German Breakfast Gripes
Living in Germany you encounter the German breakfast centered around the bakery offerings quite quickly. It can be a change to have what looks like lunch for breakfast. And for Alexandra, who loves American style breakfast, it can be a BIG change.
She comes from Maui by way of San Fransisco and has been on the road for 15 months. She is currently at the end of her 90 days in Schengen while living with her boyfriend in Hamburg. She writes her blog entitled Fluent in Frolicking and offers this look at why the German idea of breakfast just doesn’t cut it.
When living in a foreign country I find it is the little things that make you the most homesick. For me one of the things I miss most about America is breakfast.
My favorite meal to eat out is brunch. I could rattle of a list of restaurants in San Francisco that I would give anything to be at next Sunday. I have a weakness for french toast, bacon, fluffy scrambled eggs, toast with melted salted butter, hot tea, hash browns, a big glass of fresh squeezed orange juice, blueberry pancakes and did I mention bacon. I am always hungry right when I wake up and typically want something hot. I have a repertoire of dishes I make for breakfast my favorite being a scramble of caramelized onions, fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese. I’m hungry and homesick just typing this.
I am living in Hamburg with my German boyfriend I met while traveling in Laos. He often mocks me as I make something different from what the rest of the table is having for breakfast. I try to assimilate in my ways but German Breakfast, Frühstück, is where I draw the line!
What is a typical German Breakfast?
Many would like to spruce it up and call it a continental breakfast but to me it is just a random smorgasbord of whatever happens to be in the fridge. Not very polite I know. In all honesty the focal point of the German breakfast is the crusty rolls they get fresh from the bakery in the morning. These rolls called Brötchen are than served cold, I can’t figure out what they have against toast, with an assortment of cold meat, cheeses, unsalted butter, jams, Nutella and whatever leftovers are in the fridge. If you are lucky and it is a fancy breakfast you might get a soft-boiled egg and some fruit.
They take these cold rolls cut them in half, spread cold butter on them and then top it with a cold cut! I’m sorry but I really can’t wrap my head around it.
One thing I thought I knew about German breakfast before I got here was German Pancakes that I used to get at The House of Pancakes in Vegas. These were not like our typical American fluffy buttermilk pancakes and not like French crepes either but more like a soufflé. They were puffed up with air and topped with powdered sugar and lemon. I have yet to see one of these in this country and my boyfriend I no idea what I was talking about when I asked where I could get one. Another breakfast fail for me.
Maybe I am silly and there are more important things to miss when abroad. Maybe I should say the hardest part of living in Germany is missing my friends and family. That making new friends is hard or that learning German is even harder. I could make comparisons between American Football and European Football. My confusion over hooligans and why there are no buns for their hotdogs. Or I could rant again about how everyone smokes here. Sure that is all true but for me no matter how long I live here, no matter how many new friends I make or how good my German gets I will always be the odd ball out at the breakfast table with my scrambles eggs and toast.
Alexandra Pucherelli is a Maui native who is flirting with adventure and shenanigans one country at a time. She is an island Girl, hammock lover, travel writer, gin drinker, lover of cheese, travel photographer, and daydreamer. A full time nomad since April 03, 2011. You can frolic along with her at fluentinfrolicking.com or follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
Still hungry? Check out my look at breakfast across Europe.
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July 11, 2012 @ 9:35 am
I can settle this for all the Germans and Americans out there. You’re both wrong! It’s got to be fruit for brekkie for me. I usually go for bannanas (Ali, you’d appreciate that ;). And you can’t beat a good Queensland mango.
July 13, 2012 @ 8:19 am
I don’t mind fruit, though it rarely keeps me until lunch. I like something more substantial to digest for the morning hours.
July 10, 2012 @ 10:09 pm
… Be found on many german breakfast tables… Also, I’m jealous! German breakfast is one of things I miss most here in the us. It took me five years to get used to breakfast burritos and American pancakes. Now I like them 🙂 maybe you need to hang in there a little longer before you appreciate fresh crusty bread, foreign cheeses, an assortment of cold cuts, eggs, nutella, … Yummy 🙂
July 13, 2012 @ 8:21 am
Germany is so highly regionalized as well as the natural variation in people and their habits. I have definitely experienced the fridge full of leftovers type breakfast that she talks about. I have also gone to brunch restaurants here and seen eggs in all forms.
