Fittingly, being 8 months pregnant and a full-blood Expat, my cravings are a mix of all the places I have lived and been influenced by.
Starting off with where I was born: Austria. We have made our first batch of Topfenknödel during this pregnancy, a lovely dessert or even main course of curd cheese dumplings filled with fruit, most traditionally Apricots, or Marillen in Austrian, and covered in browned bread crumbs, dusted with powdered sugar. To be truly Austrian you eat this as main course, preceded by a bowl of soup. This has been something I have always loved about the cooking here: why bother waiting until dessert if you can have it for a main?Another great Austrian specialty we have tried recently were Semmelknödel & Linsen, dumplings made from bread chunks and served with green lentils and bacon. Yummmmmm! The dumplings are so much lighter and fluffier, and, in my mind, more flavourful than those made further north in Europe, of potato; and, combined with the traditional parsley in their mix, they are just gorgeous when eaten with a nice sauce.
A further staple in our kitchen currently: Gulasch. I know, I know, there are many different versions of this and yes, it does originally come from Hungary; but, Hungary having been part of the Austrian empire for so long, and Austrians being experts at ‘borrowing’ anything good from their subjects, there are now, and have been for some time, independent Austrian versions, which are also lush. There is also something called Gulasch here in Germany, but I have yet to meet one that deserved the name….. We are both fans of plain beef Gulasch with lots and lots of paprika, which we import from either Austria, or, if we are lucky, from my mother’s Hungarian friends. This is great with small flour dumplings called Wasserspatzen in Austrian. They are made with a very basic recipe, mostly consisting of flour and water, and dropped into boiling water through a special sieve in order to get the right shape.
Moving on to the UK: We have recently got a load of lovely Cheddar from my brother- and sister-in-law when they came to visit, and Lidl has started selling reasonable tasting sliced Cheddar as well, so we are well stocked for all my cheese cravings; these are usually accompanied by chutney or pickle cravings, also something we import regularly from the UK.
Also something they brought us: mint Aero. A chocolate bar made of minty flavoured bubbly green chocolate covered in a thin layer of brown chocolate. My favourite! My poor Dad got himself in severe trouble when he had one of the bars in our junk food drawer at a recent visit without realising I was on limited rations!
Another British favourite: Indian food. At least the version of Indian both of us know, and that is from the UK. Even Baby enjoyed his first chicken korma recently and tucked in nicely. We had some gorgeous Naan bread with that, which I could have kept eating all evening!
I haven’t been able to be without my Ribena during this pregnancy. It has helped me over many a desperate sugar-fix when I was not needing food, but was in great need of something sweet. What a life-saver!
Something we are still working on and very difficult to find here: fish & chips, the proper way, ie big chips, covered in vinegar, and lovely crunchy batter on the fish, which is in one, big piece. Hmmmmm… my stomach is growling just thinking of it.
An American staple I cannot be without: peanut butter! I recently discovered that American style crunchy peanut butter is sold at a supermarket nearby. Yeah! Nothing like the stuff they sell here or in Austria, which always seems to separate and just doesn’t taste right, only the real USA thing will do me! Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have been a staple of my pregnancy diet.
And, finally, American pancakes and buttermilk biscuits. After one of our visits to New York City we picked up the cookbook of our favourite breakfast place there, The Clinton Street Bakery. It has been in frequent use in the last few months. In fact, we got so desperate for buttermilk biscuits one weekend, we even made our own buttermilk in order to be able to have them! Fluffy and gorgeous, the biscuits are beautiful with just melted, slightly salted butter, and the pancakes – the best I have ever had! – covered in maple syrup, what else?!
So these are some of my Expat cravings from my favourite cuisines around the world. What about you? What are your Expat cravings, and what triggers them?
Cary is in her mid-thirties, living in her third home country, Germany, in Hamburg, with her Irish husband and little boy. Their little family is a true MischMasch, part Austrian, American, Irish, with some British flavour thrown in, for good measure. Writing is one of Cary's passions, as well as travelling and learning, and she enjoys pursuing it in her blog MyMischMasch.