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What's Missing In Germany?
I finally figured it out what they're missing here, and why I feel terrible -- weighted down, tired, just not myself: I haven't seen a green vegetable since I've been here! (And I got here Wednesday afternoon.) Upon realizing this, I was desperate to eat something green. And no, those Janitor-In-A-Drum-colored donuts don't count.

I went to the surly-market, sorry, the supermarket, next to the hotel. (Just reliving my experience with frau checkout-lady.) I thought I'd buy some nice, dark green watercress (plentiful in France) and some vinaigrette to put on it. I thought wrong.

They had about five selections of green things not pickled or mixed with mayonnaise (and I'm actually being very vegetable-inclusive here, considering that my count includes cucumbers and slightly greenish-in-hue iceberg lettuce). They also had mixed salad in packages, but it appeared to have been left over from The War, so I opted for two cans of peas instead. Like so:

canned peas.jpg

Compare in coloration to last night's dinner on the boat. (The napkin does not count.)

dinner on the boat cropped.jpg

Thanks to my boyfriend, who plays international Sally Struthers to my starving Ethiopian child...(okay, so I just never get around to getting to the grocery store)...there's a refrigerator full of food waiting for me back in Paris. I CANNOT WAIT TO GO HOME AND EAT IT!

That said, today, I interviewed Julian Paul Keenan, a fascinating cognitive neuroscientist, for this coming week's column -- so at least I got food for thought out of this Berlin thingie. Much, actually. Started writing up some bits of it, which I will post here soon.

Posted by aalkon at July 24, 2004 11:29 AM


That particular dietary omission extends to the German-settled portions of this country as well. I went to school in Pennsylvania Dutch country and their idea of a "green vegetable" was a lima bean.

Posted by: The Proprietor at July 25, 2004 6:38 AM

Hello Amy,

I see that my little improvised tourist link didn't work for you. I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience. Obviously, you've been to the wrong places. (Yes, some of us do eat our veggies. I know I do...)

Have a nice stay in Paris anyhow! :-)

P.S.: Was this your first trip to Germany?

Posted by: Rainer at July 25, 2004 11:24 AM

Dear Rainer,
Yes, it was my first time in Germany. I just went for the conference. While I did appreciate your link, there was a poster session 7-9pm on the last night, and I never even made it to that. I ate my greens and keeled over, then left the remaining can for Kaja Perina, of Psychology Today. I lived in a place I called "The Bunker With Germans And Dogs" when I first moved to LA (built by two guys who did interiors for Frank Gehry), so I know Germans who do eat greens. They were just, shall we say, not exactly everywhere.

I found myself coming home from Charles de Gaulle and fantasizing about a vegetable -- and I'm sorry to say this isn't a dirty story. It was a boiled beet in my refrigerator (well, my temporary refrig) back in Paris. I had it on dark green baby lettuce with a little vinaigrette for lunch. I am a new woman! Or the same old woman, but with a stomach that no longer appears to double for a bowling ball carrying case.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 25, 2004 3:55 PM