German Influence on Texan-American foods

Find out some of out highly German origins!

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Find out some of out highly German origins!

Claire Lawrence, Reporter

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Sausages, sauerkraut,  potato salad, egg dishes, and many more foods that are well known in Texas today are of German descent, and the History that brought them here isn’t well known. Germany has some origins to commonly Texan dishes, that some may not even know are German. It’s safe to say that Germany has not only had an effect on Texas’s traditions, architecture, and people, but it’s also affected the food of Texas and all around America, and not only in schnitzel.

Germans were introduced into Texas and The United States in 1840, during the Great Migration. A group of Noblemen had bought some land in Texas and would bring poor Germans to their land and provide them with homes, furniture, and farmland, as well as stable funding until the settler’s first successful harvest. Sadly, this organization never succeeded and wasn’t able to get funding. However. They did manage to get Germans into the area around Austin, founding many German cities that may sound familiar; Pflugerville, Fredericksburg, and others. The immigrant fared well despite the lack of funding and made their own grazing industry which prevented cattle wrangling due to the tight community.

To this day, places like Fredericksburg maintain their old-fashioned housing and German heritage but mostly keeps the traditional German food going in various restaurants. They have many types of breweries and dining, as well as a selection of traditional German foods. One tradition that Germany has brought to America is the large courses.

The food in Germany tends to be heavy, filled with meat and potatoes. They generally have 5 courses a day, but there are primarily the 3 main and heavy course, Breakfast, lunch, and supper. Germans used to eat a lot, with these three meals being so big along with two other small ones, but nowadays, Germans eat a bit healthier. However, some speculate that these traditions caused settlers to eat more when Germans started settling and ranching in Texas because they brought these food traditions with them.

One example of these traditions is the roast. Meat cooked slowly throughout the day to eventually become tender and stew-like. This tradition hasn’t changed much, and many Texan-Americans tend to make a pot roast as an easy meal for a hungry family. The book “Slow cooker recipes” by gooseberry patch has a  section of different roasts from around the United States. The tradition of roasts also came from England, but Germany spread it often and added potatoes and many garden ingredients. Many cultures and states have adopted this technique to lifestyles and cultures, and Germany is no exception.
Another food that is directly related to German culture is the American classic, hot dogs. They are a staple of any Texan barbeque or sports game, generally served in a bun with ketchup

 

and mustard. Some people like more traditional, with relish and onions, but for the most part, hot dogs in Texas are pink, skinny, and smooth, served in cheap large packages for any family to purchase. However, Germany didn’t bring Sausages to the United States and Texas for them to be like this, because the traditional bratwurst is much longer, wider, and chunkier, with a thicker casing. Bratwurst tends to be made with fresher meats, such as veal or pork, and of course, beef. This was extremely popular back in the 1800s when German settlers found their land to be perfect for grazing and ranching.
Germany, although it didn’t introduce it to the region, is also responsible for many German beers popularized in America. The most common example is the Pilsner, which is the most popular beer in Germany! Although some may say that the original German beers are better, there are plenty of American Pilsners that are of German descent.
There are many more common “American” foods that are of German descent, such as mustard, potato salad, and other potato dishes, schnitzel, and goulash.

Although Americans don’t eat Bratwurst or Leberkäse on a day to day basis, it should be known that plenty of classic American dishes are twisted up but still of German heritage. Even though Germany isn’t the first place people would think of when someone would say Amerian food, the two cultures, especially in Texas, are very closely related and have somewhat similar food.

 

Works Cited:

Slow Cooker Recipes. Gooseberry Patch, 2006.

Albyn, Carole Lisa, and Lois Sinaiko Webb. The Multicultural Cookbook for Students. Oryx Press, 1993.

“Sauerkraut and Sausages- The Germans in Texas.” Our Texas Heritage: Ethnic Traditions and Recipes, by Dorothy McConachie, Republic of Texas Press, 2000, pp. 49–67.

“The History of Bratwurst.” The History of Brussels Sprouts, www.kitchenproject.com/german/Bratwurst/history.htm.