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Food and Thoughts

Updated on February 1, 2016

The Things I miss...

I can't hide that I love eating. But, then again, I grew up with a lot of home-grown, quality food! We still had butchers in Germany. And a lot of them weren't like the horrible factories and trucks you see going down the road.
Maybe because of the 'Schrebergaerten', maybe because money wasn't growing on all those trees you can see everywhere, a lot of people were growing their own food in their little garden paradises.
I don't know if you value it more, if you have to work for it. I think I do. The first time one of my children didn't want to eat the crust of the bread, I was a bit angry. I hate wasting things!

One thing I never did understand is why the selection of food is so limited over here! When I came to the U.S. I saw a lot of obese people. But my first visit to a store was rather disappointing. Don't get me wrong, I love my adopted Country. But if you ever have the chance to go into a German supermarket... you understand!

In Germany... you don't have to pay Gourmet prices or go to Gourmet stores to find a gigantic selection! You just go to your neighborhood Bakery, Butcher or similar!

Germany has 300 different kinds of bread...
Germany has 300 different kinds of bread... | Source


I remember standing in that store and looking at... no more than 10 types of cheese, ...8-10 types of lunch-meat (3 of them different types of ham), ..."White or Wheat"?

Money was always tight when I grew up! This was at the time when a Dollar was roughly 1.5 Deutsche Mark. A T-Bone was around DM 28 per Kilogram (or 2.2 lbs). I let you do the math!

People ate more lunch-meat and breakfast items. Meat itself was often very expensive, unless you drove to Poland and bought two giant geese for less than $10.

People valued their food more and were looking for affordable quality!

I used to tell people about the 30-40 types of bread I remember... 50-60 kind of lunch-meat or cheese...

Why can people get so obese with such a poor selection? ...And often not so great quality?!

When I saw this picture, I was blown away and my stomach started growling! And, having always thought that my estimate was close to the actual number, I was surprised to see that there are actually over 300 types of bread!

Why am I eating what we children used to call 'Toast'?

Or why do I have to pay more just to get a little more 'bird-food' in my bread!?

This makes me drool!
This makes me drool! | Source


I took a look around and saw the differences!

The Germany I remember still had a lot of 'Mom & Pops' store. Here in America it is different. When I looked around where I lived, there weren't that many small stores anymore. Everything seemed to be changing to the big department stores!

I always valued small stores! Everybody knows you and the Customer Service is ...Customer Service! People care and the 'How are you?' is an actual question, not a phrase!

It was one thing that bordered me! People would ask me "How are you?" and keep walking. Why ask me when you are surprised that I answer or don't want to hear the answer?

It was part of a picture!

It seems we are losing our values!

- Family meals are often replaced by work, soccer practice, college classes ...and junk food!
- Our Old are dumped into ...institutions, rather than being cared for by their family!
- We go to a 'Superstore' for all of our shopping needs; and buy often poor quality items!
-- I still have all those old-fashioned solid wood furniture pieces, but the new/pressed wood stuff has long been gone and replaced.
-- If you think Te-Fal here is like the high-quality stuff you remember from Germany... wrong! It's the same aluminium stuff you can buy with an American name on it... or is it China?
- Do you know the names of the people that helped you at the 'Superstore' and have you ever asked them "How are you?" and actually heard and responded to their answer?
-- The Lady at the register at the 'Superstore' has a husband that usually works there too. But right now he is fighting cancer! They are trying to get disability, but needed to get a lawyer. She gave me some great tips! Their car broke down and needed several thousands in repairs. So instead of making a house payment, she fixed the car! She needs it to get her husband to the hospital when he gets worse!
--- If my children ever act up at the store, she gives them one stern look! She raised EIGHT and knows everything there is to know about how to raise a child! A wonderful source of knowledge!

Look at that selection!
Look at that selection! | Source

It is all about money!

So why is it that we replaced the values of our history with the 'Superstore' mentality?

I remember getting into the Air Force and being drilled in history, pride in my service and uniform, duties and values. Not always openly, but by example!

Back then you were a good soldier or Airman, because you worked hard, displayed yourself and your uniform with standards and pride, and were a good soldier or Airman!

When I got out, one of the reasons I got out was because quality of work doesn't matter anymore! As long as you can pass the PT test and deploy for most of the year, you can be the biggest dirtbag on Earth!

It took me a while to understand why the people I respected got out!

I loved my time in the service! I worked with a lot of great people I came to respect! I miss working for Tracy Harris and Brent Sarver! I miss working for Colonel Lopez and Colonel Clayborne! I definitely miss working for Colonel Maxwell, who valued team work and the old values and standards; and promoted the old qualities that just don't seem to be there anymore! I miss working for him a lot when I look at a company I had to deal with that is non-profit and supposedly looking out for people; ...just not their own employees!

