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Old 08-02-2014, 06:24 PM   #1
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Comparing high German vs. low German cooking

I am not exactly sure where this belongs, so I will let the admin people move it wherever. It is about comparing hoch deuch vs. platt deuch [high vs. low german cooking]. Suffice it to say they are very different. The recipe my mother gave me many years ago for potato salad was nothing like what I see in recipes now. It used no sugar or vinegar and definitely no mustard. It was not that complicated. The list was potatoes, hard boiled eggs, crisp bits of bacon [and you can cheat and add some bacon grease], onions, celery, mayonaise [no miracle whip]pickles and the list can go on, but no sugar and no vinegar, that's for low germans. I am not saying their food is bad, just a little strange.

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Old 08-02-2014, 06:41 PM   #2
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I'm not sure how to respond to your post. Is there a question or....?

The American cuisine has many geographical differences also.
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Old 08-02-2014, 07:02 PM   #3
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I'm not familiar with the concepts of high and low German cooking. I did a search and found references to high and low German language characteristics based on geography, but nothing about food.

My husband and I have hosted three German exchange students and one of the things I learned from them is that much of what Americans consider to be typically German food comes from Bavaria; I believe that's because most German immigrants came from there, fleeing persecution since they were primarily Catholic. That includes hot German potato salad with bacon and vinegar. None of our students was familiar with it; two were from Berlin and one was from Hamburg.

It was only about 130 years ago that Germany was unified from several smaller kingdoms into one state and there were, of course, regional variations in their cuisines, just as there are in China, Thailand, Italy, the United States, etc.

I too am wondering if you have a question
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Old 08-02-2014, 07:23 PM   #4
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In our family the difference in potato salad and many other things was country vs city.

The city folks used pickles, miracle whip etc.. and the country folks used celery, mayo etc...

It was simply a case of working with what was available, to my city cousins pickle relish was a vegetable!
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Old 08-02-2014, 08:08 PM   #5
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I spent the first six years of my life in Germany (Giebelstadt, Bavaria) and spoke German exclusively until we moved to the US. My mom was German and met my step-father U.S. soldier, married etc. We were a military family and we spent a majority of his service in German so my mom could be close to her family.

I remember the high/low German thing being a language / accent thing. But I was not cooking at that age so....

Anywho, My mothers potato salad did not use pickles or sugar. But I have a feeling that as in any other place... every one has their family recipe and "secret ingredient." I knew one lady that uses pimento's. (I'm not a fan of that one.)

I sometimes make a crab meat potato salad we like. I wouldn't read too much into potato salad variations. Potato salad has gone global.
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Old 08-02-2014, 08:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayelle View Post
I'm not sure how to respond to your post. Is there a question or....?

The American cuisine has many geographical differences also.
+1
I have no idea where you are going with this either.
Was your mother high or low? Where is your comparison?
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Old 08-02-2014, 08:24 PM   #7
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+1
I have no idea where you are going with this either.
Was your mother high or low? Where is your comparison?
Since she says "low-German" food is strange, I'm guessing her family is "high-German."
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Old 08-02-2014, 10:06 PM   #8
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High and low German cooking may be high is the more fancy, upscale cooking used by the nobles and ruling class as compared to the peasant/working class of cooking. That's what I think of anyway.
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Old 08-02-2014, 10:10 PM   #9
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High and low German cooking may be high is the more fancy, upscale cooking used by the nobles and ruling class as compared to the peasant/working class of cooking. That's what I think of anyway.
Is this something you know for sure? I did several Google searches and didn't find anything like that.
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Old 08-02-2014, 10:12 PM   #10
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A long time ago, in German class with Herr McGlothlin, we were taught that high-German meant it came from the highlands and low-German was the low lands. Typically, we were told that low lands have a lot of farms.

Mind you, I'm quoting Herr McGlothlin who married Helga who made the BEST German potato salad bar none. By the time I got to German IV, I'd forgotten to ask for the recipe. :)
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Old 08-02-2014, 10:22 PM   #11
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From http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_German

" "Low" refers to the flat plains and coastal area of the northern European lowlands, contrasted with the mountainous areas of central and southern Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, where High German is spoken."

Looks like you're right, Kathleen.

