eek) a very long weiner and (eek) shoved it into a thing that chopped it into bite-sized pieces and (EEK) ladled barbecue sauce on it, threw a bun on the side.

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Cappuccino accompaniment.

My own fault. Next time in the Frankfurt airport I SWEAR I'm gotta get me a proper German sausage.

(Full disclosure - on some trip, where we had to stay overnight, we actually went into the city of Frankfurt and got a proper sausage-filled German dinner, mitt beer, so I'm not totally deprived.  Or depraved.)

Oh, and the curry sausage, as far as I could tell under the barbeque sauce, tasted like a regular weiner.

Good tho.

Okay, you're wondering maybe where the title of this post comes from. Back, back, to the beginning of our journey. From Frankfurt, we boarded a Lufthanser to Madrid, and midway they served a meal. The main course at first glance looked like (eek) poutine. It was french fries and, as it turns out, some chicken balls, with a dollop of some kind of cheese/egg/pasta mixture on top.

For dessert was a biscuit, sort of orange-flavoured and coloured, shallow-dome shape like a fried egg, with hard white icing on the flat side. It was called, by the package, an Amerikaner.

Just because I've never seen anything like that in any of my ventures into Amerika doesn't mean anything...

 

OKAY! - Next post giffs der some actual Spain, with Spanish food, Spanish coffee, Spanish vistas, cathedrals and people!  Ole!

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Wunderbar! Brings back memories, Myriad. I lived in Germany for a year (Fulbright scholar, me), worked as a teaching assistant in a German high school. Ich liebe Wurst! Prosit!
Well, if I'd googled first I would have had some info on amerikaners.

"There are two theories of how they came to be named Amerikaner. Either they were brought to Germany by the GIs after the war, or they were named Ammoniakaner for ammonium hydrogen carbonate, or "Hirschhornsalz", which was used as a leavening agent. This seems like a stretch to many people.

It is known that New York City has the same cookies called "Black and Whites" and they might first have traveled to the US with Jewish immigrants before traveling back to Germany. In the last decades they have dropped the chocolate glaze in favor of an all white glaze."

This from http://germanfood.about.com/od/baking/r/Amerikaner_Cookies.htm.
On a recent episode of either No Reservations or the Layover, Anthony Bourdain was in Berlin. Apparently the currywurst is what the native Germans prefer. They've been consuming them for many years. It was definitely portrayed as 'what the locals eat'. I'd never heard of such and thought it very interesting. To them, the curry sausage is the proper German sausage.
Good read... and I love your pic of that beautiful young man... how I envy him. If only I could have his body, mine is so broken and old... does that make me a vampire at heart?

OMoM
Desert - for heaven's sake! After reading your comment, I googled currywurst and, if I'd done that beforehand, I wouldn't have been surprised! The illos are just like mine!
jmac - Lezlie will be really disturbed by our discussions of her son...

Don - you'll eat anything, then. (Me too.)
Why did you pick the salt crystals off your pretzel - they're the best part!

Barbecue sauce isn't curry. :\
Cup Cake - I have further checked on Google. Here's a recipe:

Directions

Preheat oven to Broil/Grill.
Pour tomato sauce into a large saucepan, then stir in the chili sauce, onion salt, sugar and pepper. Let simmer over medium heat, occasionally stirring; bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, broil/grill kielbasa sausage for 3 to 4 minutes each side, or until cooked through. Slice into pieces 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick.
Pour tomato sauce mixture over sausage, then sprinkle all with paprika and curry powder and serve.

My note - SPRINKLE WITH CURRY POWDER?
Further on currywurst, shedding light on my abysmal ignorance of German sausagery:

The Deutsches Currywurst Museum opened in Berlin on August 15, 2009, commemorating the 60th anniversary of its creation.[3] Curator Martin Loewer said "No other national German dish inspires so much history and has so many well-known fans".[6]

The currywurst is also regularly featured in school books and nursery books.

A CURRYWURST MUSEUM!!
Good Lord, getting a bratwurst with pom fritz (not sure if that is correct spelling) spicy mustard and roll has become an international game of intrigue I see. Good things my memories are quite vivid.
Und now, because of zis blog, I VILL HAFF A PRETZEL!
I never heard or had a curry wurst in the years that we lived there never even knew they existed.
You're a better woman than I am. I would have eaten the salt, then watched my ankles blossom! It never ceases to amaze me that food in the airports of the country in which you are, serve food that seems a ghost of the real stuff.
Too bad you missed Stephen's big scene with The Brad, but thanks for posting his mug shot. I am getting used to women of all ages "drooling over my boy." We old-timers still have the ability to appreciate eye candy, after all. :D

Lezlie
Desnee - Never heard of currywurst either? And you lived there? I feel slightly better about my ignorance of a fine old and wide-spread German tradition. But next time - a proper bratwurst on a bun, accept no substitutes...