There is this tiny church in West Virginia! Its called Kadesh Chapel! Its up on 49 Hill going towards Apple Pie Ridge. There were roughly 16 people going when we lived there.
The offerings went to the poor and needy people! If the church needed fixed, we fixed it!
We would meet, have a potluck lunch, work together!

300 Brotsorten in Deutschland! I so love hearing that!
300 Brotsorten in Deutschland! I so love hearing that! | Source

Where is God?

I am not a very religious person and that has a reason!

The last time I went to church, after trying many different ones, the sermon was all about how much we should give and how it would pretty much buy our way into heaven! It was about Original Sin, a concept I don't believe in, and how we needed to 'pay' for our sins!

But, I do believe in God and my 'relationship' with 'him' is just fine without going to church and paying for 3 $150 flower arrangements that are changed weekly!

We lost our values within religion too!

God was in the oath I took when I joined the service! He was there with the soldiers that would stop their cars in the afternoon, get out, stand beside them in attention or with their hands on their heart, respect the flag; every day! He was there when I would load the 'boxes' on planes; rather than be in it!

I remember my first football game when we all got up together and respected the flag; said a prayer! It was an amazing sight!

So why is it that we take God out of our schools, court-houses, government? Doesn't especially the government need ...a little help right now?!

Why are we not teaching our children values and respect anymore, when the World they grow up in apparently lacks that much in the standards department?


Making things better...

When my Mother in Law bought me a bread machine I was first a bit taken back. Making bread in a machine? Where does the manual labor fit in?

But, being the lousy 'Chef' I am, I took advantage!

After the first few times of making the simple recipes out of that little booklet, I got a little more creative. I remembered the great breads of my youth and all the 'bird food' in them!

So I took a simple recipe for white bread and added all kinds of stuff to it.
- Raisin bread is just to die for! Add a bit more sugar and a ton of raisins or any other dried fruit and you have a great bread!
- Nuts are just a killer! There are so many different nuts out there that you can add to a loaf of bread and make it ten times better!
- Grains! The booklet or the Internet can give you some ideas on how to add or substitute grains/grains with flower.
- Seasoning! I have used different herbs and seasonings to make some awesome breads.
- Stuff it! You can either mix cooked/drained meats into the dough (make sure to reduce the oil you add to the recipe) or take your dough (after it is done mixing), stuff it with meats and such, and bake it in the oven. I did everything from wrapped hot dogs to ground turkey stuffed breads or even pizzas.


Create Values

But what does that have to do with values? ...You are creating them!

It is rare that we have the time and the peace to be together at home and do things together. And when my children have to work for certain things like cooking a meal, making 'Fleischsalat' or baking a bread, it seems to bring us together. And having to work hard to make it taste right, they learn that only hard work will get them good results.

Teamwork is a great thing and if you haven't experienced it, you really don't know how much you will miss it. We have created a society where Darwin is deeply involved. Capitalism has gotten us to where we are mainly out to help ourselves; ...and forgot how satisfying it is to help others! The survival of the Fittest is no longer a rule applying to Nature, but to humanity itself too!

I want my children to grow up and value the things they have; family, a home, friends, the things they worked for. I want them to look out for each other. And I want them to value the hard work 'Mom & Pops' put into whatever they sell; produced with hard work and bought with hard work! I think it will make it more worth to my children when they had to work for something!

And there is more....
And there is more.... | Source
Beautiful and tasty!
Beautiful and tasty! | Source
WOW! | Source

Look around you...

Especially if you live in an area that still has agriculture, look around you. You may be able to find the small to medium producers of local goodies. I know I have a small company in town that makes hams. Been told you can go there and buy them as a Jo Schmo.

Their quality is at least as good or even better than what you can buy at the 'Superstore' and the Customer Service is ten times better. They don't get paid for helping you, they are helping you because they care.

Show your children how it works! Show them that cheese doesn't necessarily come out of one end of a machine after dumping milk into the other. I wish I could take mine to the many places that produce their own chocolate, cheese, lunch meats, beer, wine, jams and baked goods.

Look at what you buy! We all bitch about the economy and how there aren't enough jobs. But we go to the 'Superstore' and buy things made cheaply and sometimes poorly in China, Taiwan, Korea and elsewhere.

A special assignment in my Environmental Science class had us go to a store of our choice to write down what was sold (agriculture) and where it came from. I do have to say that the certain 'Superstore' sold 90% of fruits and vegetables that were made in the U.S.! I was surprised and impressed.

Take your family into the kitchen and create meals together. If you have the chance, plant a small garden together. It can be as simple as planting some herbs or tomatoes in a few small pots in your kitchen window. Let your Grandma and Grandpa tell them stories from how they used to live and all the things they had or didn't have. Listen to your Elders sometimes and you may find some wisdom you can use. I was taught to respect my Elders, Policemen, Teachers and other people of legal authority.

