This past Wednesday I had the pleasure of cooking my family an "authentic" Kentucky meal. When my host mother first asked me if I would like to cook an American meal, I didn't know which meal would be an "authentic" American dish. Since living here in Germany, I have found many of the German culinary dishes are similar to what we eat in America. In Germany, they eat a lot of potatoes, sausage, ham, and vegetables. Many of the dishes we eat in America are similar. After brainstorming, I finally decided to make my family a Kentucky Hot Brown and Derby Pie.
Before I went to the supermarket with my host mom, I did my homework in researching the metric conversions and the German translations for the ingredients. The recipe for the pie asked for corn syrup/oil. I was having trouble finding a German equivalent online. My host mom was unsure too what it was. So, I found a backup recipe of chocolate chip cookies in case I could not a pie.
When we went to the supermarket I did not have trouble finding most of the ingredients. When we went to the deli for the turkey (for the Hot Brown), I found out that in Germany they do not eat a lot of turkey, I then substituted it for ham. Then when we went looking for the corn syrup/oil we could not find it. However, we did find all the ingredients for the chocolate chip cookies (in Germany they sell these cookies at the store and call them "American Cookies"). So, I was all set to make my family an authentic Kentucky/American meal.
I am not the best cook and was a little worried I would make my family a meal that would not be edible. With the help of my family's friend, Hanna, my dinner was a success! My family especially loved the cookies, my host mom wanted the recipe.
I am glad I got to share a bit of my culture with my family. We often don't think about how much one can share of their traditions, values, and beliefs through a simple meal. While we were eating the Hot Browns, I was able to talk about the history of the sandwich. When we were eating the cookies, I was able to share how my family loves to make these cookies for holidays and other events. This dinner was one of the highlights of my stay here in Germany.