July 10, 2012 @ 10:05 pm
I think your boyfriend might be to blame here :-)why would he feed you only leftovers from the fridge? Or buy some bread you can toast? Or scramble some eggs with bacon? Both can
July 10, 2012 @ 1:57 pm
I am an American expat who lives in Germany, too. What I really miss is the freshly squeezed orange juice from Florida!
July 13, 2012 @ 8:22 am
No, here you get orange juice from Spain or Italy. Its exotic.. wooooo.
July 10, 2012 @ 1:11 pm
I had a German breakfast with a German family. We had boiled eggs, two salads, tomatoes, brown bread, white bread, jams, butter, 5 cold meats, 3 cheeses, yoghurt, tea/coffee. At home all I eat is a sandwich, some fruit, and coffee, so I was like O_____________________________o this.
July 13, 2012 @ 8:25 am
That sounds like an enormous spread. It doesn’t really sound typical either for all that stuff, but what do I know. Where were you?
July 10, 2012 @ 12:55 pm
We went to brunch with some friends a few weeks ago, and I wasn’t impressed either. I want scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns… But not so much here.
July 13, 2012 @ 8:26 am
Our less than favorite place does scrambled eggs and ham. Hash browns we can get in the form of Rosti, but not sure you would find them for breakfast. All of that stuff is definitely here, just not in that sort of combination.
Debbie @ European Travelista
July 10, 2012 @ 4:56 am
While I too absolutely love going out to breakfast, German breakfasts are something I look forward to every trip! Fresh bread instead of packaged bread we have to toast to get it tasting better? Easy choice for me 🙂 I’m good with eating leftovers at home so the lunch meat at breakfast really doesn’t phase me.
July 13, 2012 @ 8:48 am
My favorite breakfast is waffles and/or reheated pizza. I like the idea of fresh bread, but it goes stale faster than at home. This is fine, other than it means to get fresh bread you have to go to the bakery nearly every day.
July 10, 2012 @ 1:47 am
I’m not a fan of the German breakfast. Give me a breakfast burrito any day!
July 13, 2012 @ 8:51 am
Somehow the idea of a burrito for breakfast is unappealing. What are they? I don’t actually remember such things from living in the US .Maybe they are new?
Jeff @ GoTravelzing
July 9, 2012 @ 10:13 pm
My main food complaint about Europe is that they do not believe in cold drinks. It is probably because I have always lived in warm climates that I like my drinks with a lot of ice. When you get a drink in Europe you are lucky if you get a couple of cubes. I once got some dirty looks in Switzerland because I filled up my glass to the top with ice.
July 13, 2012 @ 8:52 am
At least in Germany the ice thing has several aspects.
1) They believe that really cold drinks are unhealthy. It hurts the stomach somehow.
2) Drinks are sold without free refills and to an exact line on the glass. If you fill up the glass with ice, you are getting less drink.
3) Weather has something to do with it too I would imagine.
July 9, 2012 @ 7:34 pm
As a German I’m surprised that you think that neither toast nor scrambled eggs or boiled eggs are part of a “German” breakfast. Both things are very common here. That doesn’t mean that everybody likes its breakfast that way, yet it seems very strange to allude that they are basically unknown here. Another thing about your cold Brötchen: you can buy almost buy everywhere pre-baked ones that has to be finished in your oven at home which means that you can eat them while they are still hot.
July 9, 2012 @ 7:04 pm
I agree… I miss those things too when I’m on the road… but on the days when I’m busy, nothing beats grabbing the light thing so I don’t feel blah all day!
July 9, 2012 @ 12:00 pm
I grew up with German breakfast, so I actually missed it when I moved to the US shortly after my 15th birthday. To me,a real Fruehstueck just gives you more energy than a bowl of cereal or some toast.
And no “German pancakes” are neither German nor pancakes. In all my time living in Germany, I never once saw one of those things. I suppose it’s like a Spanish omelet or a Vienna beef sandwich.
July 13, 2012 @ 8:40 pm
They definitely have Pfannkuchen here which could translate to Pancakes, but not the same thing. They fill them with meat sometimes. Not at all IHOP style.
July 9, 2012 @ 9:44 am
This post made me chuckle as I am not a fan of German food myself. I especially liked the ‘random smorgasbord of fridge contents’ comment!
July 13, 2012 @ 8:38 pm
The German style breakfast grows on you. It is like a lot of expat things, you slowly acclimatize to your local surroundings and end up half way between them and where you started.