Chiller - Und you vill enCHOY

Chrissie - I don't happen to like salt, except on french fries...and I hardly ever eat french fries. N'less, I had an ankle-swelling incident in mid-week which scared me - never had happened to me before. Still some residual...
Lezlie - On the trip home I should have tried watching the movie again, to catch the last half. But I was lying down on spare seats - as mentioned to Chrissie above, I had a bout of edema, and trying to keep my feet up. I'll try to catch it elsewhere...I think I saw it listed on cable a while back...
Yay!! You're back!! I missed you!!

Back to the business of commenting. Those wieners look gross, I would have starved, and don't tell Lezlie, but I too get a little drooly over her son. The new purse is pretty!
No salt on the pretzel, no hot peppers, cappuccino from a vending machine. Oy Vey, Myriad, Oy Vey!
Greenheron - Happy to BE back. The wieners were actually okay - better, it seems, than the local variety...tho it's been so long since I've had one here...

Jack - I know, I know. I'm verklempt.
If you are gonna try to do the "German" thing, check your spelling. You don't want to look like a moronic American do you?
BJ - Ah, but when I deliberately being moronic, getting the spelling wrong is a bonus!
Girl knows how to live!
Michael - I try! Cuz the opposite is just 'round the corner.
I have the travel bug now~it all sounds great to me!
Buffy - wait until I get outta the airports and into Spain!
Seer - Yup, Stephen B. yummy, currywurst dubious.
I always like the travelogue post Myriad. I really liked Moneyball. To my non-baseball fan friends I'd explain as a story arc of Galileo versus the Church with baseball being the setting. Looking forward to Spain.
Abrawang - Gotta admit that in the section I saw there was very little actual baseball. I could see it as a conflict/human-interest thing. I'll watch for it on TV.
Now you've got me craving an Auntie Anne's pretzel. How about sauerbraten? Did you eat any sauerbraten? Wienerschnitzel? Spaetzle? What about dessert - how about some black forest cake? You should write a book about your travels called "Eat, Eat, Eat." Praying and loving can wait til you get back. I don't really care about what you did, just what you ate.
I love that bag. And the best "scenery" is in your first picture. (Lezlie, if you're reading this, I mean that in a maternal, protective kind of way. Sure I do.)
GAHHH. I remember a restaraunt at that airport that took forever to get to, but the food was over the top. SFO, CHI, JFK...they all had the,food. Then it turned to crap. Do it right...ask the G.I.s hugggs and r
Gaudy and hotdogs...Oh what a trip! Thanks for sharing and more...
Great idea, Margaret: Eat Eat Eat (burp). I do very little praying and loving anyway. But hey, however many hours one is stuck in the Frankfurt airport is not enough time to seek out spaetzle and black-forest. Hmm...I see a trip to Germany is a necessity. C/w a visit to THE Venus of Willendorf - her physique will just spur me on... Anyway, my current thing is TRUCK STOPS. The Italian and French truck stops were a revelation...and guess what: the best meal I had in Spain was in a Spanish truck stop.

Zuma - Chicago airport is kinda full of sights and smells, but I only once indulged (in some kinda of Chinese)...but once upon a time, AIRPLANES served good food. Boy, is that day past. But, see above, My current passion is TRUCK STOPS. At least foreign truck stops. tho there used to be one just off the 401 at, forget the name of the town, that had wonderful chicken...

Algis - I think I've thoroughly done the hot dogs now. Gaudi to come.
I am crazy about that bag. Looks handpainted and will last a long time.
Sounds like you are on quite an adventure.
I drove up the coast of Maine once to try a lobster roll in every town.
Blue Hill won the self directed contest.
Happy travels.
rated with love
Sie sind ein Amerikaner? Ja vohl! 8-)
I love reading about your airport experiences. I'm going to be flying alone in a week and a half and I"m going to imagine you're with me, making your observations and buying cool purses and going on a (fruitless alas) quest for German sausage. If I'd been there, I would have totally stolen a bite of your pretzel - one of my all-time favorite foods. :-)
Miguela - I'm very happy with the bag. Perfect weekender all by itself, too.

Romantic - Making a note: Blue Hill.

Steel - whatever.

Victor - not actually.

Alysa - airports are bearable if you make an effort to find something interesting. Doesn't always work! Bring a book!