Weird things Austrians say… wish you Mahlzeit at lunchtime

Schnitzel

You know how it goes; you see someone in the morning, you say ‘good morning’. The same applies in German. You can say Guten Morgen. But after that… at some point in the later morning, people switch from saying Guten Morgen and instead say Mahlzeit. That means, literally translated. Meal time. Mahlzeit is what you say when you are about to start eating a meal, kind of like the French bon apetite. But strangely enough, it is also used as a greeting. If you pass someone in the corridor at work and they are carrying food, chewing something, or hell, even look like they might be heading to the canteen, you say Mahlzeit to them, instead of hello.

It’s hard to get used to, but I’m getting there.

Meat and three veg – I resisted, but now it’s my go-to too

Meat and vegetables
Maybe boring… but very practical

I remember complaining a lot growing up about the constant ‘meat & 3 veg’ dinners served up in our household. That’s not to say it actually was constant… we certainly ate a lot of different meals… one of my favourites being fish fingers, dim sims and chips… but I digress. I think it was more that ‘meat & 3 veg’ was just the easiest, healthiest and quickest thing to fall back on… especially when you’ve got kids to raise.

When I moved out of home, I vowed that I would be different. I was going to make my cooking interesting, and find meals that were easy, healthy and quick… but weren’t basic meat with steamed veg. I was going to cook and eat exciting, healthy food.

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Greetings from the kitchen

greetings from the kitchen
Delicious bread

In my experience it is quite common to be served bread prior to a meal in many restaurants. In some countries it seems almost mandatory (like in Italy), whereas in others it’s reserved only for the finer dining establishments, or it’s charged if you request it.

Back home in Oz, I have to say one of the highlights of a nice restaurant was the pre-dinner bread course – with some delicious salty butter or some olive oil – because I’m simple at heart…. And I love bread!

In Austria I would say that it’s not commonplace, even in the finer restaurants (though of course, it does happen), but don’t worry, you won’t miss out, because they replace it with something slightly different.

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Jause – Austrians will literally put anything on bread

Jause Austria belegtes brotAustrians tend to do the reverse of what I’m used to – they eat a big lunch and then only need a small snack in the evening, rather than a full cooked meal. One of the most common evening ‘snacks’ is Jause. I’ve already written a blog about Jause, but I’m going to take it one step further now. Because Jause, although when you order it at a Jause Station or mountain huts, will be served with specific meats or spreads, is really just a general term for ‘putting stuff on bread’. Essentially it’s an open sandwich.

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Cabbage Surprise – waste not… want… not

zucchini fritters
Dinner for one?

I have a bit of an obsession with food wastage – as I’ve already mentioned in a previous blog, it kind of upsets me. In an ideal world, I shop once a week and have a basic idea of what I’m going to eat each day. Back in my bachelorette days this often resulted in very boring weekday meals. Because if I bought a whole broccoli, then I was forced to eat broccoli almost every night to use it up.

The more people you have in your household, the more variety you can purchase without wastage. And when you’re just one… well it can make it difficult.

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Your intolerance isn’t real… except when it is

You know histamine intolerance winehow it goes these days… it seems that everyone is on some kind of special diet… everyone is intolerant to something. Look… it’s not like I don’t believe them, because I know plenty of people who have legitimate intolerances… but it’s almost like sometimes… well… I don’t really believe them.

This is not helped by the fact that it seems there are those who practice ‘selective’ intolerance. They make a big deal to get a gluten free meal in a restaurant, but on Sunday afternoon gorge on ‘standard’ pizza with apparently no ill affect.

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Traditional Austrian Dishes – Backhendl

Backhendl SalatAustria is well known for many different types of food – some you will definitely have heard of: strudel, schnitzel, goulash etc. Each region also has specialities they call their own. Though consider that Austria has nine states in a total of 84,000km² (compare that to Australia’s 8 in 7.7million km²) – this means that a dish ‘local’ to one area is very often found in other places too.

I live in the state of Carinthia (Kärnten) and I work in the state of Steiermark (Styria), so I’m familiar with quite a few.

We’ve already talked about Kärntner Reindling, Kärntner Nudeln, Jause and Glundner Käse and this week I’m focusing on Backhendl.

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My obsession with not wasting food

compostNot to be negative, but even before this whole COVID-19 thing, it did feel like the world was slowly going downhill. Global warming, health problems, increasing violence, over-consumption, the list goes on. Plenty of people are out there trying to do right for the world – the no plastic household, walk for the cure, dry January etc.

Some people seem to drive themselves nuts trying to do good. Others are in the mindset of well I’m just one person, what I do won’t help. But I think for most of us it’s about balance. If we all try just a little bit, surely the world will be a better place without all of us having to morph into vegans in patched up clothes catching our own drinking water. As individuals we can’t do everything. And often time is a big factor – sometimes the good things we do take a lot longer than taking the easy route. It’s hard to be good all the time. I’m definitely guilty. We compost our scraps, but sometimes laziness or bad weather means I just dump potato peelings in the trash… I order things online when I could probably find some of them at the local shops… I replace things that perhaps could be fixed up… I have too many clothes… I should bike more than driving… the list goes on.

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Traditional Austrian Dishes – Kärntner Reindling

Kärntner ReindlingAustria is well known for many different types of food – some you will definitely have heard of: strudel, schnitzel, goulash etc. Each region also has specialities they call their own. Though consider that Austria has nine states in a total of 84,000km² (compare that to Australia’s 8 in 7.7million km²) – this means that a dish ‘local’ to one area is very often found in other places too.

I live in the state of Carinthia (Kärnten) and I work in the state of Steiermark (Styria), so I’m familiar with quite a few.

We’ve already talked about Kärntner Nudeln,  Glundner Käse and Jause, and this week I’m focusing on Kärntner Reindling.

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