Another week here in California with mandatory stay at home policies in place. Last week, A and I started a new tradition for our quarantine: weekly travel themed date nights. Having enjoyed some of the wonders of France from home, this week it was on to my newly adopted country, Germany. (Yes I know it was supposed to be Italy, but the Metropolitan Opera schedule – see below – made us change for the week.)
I haven’t been to Germany since I was a kid, although I am now a citizen. However, I am bummed that my theoretical trip there this summer is not going to happen. (I realize it wasn’t really a trip cancelation, but in my mind it kind of was.) So a German date night was bound to be in the cards.
As with France night, our chosen activities are just a suggestion, and you can do anything you want, make whatever food you want, or otherwise customize this date night to your own interests, time constraints, etc… Please comment if you end up trying this, along with what you chose to do!
So what did our German date night entail? Here we go.
German-Themed Date Night
Eat: Spaetzle with Braised Cabbage and Turkey; and Apfelkuchen
Again, I took on the main course and A delighted us with her baking ability. Spaetzle is a free form pasta/dumpling hybrid made by running a thick batter through a – in my case – pasta strainer and into boiling water, creating these awesome little shapes that kind of remind me of the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon. For the cabbage, I used Napa cabbage, adding sugar, salt/pepper, garlic, onion, dill, coriander, and crushed red pepper to the braise and cooking it until tender. I added some ground turkey for protein and served it up casserole style.
Spaetzle is fun to say and eat!
Apfelkuchen is a traditional apple cake, and A nailed it (although I peeled and sliced the apples for her). It is shockingly moist and not overly sweet, although it could be given added moisture and sweetness by the addition of a glaze over the apples, as traditionally they are only coated with a bit of lemon juice.
We paired dinner with a nice stout beer which, although a bit on the bitter side for my taste, felt quite wonderfully German. Tonight’s leftovers will get a much more Jonathan-friendly pale ale with some fruity notes. Don’t make fun of me.
I love learning new card games. Skat is similar to bridge, but is played with the winner of what has to be the most complicated bidding system in the known universe playing one vs two with the other two players (it is a three person game). Seriously, in the online instructions, bidding is nearly two thirds of the focus. Unlike Mille Bornes last week, it is played with a normal deck of cards, so that part is a bit easier. My mom joined in to make the trio. A was at a bit of a disadvantage having never played bridge, but as I rarely beat her in games of any sort, I didn’t feel too bad.
Even though skat is about the points values of cards taken, rather than counting tricks, I still count mine bridge-style.
Learn: The History of Germany
The same guy from last week did another video on the history of Germany! It was also good, though not quite as funny. I found the part on the different German confederate states and principalities especially fascinating, and the statement that Austria (one of the biggest powers for a long time) was basically just another German state but outside the borders of the confederation. While perhaps true, it seems a bit of an oversimplification, although when you cover the entire history of a country from Roman times to now in under twenty minutes, simplifying is probably necessary.
Watch: Die Walküre
Did you know that the Metropolitan Opera is streaming free opera every day during the coronavirus? Well they are, and this was Wagner week. Yes, the man may have been a blatant anti-Semite, but the music is lovely, and this is probably his most famous work, featuring Ride of the Valkyries. The stream is more than four hours, so we didn’t finish. It is also in German sans subtitles, so we had to make do with picking out the few German words and phrases A could understand, and appreciating the voices and the spectacular set. (Seriously, the set was simple but incredible.)
Thanks to the Metropolitan Opera!
I know I said this last time, but next week will be an Italy themed date night, so tune back in for that one!
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