It was on the menu of the day, Einbeinsülze mit Bratkartoffeln.
Now, I love me some Bratkartoffeln, but this Einbeinsülze, what, where, how? I turned to Johnna, trusted friend and arbiter of all things good here in Germany.
“Pig knuckle,” she surmised.
I put in my order expecting pig knuckle, something akin to what Steve here enjoyed. I love taking chances on the unknown dish. But the plate that arrived quickly changed things.
My brother* is the world’s biggest fan of Better Home and Gardens’ Cookbooks from the late 60s when brilliant photography joined forces with adventurous typography and whimsical drawings to create something beyond cookbooks, more like works of art. We often tittered over the photos of ‘aspics,’ meat and vegetables encased in gelatin molds.
Who would eat this? Why would you do this? Can God exist in a world where this would be allowed?
Based on what was brought to the table, I can neither disprove the existence of God nor confirm why he would ever do such a thing if he was even here. The bratkartoffeln were handily cared for and had those specks of black on a crispy, edge that softened on bite giving way to a delicate, flavorful potato delight.
But what was this thing beside the fried potatoes? Being a beginner in a language, it’s exciting to take a dare, make a leap and jump through the flaming hoop you’re presented with (see the previous post on stage fright at a picnic table).
While others questioned whether I really wanted to commit to this choice, I dove in with only slight hesitation. The weird thing was that it really did have flavor. It may have been a trick by the clear gelatin; the way that Pepsi Clear, by it’s very lack of color, seemed as if it should lack any flavor at all.
But then I bit into some of those bits of pig knuckle and knew I was in flavor town. Hammy, smoked knuckle accompanied by vinegary bits of pickle pop in your mouth and make you forget that it’s all contained in this gelatainous mash.
Who thought this crap up anyway?