The thing about living abroad is that you are bound to make friends from all different countries. In Ireland, it was a little different, since my friends turned out to be, for the most part, Irish and American. Down here in Spain, we know a bevy of people that form a group of nationalities: Spanish, Portuguese, British, Russian, Dutch, and a large group of Germans. Well, our German friends decided to have a little party last night to celebrate a popular German cuisine: schnitzel.
According to my research online, there are debates about where schnitzel originated. Some say it appeared in Vienna, Austria during the 15th or 16th century, thus making it a traditional Austrian dish. Others say that it could have been brought to Austria during the Battle of Vienna by German or Polish troops. Either way, it’s very popular in all of these aforementioned regions and can now be found all over the world. In Austria, schnitzel is traditionally made with veal. In Germany, it’s traditionally made with pork. The process for making schnitzel is to thin the boneless meat with a mallet, coat it in bread crumbs, and then fry it. It is commonly served with a lemon slice and potatoes with parsley and butter. Another little known fact that I learned in my research is that chicken fried steak may have originated in the United States when Austrian or German immigrants came to Texas. Yee-haw!
Well I can’t imagine a better way to try schnitzel for the very first time than to go over to my friend Tina’s apartment and let a group of Germans prepare it. Seriously, Tina had warned me that it’s a messy, crazy, and enjoyable experience, and I got to be a part of it firsthand. Only a glance into the kitchen helped me appreciate the process behind making schnitzel for a large group of people. Each slice of pork was prepared individually in a made-to-order fashion – simply meaning that you had to get in line and wait your turn!
While waiting, we all sipped on German beer and munched on appetizers. There were multiple kinds of potato salads, my favorite being one made with some sort of spicy mustard. As each plate of schnitzel made its way out of the kitchen, my stomach started to rumble even harder. And when it was finally my turn, my girlfriends gathered around to see if I thought it was as great as everyone had made it out to be. No worries, it was delicious. I noticed that it wasn’t just a piece of fried meat; the breadcrumbs were seasoned to add more depth to the flavor and once the lemon was drizzled in full capacity, each citrusy bite was great. Even better, one portion size was enough to feed two people, so I was able to enjoy it for quite a bit. 🙂
Sure, Tina’s kitchen was a disaster area by the end of the night, but they were still going strong with the frying pan even when Matt and I decided to leave – at midnight. Knowing people from all different parts of the world is really a neat experience, especially when they invite you to their home for a traditional meal. Do not worry, we’ve shared our culture, as well – when Matt and I had our housewarming party, we made tex-mex tacos, chili con queso, and we fired up the grill for American hot dogs. So whether it be schnitzel or hot dogs, cultural cuisine nights are ranking as some of my favorite!