Buy a yogurt maker and create your own flavors of yogurts with all kinds of berries, nuts and other goodies in them. Buy a ice cream maker and let your children create their own flavors with chocolate, candy, berries, fruit, nuts and more.

Let them experience how it feels to create something, rather than destroy something!

Teach them how to say Sir or Ma'am, hold a door open and get up in the bus when somebody needs a seat. Teach them how to respect the flag and our National Anthem; and be grateful for what they have!

Teach them how to respect those around them, no matter what Nationality, Color or Religion!

And lead by example!

German Food: Fleischsalat & Wurstsalat


Bake Your Own Soft German-Style Pretzel (Laugenbrezeln) Recipe in The Bread Kitchen


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    • Cat R profile imageAUTHOR

      Cat R 

      7 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      Looking it up right now. I am always for quick stuff that I can make in between college and work! Appreciate it!

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      7 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      I have a recipe for quick bread on a hub if you like that type. No kneading, just stirring. and really good. I love a good bread also and end up making it to get flavor. I don't like white bread at all. Boring.

    • Cat R profile imageAUTHOR

      Cat R 

      7 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      That sounds great! I am hoping to find all my parts for my bread machine again (we moved here over a year ago, but I still have unpacked boxes). We used to make our own bread daily.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      7 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Beautiful hub, I love to make cheddar bread. I just throw a cup or two of grated cheddar cheese in with my french bread recipe and knead it in. The sharp cheddar is best because it adds more flavor. I will shape it in several large circle loaves.

    • Cat R profile imageAUTHOR

      Cat R 

      7 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      I'm afraid I am like my Mom: I don't meassure. It's really up to your taste.

      I have a collection of different seasonings like Taco, Emerile's, Canadian Steak or Chicken Seasoning, 6 Pepper. I go to stores and look at their mixes, smell them, try them out. If you want to know if something would taste right with bread, sprinkle a little on a slice of bread similar to what you want to do.

      Provance or Italian Seasoning goes great with a recipe that has some garlic in it.

      I do a lot of try-outs as we call them. Never did have one that tasted bad, but I try not to go too outrages.

      You have to make sure that you don't add too much dry ingredients without reducing a bit somewhere else, since the recipe is mend to work in certain proportions. The same goes with the wet ingredients. If you add ground meat, you have to make sure it is drained and reduce the oil a little.

      Another thing I learned from my mom, which the booklet didn't say, is that yeast doesn't like salt, but will rise better with sugar. So I would add sugar and yeast together and let it do its thing; and add the salt on the end, if at all. I don't cook with salt anyway, but it is needed for certain 'themes' like a bread that would go great with pasta.

    • MarloByDesign profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      I have never made bread, but want to - and try your suggestion "Seasoning! I have used different herbs and seasonings to make some awesome breads." Do you have any recipes? Or recipe websites you recommend?

    • manthy profile image


      7 years ago from Alabama,USA

      Cool Hub - Voted up and interesting

    • Cat R profile imageAUTHOR

      Cat R 

      7 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      In a way I envy you. I only know the Tex-Mex kitchen, but I loved it and the great use of pretty much anything and everything!

      The Tex-Mex food I remember was always fresh and full of a great selection of ingredients.

      It is one thing I miss here in North Carolina. I am used to being able to go to a regular store and find anything needed to cook the tortillas, quesadillas, burritos and more. Or I could go to a simple drive-by (shooting... We called it that!) and get a giant burrito for a dollar.

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 

      7 years ago from Mexico

      This is a very interesting hub. I really think that the main focus of our lives has become money and we invest almost all our time trying to make more. Sad but true, and unfortunately, many times it can´t be helped, we simply need money for practically everything. No time for relationships, no time for deep rooted friendships, no time for family, no time for kindness. We really should start thinking about changing this.

      I live in Mexico City and we are bombarded by American exports that are sold at the big stores you described; as a result, we don’t have an independent economy and suffer year after year from financial havoc. On the bright side, we still have a great variety of fresh affordable produce that makes my life happy because I love eating healthy fresh wholesome food. Bread isn’t as nice as in Germany though, but this is understandable since Mexican culture has other staple foods replacing bread. Same as you, I am crazy about whole grain bread enriched with all kinds of seeds, nuts and dried fruit, delicious!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • gailalovesbijou profile image


      7 years ago from Wyomissing, PA

      Thoughtful and compelling. Everyone is too busy in our American culture. It's so important to be present in everything we do, to take the time to look into people's eyes, to make the food we eat. We do go to the local farmers market when we can; we used to go with our children when they were young. My favorite point that you made was leading by example. So very important! I have tried to model a certain way of life for my children, and I sometimes wondered if it was going in one ear and out the other, but now that they are in their late teens and coming into themselves, I see how much I have influenced them. Voted up and interesting. Thank you!


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