Pushing the potato boundaries and hiking in Bavaria
by Heidi Obermeyer
Last night I was going through my pictures trying to pick out some to get printed for Christmas presents. Besides giving me the lingering fear that nobody but me would like any of my photos, the experience also gave me a major craving for some German potato salad, which is unlike any that I have found across the globe. They do some kind of mysterious vinegar, oil, and potato magic and suddenly you’re experience some sort of light culinary masterpiece that’s about as far away from creamy American potato salad as you can get. Once, I was helping to make potato salad with Liz (the mastermind behind the German apple cake recipe of the gods) and was revealed to be a total kitchen wimp as she peeled potatoes faster than I will probably do anything in my life besides polish off a pan of brownies. Not only did she peel those potatoes in a timely manner, but she also did it with a simple paring knife, one of those tools of yore that nobody my age really knows how to use because somebody made one that’s even more efficient- the peeler. So when I offered to help Liz, what I really ended up doing was standing in the kitchen next to the stove trying not to cut my fingers off and being essentially no help at all. My favorite part of helping Liz is how stressed out she is about my non-traditional kitchen skills. I’m pretty sure I almost gave her a heart attack when I tried to peel the potatoes away from my body instead of pulling the knife across the potato towards me- looks like years of parent paranoia when I was a kid along the lines of “cut away from yourself!” doesn’t fly in a German kitchen. In conclusion, potato salad is delicious and I like helping in the kitchen. Weren’t we supposed to be talking about mountains?
These photos are from a day spent hiking and eating Bavarian food in Garmisch Partnachkirchen with Emily when she visited me in June/July. The Bavarian mountains are at their peak (har har!) of beauty in the summer, and there’s nowhere else I’d rather spend a day galavanting through hayfields than the hillsides of Bayern. I have an obsession with how green everything gets in Europe in the summer- growing up in a dry place will do that to you- and love how luscious it all looks. Emily and I walked through the Partnachklamm (which I’d visited before) and then up to a mountaintop eatery for some lunch. These casual “huts” serve all kinds of hearty food, and we got the real Bavarian experience by eating Wurstsalat (sausage salad), Leberkäse (a slice of meatloaf) and potato salad. Another fun thing to get while hiking is Skiwasser (ski water), the contents of which vary from hut to hut but generally tend to include some light fruit juice or flavor and sparkling water. Overall it was a wonderful day, and we made it down the mountain just as it started raining for the 1.5 hour train trip back to Munich. On the home front, it’s reading week this week in Bath (no classes, hooray!) but I have a LOT of work to do (and I don’t say that lightly). I’ll probably be back to the blog next week after I turn in a few papers and write up my final thesis idea (ack!). Wish me luck and have a wonderful, potato-peel-free week!