One of the reasons I thought I’d want to come
here is that they eat food I like, and they eat plenty of healthy food. Anyplace whose default breakfast is whole
grain bread and cheese is aces in my book. Angry teenagers hanging outside the subway stops munch on dried apricots
while they drink their giant beers. Everyone is eating fresh fruit at the park and zoo. There are about 300 kinds of muesli at every
grocery store. Not so good for me, but at least “wholesome” is that
sweet jesus do they eat a lot of dairy. Ice cream, like beer, seems appropriate for any time of day. The yogurt section at the grocery store is epic.
“Spiese” seems to mean “food,” thus as near as I can tell, “spiesequark” indicates that it’s the food kind of quark in that package, not the sub-sub-atomic particle kind. Food-quark is a soft, spreadable cheese, probably made by draining yogurt until it’s a bit wetter than cream cheese. The plain kind is unsalted, and it comes in fruity and herby varieties. I’ve been eating it on rye bread, either with a bit of salt and sliced cucumbers, or with a thin layer of apricot jam underneath. For something so simple, it’s got a strange richness - a magnification of the flavor of yogurt, richness from protein rather than fat.
Even though it's in a beer bottle and has a bicycle on it and bikes are cool and combine well with beer, do not buy Radler “beer” thinking it’s beer. Attentive shoppers who are not easily swayed by a picture of a bicycle might notice that it says “Biermischgetränk” on the side of the bottle – the beery equivalent of “cheese food product.” It’s not that bad, it’s just shandy – beer and lemonade. I love shandy! Except when I’m expecting beer, then I nearly spit it out. Turns out it's a pun (everyone knows how much I like puns). "Rad" is appropriately "bike," and "Radler' is the name for shandy, hence the picture of the bike on the bottle.
One linguistic failure at the grocery store was balanced with success – I guessed right on “cultured butter” (it’s called something like sour cream butter). I made myself a lovely dinner with my successful shopping trip - it was inspired by a lunch I had last week at a place called maybe “noodles” or some such. I sautéed slivered green asparagus (white is very popular here but I find it creepy) and onions in the butter, tossed the veg with fresh prosciutto ravioli and a few spoonfuls of mascarpone (instead of cream so it wouldn’t curdle when reheated), and finished it with a handful of arugula. All the arugula here is like the wild stuff at home - spindly and very strong. It’s a nice counterpoint to all the animal fat I’m eating. Mmmm, fat.