I have been living in Germany for over a year, and I had somehow managed to avoid sauerkraut. For some strange reason, the idea of sour, fermented cabbage did not appeal to me. The Verlobter was appalled at this realization and decided to cook up a “real German dinner” for me, which consisted of sauerkraut, instant mashed potatoes, and bratwurst.
I almost missed the sauerkraut, because we couldn’t find it at Lidl – but then I would have been subjected to Rotkohl (or red cabbage) instead, which I have tried and do not like. The Verlobter thinks it was because I ate homemade Rotkohl instead of store bought, and somehow the store bought variety is better. I am not just doubtful of all German preparations of cabbage.
For those of you unfamiliar with sauerkraut, it is “finely cut cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria, including Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus. It has a long shelf life and a distinctive sour flavor, both of which result from the lactic acid that forms when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage.” (Wikipedia) Yuuuuum, bacteria cabbage! Fun fact, according to that Wikipedia page, during WWI, American sauerkraut producers renamed their sauerkraut “Liberty cabbage” so that people would still buy it. I’ll have some Liberty Cabbage with a side of Freedom Fries, please!
Unsurprisingly, I am not into sauerkraut. I tried a small bite on its own and was actually surprised at how sour it was. It has sour in the name, so I don’t know what I was expecting. The Verlobter suggested I mix it with the bratwurst and potatoes, which made it tolerable, but once I ran out of potatoes and bratwurst, I was done eating it. My assimilation into German culture is clearly not complete. The Verlobter (who is going to need a new name soon) thinks it’s just a matter of time before I embrace it like I embraced sparkling water. I, however, am still quite skeptical.