Tuesday, June 4, 2013

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Back from Berlin, Trouble with the Language

Lili Von Shtupp: Would you like another schnitzengruben
Sheriff Bart: No, thank you. Fifteen is my limit on schnitzengruben.

~ Blazing Saddles (1974)

I've been away for a bit in Germany and Holland where I ate, drank, and hit up old bookstores. More on that later. On our first day in Berlin, the boys were exhausted after an overnight train from Munich left everyone considerably less rested than we had hoped we'd be. While they trundled off to bed, I bundled up and headed into the rain to hunt for liquor and sausage-making books.

On returning to the hotel, one of them asked me whether I'd found anything good. "Oh, yeah," I enthused, pulling out a few old books from their rain-flecked paper wrappers. "Check it out. Bowlen und PünscheDie Fabrikation feiner Fleisch- und Wurstwaren, and a nice copy of Das Getränkebuch by Franz Josef Beutel and Hans Krönlein."

He blinked, propped up on one elbow and still freighted with sleep. Blinked again. "All I heard was 'Blau, blau, blau, bitte schön, gau, gau, Schnitzengruben."

German, it seems, falls harshly on some ears. The recipes will go into rotation this summer. Let's hope they are better received.

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