The Wednesday Chef is a food blog begun by Luisa Weiss back in 2005. She started her blog as an effort to work through all the boxes and folders of her clipped recipes. (I think most cooks can identify with that. I sure can.) The project, the blog and Luisa grew during the years ahead. Luisa soon found herself with enough material for a book and someone who wanted to publish it.
My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story With Recipes is actually a food memoir of Luisa’s life from toddler-age and up to her marriage to her husband. It’s called a food memoir because Luisa sees most of her life’s events as being associated with food. Luisa was born in Berlin to an Italian mom and an American dad, so right away she was exposed to multiple dishes.
Luisa’s parents divorced when she was young. She moved to the Boston area to live with her father, but traveled back to Berlin for holidays and summer vacations. Her parents tried to make her growing-up years as normal as possible, but my heart ached for the little girl who was always trying to please others before herself, and was always homesick. Luisa found her “happy place” in the kitchen, primarily the German kitchen. As she grew up, the kitchen is where she felt most at home.
I want to thank my daughter Candice who pushed me to read this book. She is a big fan of The Wednesday Chef and Luisa’s books. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Luisa’s story in conjunction with hearing about all the food she loves. Luisa’s food tastes range from German to Italian to French and on to the international flavors she learned about while living in New York City. She’s the kind of cook who eats a restaurant dish and then goes home and tries to duplicate it. She’s not afraid to go to the farmer’s market and pick up strange fruits and vegetables. She’ll experiment with a variety of cooking methods as well as herbs and spices.
I listened to the audio version of the book. It took 7.75 hours to read the book and I think it was the hungriest 7.75 hours of my life. Luisa Weiss writes so descriptively about food that you can’t help but see, smell, and taste the food she’s talking about.
I have to tell you that I do have a sort-of German connection to this book. My grandparents on my dad’s side were immigrants from Germany. I never thought of the food I ate at their house as being “German” except for one dish my grandmother made occasionally as a treat for my grandfather. If it had a special name, I never learned it. She just called it Sausages and Kraut. I love the dish and try to make it the way she did. But, I have to say, it’s a favorite of my non-German husband. As a tribute to My Berling Kitchen, here’s how I make the dish:
Sausages and Kraut
Gather together these items:
- two firm apples (I usually use Granny Smith or Fuji)
- a pat of butter – about a hefty tablespoon or so
- brown sugar – about a tablespoon or so
- a jar of good quality sauerkraut – about two to three cups (home-cured is best)
- five or six good sized pork sausages, brats or kielbasa
- Core and slice the apples so they are about half-inch slices.
- In a skillet, melt the butter. As soon as it is melted, add the apple slices
- Cook the slices until they are soft, but still hold their shape.
- Add the brown sugar and stir until the apples are coated with the sugar. Keep cooking the apples until they are soft, but still hold their shape.
- Drain the sauerkraut according to how much juice you desire. I don’t drain it completely, but I don’t like my dish swimming in juice. Add the kraut to the skillet.
- Stir together the apples and the sauerkraut.
- Place the sausages on top of the apple and kraut mixture. Put a lid on the skillet.
- Remove from the pan and eat when the sausages are hot.
This post is linked with other food related posts at Weekend Cooking.
Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads.