Sitting in a McDonald in Alexander Platz, you’re flipping through the guide downloaded from the Internet about the things to do absolutely when you are abroad.
With your finger soaked in ketchup you go to page 4, the one dedicated to local gastronomy and give a jump! It’s your third day in the German capital, you have rushed all the McDonald’s and Burger King in the area, your friend is taking the shape of a cheese burger but, damn laziness, you have not tasted a typical German dishes yet.
So you think about Montaigne, Montesquieu and some other philosopher who wrote an aphorism about knowing different traditions and, hurrah hallelujah, go to the closest restaurant searching for the lost traditional dish.
The Berlin cuisine is simple, rich, with no frills, and the dishes have names that might intimidate one of the protagonists of “The Expendables”.
But once you learn the pronunciation – worst case scenario you can always slide the paper in the safe hands of the waiter and give them an embarrassed smile – you’re ready to move from Schlesisches himnemelreich (fillet of pork cooked in the oven with dried fruit) to the unpronounceable Kartoffelpuffer mit Apfelmuß (behind this tongue twisters it hides a delicious potato pancake with apple sauce)
If the long names scare you, you can always try with the shorter Sauerampfersuppe, the “sorrel soup” and leave the restaurant with an intellectual satisfied look on your face and your stomach in full shape.
It is worth a try, to risk, to know, to experience.
After all, food is culture and eating means “to incorporate a territory” (Jean Brunhes).
Are you with us? So good exploration and enjoy your meal!