The classic German breakfast consists of a variety of breads and rolls, honey, jam, and coffee or tea. For those who prefer a savoury start to the day cheese and cold meats are also served. For a more lavish breakfast you may also be offered a boiled egg, yoghurt or quark (a very popular cream cheese), fruit and muesli or cornflakes.
Traditionally the midday meal is eaten quite early (between twelve and one o'clock) and is the main meal of the day. More often than not it consists of potatoes, vegetables and meat. In Catholic areas no meat was eaten on Fridays with a fish or egg dish being served instead.
Kaffee und Kuchen (Coffee and Cake)
On Sundays an additional snack is often served in the afternoon. A variety of cakes are prepared and offered to family and friends. In Germany you will often be invited "zum Kaffeetrinken" (meaning coffee and a substantial intake of cake) rather than lunch or dinner. The cakes that are served depend largely on the season. In summer, for instance, you might be getting a freshly made plum or strawberry cake (Pflaumenkuchen, Erdbeerboden) whereas in winter you might be offered a Christstollen or Früchtebrot which are both made with dried rather than fresh fruit. The variety of cakes available in Germany is countless and some have become quite well known outside Germany, like the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Gateau) and Apfelstrudel.
The dinner is often eaten at about six o'clock. As the name suggests (Abendbrot
, literally evening bread), it is usually a cold meal served with different kinds of bread, a selection of cheese, cold meat and salad. A small hot dish (often leftovers or a soup) may also be served. Many people take black or herbal tea with the meal.
Since most Germans start their day fairly early they tend to eat their meals earlier in the day than Irish people. Restaurants serving traditional German food often do not provide hot meals after ten o'clock.
German eating habits today
The general change in lifestyle has modified traditional German eating habits considerably. Many Germans, for instance, now eat their main meal at dinner time rather than at midday and the classic German breakfast is often substituted by an American style breakfast with cereals. Unlike their French and Italian neighbours, however, most Germans like a hearty start to their day and will take their time over breakfast. It is not unusual to be invited over for breakfast by friends. Many young Germans like to go out for breakfast if they have the time. Most German cafés have an extensive breakfast menu and serve breakfast or brunch until three o'clock.
Although many Germans still eat a comparatively large amount of meat, most people now favour a more modern and healthy way of cooking. Foreign cuisines have become an integral part of the staple diet of most Germans, and Italian favourites like pizza and pasta are now as common in Germany as they are anywhere else. Because of the many migrants from southern and central Europe some foreign cuisines are more readily available than others. Most German towns, no matter how small, have an Italian restaurant and ice cream parlour and a stall where Turkish specialities like Döner Kebab and Börek can be bought. In bigger cities you will often see Greek and Yugoslavian restaurants. Asian food has also become very popular. Less noticeable, but typically German, are the many Schnellimbiss
stalls which offer German variations of fast food like Currywurst
, (fried sausage with a spicy tomato sauce) Pommes Frites
, (potato salad) Frikadellen
, (meat balls), etc.