Reading back, I think that this blog is actually less about weird Austrians and more about weird me. Our ‘standard’ toothpaste of choice is one we buy from Hofer, and the ‘flavour’ is: herbfresh.
For some reason this has always disturbed me. Who wants to brush their teeth with herbs, was my initial thought? Surely it’s akin to the weird Austrian herb drink, Almdudler?
Somehow other toothpaste flavours don’t bother me – cool mint, fresh mint stripe, spearmint … even bubble gum seems palatable (though I know it’s not). But then it hit me.
A while back I was in the supermarket and something in the deli cabinet caught my eye. Nestled among delicious slices of salami and prosciutto with the tang of pungent cheese wafting forth, I came across… the Liver Paste Bunny. Is anyone else channelling Donny Darko here? Because as far as evil bunnies go, this one takes the cake for me… or the paste… or whatever.
I don’t know if there’s a story behind this bunny. Here’s what I know:
- It’s apparently made of liver paste
- Someone or something at the deli made a conscious decision to fashion liver paste into a bunny
- A interested consumer decided that an ‘bunny ear’ of liver paste was what they wanted to take home and eat
I also know:
- It is not the only time this kind of thing has happened
Because another time I was there and behold… the Liver Paste… Mouse? I’m not sure if this one’s a mouse… or just a different breed of bunny. Obviously the artist is improving because this guy looks pretty suave – he’s got a bow tie and all! But the spoon looks decidedly heart-wrenching… as if someone is slowly caving out the inside of his skull at the back where you can’t see…
I recently returned to this supermarket with the sole intention of sniffing out possibly a third critter, or to glean some more information as to… well… why?
Sadly this time the bunny/mouse was absent.
So I leave you with the question… why?
I don’t mind a good board game. Of course, as you get older, the tone of board games changes. You move from Monopoly and Mousetrap to games requiring increased knowledge like Trivial Pursuit or strategy games like Risk. Hubby and I regularly play Carcasonne and we recently started with Azul which is a pretty cool game perfect for two people.
At one of our Wine Wednesdays with my work colleagues (pre-Covid), one of them introduced us to a board game, which does not seem to exist in the English-speaking world. It’s called Was’n’das which translates to What’s That (but in slang)… though in our circle we’ve renamed it ‘The Fur Game’.
I came across something new in the supermarket the other day – a Bifi Roll. Now, a disclaimer on this one, I have no proof that Austrians actually eat these, and in fact, this product seems to be originally American.
What is it, you ask? Well, apparently it’s a salami hidden in a crust of bread.
Did I buy one to try it? No, I did not. I guess it’s a good source of protein that you can eat on the go? A convenient snack?
I think I’ll stick to mixed nuts.
On a recent trip to the supermarket, I discovered something I’d never seen before. Something that once again had me questioning the curious things that Austrians eat. So naturally I took a photo and decided it was worth a blog post.
Is anyone else out there interested in trying one of these Gabelbissen snack pots? Apparently they are Typically Austrian (according to advertising on the website) and are touted as THE Austrian classic for small snacks on the go for decades. They are available in six tasty varieties. What’s in them, you ask? Crunchy vegetable salad, mayonnaise, and a garnish of sausage, fish or egg… wow.
Back in Oz, the night before the first day of the New Year is called New Year’s Eve – sounds logical doesn’t it? In Austria, it’s called Silvester – the name originally coming from the fourth century Pope Sylvester I, whose feast day is observed on December 31.
You can wish someone a Happy New Year in Austria – you just say: Gutes Neues Jahr. This is perfectly acceptable, but is generally only said once the New Year has begun. Because in the days leading up to it, if you catch up with someone you won’t see until after Silvester, the correct thing to say is to wish them a good slide into the New Year: Guten Rutsch! It literally translates to: Good slide
It’s kind of cute, it’s kind of wacky, but I like it, so I hereby wish you a good slide into the New Year. Have a good one.
Ok… it’s not actually called Jelly Meat. It’s actually called Aspic – or in Austria – Sulz. But I call it Jelly Meat. Because that’s what it looks like. It reminds of the old Whiskers ad… Whiskers time, chunky tuna; Whiskers time, jelly meat… remember that one? No? Just me, then.
Almdudler is a natural alpine herb soft drink.
Are you with me? A herb soft drink.
According to the website, it’s a blend of 32 natural alpine herbs, beet sugar and soda water. And Austrian’s love it!
In Austria, if you celebrate a round birthday, or something else of particular note (eg. A wedding), don’t be surprised if people turn up at your house at 4am with fireworks. And no… I’m not kidding. Not quite sure where this crazy tradition comes from, but it’s a common, and accepted occurrence. A whole group of your nearest and dearest will get together, bring along some fireworks, some food and some music, and shoot rockets off in the dead of the night to wake you up on your big day.
When someone’s celebrating an occasion in Austria (birthdays, someone’s last work day etc.) and keeping it low key and easy, they might simply invite a few people over for a bite to eat, or in the case of a work environment, bring something along to share with colleagues (including the mandatory prosecco, of course, because we are in Austria). Quite often there will be cakes, pastries and other standard things you might expect. But there could also be something you were not expecting: a giant pretzel sandwich.