Two of our German exchange students gave me cookbooks in English by Dr. Oetker, who is apparently well-known there. I can paraphrase the recipe if anyone is interested.
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Old 08-02-2014, 11:01 PM   #12
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My grandmother made it clear that she spoke the "high German" and the neighbors spoke the "low German" but I can't remember her ever making a comment about high or low German potato salad. There are 100s, if not 1000s of recipes for potato salad not all of them German, high or low. I've made potato salad with bacon, but never included extra bacon grease or sugar but sometimes include sour cream in the dressing. Never gave it a thought to it being high or low German. Like Kayelle, I can't find a question to answer so have included my comments as part of the conversation.
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Old 08-03-2014, 12:32 AM   #13
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I don't mean to sound "testy", but it's dang frustrating when an OP just hits and runs..What's up with that? Nice people deserve better. Sigh. Done here.
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Old 08-03-2014, 08:23 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Oldvine View Post
My grandmother made it clear that she spoke the "high German" and the neighbors spoke the "low German" but I can't remember her ever making a comment about high or low German potato salad. There are 100s, if not 1000s of recipes for potato salad not all of them German, high or low. I've made potato salad with bacon, but never included extra bacon grease or sugar but sometimes include sour cream in the dressing. Never gave it a thought to it being high or low German. Like Kayelle, I can't find a question to answer so have included my comments as part of the conversation.
This isn't about potato salad per se. The OP talked about high vs low German cooking and I used that as an example.
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Old 08-03-2014, 08:43 AM   #15
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I can only think of formal German vs informal. Sorta like:

Was machst du heute? (informal)

Was machen Sie heute? (formal)

What are you doing/making today?
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Old 08-03-2014, 09:01 AM   #16
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I can only think of formal German vs informal. Sorta like:

Was machst du heute? (informal)

Was machen Sie heute? (formal)

What are you doing/making today?
I think that's something else. Everything I have read about high and low German talks about geographical differences.
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Old 08-03-2014, 10:07 AM   #17
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I could give you a run for your money comparing high German and low German dialects as a linguist, spent 4 years during undergraduate studies comparing German dialects and 2 more years playing with the same to earn my M.A. in linguistics (German and French). I also lived in northern Germany (Oldenburg) where there were a lot of people who spoke plattdeutsch--and there was a weekly newspaper written in pd.

From a cook's perspective, the difference would be regional cooking and not based on whether one spoke high German or a dialect. I'm suggesting the appropriate subject title for this thread would be regional German cooking--and this would include Swiss and Austrian dishes as well. Just sayin'.
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Old 08-03-2014, 03:23 PM   #18
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I completely understood that it was not simply about potato salad but continued using the "potato salad" example in my comments. I could have switched and used rye bread for my example adding that my grandma, that spoke high German, baked rye bread that tasted exactly as yummy as the neighbor lady's, that spoke low German. My point was that I've never heard of a difference of high or low in German cooking. Maybe family style as compared to nobility. But even nobility had family style meals now and then. Different regions in different countries have different versions of recipes. My grandfather fled Germany leaving family members in the "nobility". They eventually lost that status but still they spoke high German but, apparently without knowing it, were eating low German meals. I don't feel that adding information or not understanding something is being testy. It should be thought of as discussion.
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Old 08-03-2014, 03:53 PM   #19
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I'm sorry, Oldvine. I didn't get that from your previous post, I think since you mentioned that there are potato salad recipes that aren't German.

CWS, I think you're right about regional differences regarding cooking rather than the German dialect one speaks.
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Old 08-03-2014, 04:50 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathleen View Post
A long time ago, in German class with Herr McGlothlin, we were taught that high-German meant it came from the highlands and low-German was the low lands. Typically, we were told that low lands have a lot of farms.

Mind you, I'm quoting Herr McGlothlin who married Helga who made the BEST German potato salad bar none. By the time I got to German IV, I'd forgotten to ask for the recipe. :)
Herr McGlothlin, now there's a good old German name he probably meant in this sense Hochdeutsch - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

However, he could have been fudging the "class" question. According to my Scots friend, Rhona, who has lived in Regensburg for half a lifetime and my Viennese friend, Barbara, the High and Low thing is also a class/snobbery thing ie the aristocracy v the peasants.

Who knows what it means in the culinary usage.
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