Why this page?

This page is about my love for the history of German cooking, and I want to share that interest with others.

So what is it with “German cooking in Europe and the world”?

There really is no one German cuisine. There are German cooking traditions, though, and however much they differ by region, there are certain common traits. Many of these are owed more or less directly to the fact that these traditions are German. Not German in the sense of a national border, but German in the sense of their cultural transmission. Their recipes are German, they are recorded in German media and taught, formally or informally, in German. That is German cooking.

No culinary tradition exists in isolation. The German-speaking world lies at the centre of Europe and is part of its culture. The same is true of German cooking: it is a European tradition that freely crosses borders. There is no point arguing over whether sauerkraut is ‘really’ choucroute or who ‘stole’ what recipe. Tracing these connections across national borders is important, though, and it is what I try to do. Few culinary traditions can be understood in isolation, and Germany’s certainly cannot.

And finally, the world: Culinary influences are global today, and have been for much longer than most people realise. German cuisine took in influences from outside Europe at least since Neolithic farmers brought agriculture from the Fertile Crescent, and it continues to adopt ingredients and practices from everywhere eagerly and often creatively. At the same time, German cuisine has its own global reach. It may be more modest than the world-spanning presence of the French, Persian, or Chinese traditions, but it is real and I hope to trace part of it.

Above all, what can make this website useful is the ability to give access to sources. Many culinary historians read French or Italian, almost all read English. Few read German. By finding sources, translating them and putting them in their context, I hope to help broaden horizons in European culinary history.