Julia Child in Germany: Sauerkraut and Sausage

Besides her thoughts on being a trailing spouse who is learning German, Julia Child also has some rather cutting observations about Germany. Her correspondent can’t help but pick up through her letters that she’s not thrilled with her new surroundings, asking “Is there nothing to be had in Deutschland except sauerkraut and sausage? I never heard anything so depressing.”

Julia shows little signs herself of strongly disliking Germany, but she does spend some time dissecting Germany’s public image following the war:

“There comes another psychological pattern that I shall have to deal with. How can Germans, who are, as I know, monstrous people, be lovely people. Or are they not monsters.”

She repeatedly admires the industrious and hardy spirit of the country, especially in contrast to France:

“And now I am beginning to see why such importance has been put upon Germany. It is incredible to realize to what an extent they were battered and flattened, yet one does not have the impression, now, of a war-torn country.”

However, she notes that a lot of her acquaintances can’t stand it there and dislike various aspects of German culture, to various degrees. “I still have met no one who so loved Germany he wanted to live here forever.”

Don't forget, there's also spaetzel.

Don’t forget, there’s also spaetzel.


8 responses to “Julia Child in Germany: Sauerkraut and Sausage

  1. I believe that we all way too often only see cliches of different people/cultures and only when we get to know thes people/cultures more intimately – and that means travelling there or, even better, living there for quite some time – we change our opinions from “cardboard” cliches to a differentiated view. I always tell my friend Mike here, when he asks me something like, “What do the Germans think about …”? that there is no such entity as THE Germans and that I can only tell him what I think, and maybe what SOME fellow Germans think, but that’s all.
    And I must admit that – a long time ago – I did have those prejudices and/or cliches about foreign countrys myself. Well, I’m happy I’ve learned differently.
    Best regards from southern Texas,
    P.S.: Oh, forgot – thanks for the enlightening post!

    • Thanks, Pit! I hate fielding those same questions about America – mostly because it’s way too massive to give an accurate answer. “We” have every kind of food, “we” listen to every kind of music and “we” have every single opinion about anything you can think of 🙂 Thanks for reading!

      • Very good point, Sam. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gotten into lengthy conversations that started by talking about “American Style Pizza.”

        Never mind the fact that I can think of at least four different types of Pizza that are common in the US without breaking a sweat… the German view of America is often hilariously wrong.

        Then again, when most Americans picture Germany, they think of lederhosen, beer, Oktoberfest…

        Ah, stereotypes.

      • You’ve reminded me how much I crave American style pizza…any version is fine by me 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

    • I’ve had Sauerkraut that was amazing! Unfortunately, it was cooked by someone else at a food and wine festival. If I knew how to do it right, we would eat it more often, but it’s not that appealing in its “natural” state.

  2. The photo makes it look not so great, but that is actually one of the best meals we’ve had so far in Germany! Spaetzel, beef goulash, Preiselbeeren, baked cheese and a cold beer…mmmm.

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