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Thread: Happy German-American Day!

  1. #1
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Happy German-American Day!

    October 6 was traditionally celebrated as "German-American Day" in the US in the 19th Century, basing the date on the anniversary of the date a group of German families from the Rhineland arrived in the American Colonies and founded Germantown, Pennsylvania. Celebration was practically discontinued during/after World War I due to anti-German sentiment. However, it was re-designated as "German-American Day" by the U.S. Congress in 1987.

    So, Happy German-American Day!

    I'd be curious to know how many Cyburbians have German ancestry or live in areas with rich German heritage.

    I, personally, have both. My maternal great-grandfather and his family were German expats who settle on the south side of Chicago in the 1900's. My mother's maiden name was "Freudinger". However, since then, Italian, Jewish, Polish, and a few other eastern European ethnicities have krept into my blood from my mother's side. My dad's family was much more ethnically homogeneous (French and English), probably due to living in the rural Midwest for over a century and only venturing into the cities in my grandparent's generation.

    Central Texas has a great deal of German (in addition to Czech and Slovak and variety of other Central European) ethnic enclaves and heritage. Many names (both places' and people's) in the Austin and San Antonio areas reflect this heritage. In fact, there was a time in the 19th Century when German was the most-used home language in the City of San Antonio.

    What about y'all?

  2. #2
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I'm half German. So it stands to reason I enjoy good beer. Oh, and punctuality is of primary importance to me too. I truly appreciate good engineering and precision machine work. And nothing resonates quite so much as a nice martial tune. Come to think of it, I've often considered invading Belgium the next time I get a couple weeks vacation....

  3. #3
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I am half German. Paternal g-parents are third generation Americans from the Berlin area originally. We lost a "N" on the trip over. My g-g-grandfather was named Otto, my g-grandfather was Hann, my grandfather is Ralph.

    My father's side is pure German blood in that they have always married Germans at least up to my parents. My dad is the first of his side to marry someone who doesn't have parents who are German (my mothers side is Canadian and French if go back a generation or two more and Polish...).
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  4. #4
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    My maternal great-grandparents were German citizens. The came to the States and had my grandmother. They returned to Germany and during WWII sent my grandmother back to the states.

    That's all I know. I was never close to my grandmother. And my mom never talks about our ancestry and I guess I've never cared that much to pepper her wish questions. The only thing my mom ever said about our German heritage is that my grandmother would yell at her kids in German.

    I do know that I love German food.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  5. #5
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    I do know that I love German food.
    Did you ever get a chance to eat at the Schnitzelbank before they closed? Their sauerbraten was a food group on par with dairy, fruits, and vegetables!

  6. #6
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    No German heritage, but I grew up in a neighborhood with a very large German-American plurality, if that means anything. My parents' favorite restaurant was the Wurzburger Hof, a short walk from our house.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  7. #7
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Did you ever get a chance to eat at the Schnitzelbank before they closed? Their sauerbraten was a food group on par with dairy, fruits, and vegetables!
    I'm salivating as I type this!! Lot's of people were sad to see it go.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  8. #8
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    I'm salivating as I type this!! Lot's of people were sad to see it go.
    Off-topic:
    The next nearest german restaurant I know of is way the H- over in Ann Arbor! (Metzgers)

  9. #9
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I always wondered why there aren't more German restaurants. I've been told it's because American food is, at its heart, German food.

    There's a few remaining German restaurants in Buffalo. Scharf's is the best known; it's in the Schiller Park neighborhood on the East Side, where there's still a few German holdouts. From Forgotten Buffalo:

    Scharf’s is the LAST of the great German taverns and restaurants in the Schiller Park neighborhood that once included the Deutsches Haus, Beep and Bob Huesingers, later Strinkas Taverns, Blendinger Tavern, Days Tavern on Genesee Street and The Alpine Village on East Delavan.
    There's also Ulrich's, Schwabl's and Prosit. The large Alpine lodge-themed German restaurants of old, sadly, are long gone.

    When I lived in Las Cruces, my friends and I would make the occasional road trip down to El Paso, to visit the best German restaurant I've ever eaten at: Gunther's Edelweiss. Sadly, it's now closed.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    AIB Dan's German restaurants

    In Jasper, IN there is the Schnitzelbank Restaurant: http://www.schnitzelbank.com/

    Wurst Platter

    Three large delicious sausages (one of each) served on a bed of our homemade kraut with German fries.

    Bratwurst
    Tender pork lightly seasoned

    Knackwurst
    Lean beef with a delightful blend fo seasonings

    Bockwurst
    Pork, beef with special spices
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
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    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
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  11. #11
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Half German here, my father's 100%. He actually grew up across the street from Scharf's. Didn't actually make it there until a few years ago. Glad to see its still in business, though wonder for how much longer in that location given the neighborhood demographics. Had dinner with a friend at a German restaurant in my neighborhood a few weeks ago. Hearty food and they even had live music. Definitely a mature clientele though.

  12. #12
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jsk1983 View post
    Had dinner with a friend at a German restaurant in my neighborhood a few weeks ago. Hearty food and they even had live music. Definitely a mature clientele though.
    This is something I've seen at more than one Geman restaurant and probably has much to do with why they are going the way of the dodo. Too bad, really.

    I'm sure there's a kernel of truth to the notion that American food is essentially German food at heart, but there are a lot of unique dishes that you don't see completely integrated/Americanized, such as spaetzle, sauerbraten, schnitzle, many different varieties of sausage and sauerkraut (is it a coincidence they all start with the letter 's' too?)

  13. #13
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I may have some German in me, though its a little uncertain. Two sides of my family have Germanic surnames that could also be Dutch, further complicated by changed spellings and pronunciations upon arrival. Plus, as I understand it, some people came here leaving from Germany but they had actually gone there from their home country and so were not necessarily German at all.

    I do know that my earliest known American ancestor, Heinrich Younkin (Junkin, Youngkin), came from Germany in the late 17th century. Also, on the other side, a man named George Sornberger fought for the Good Guys in the Revolution. I also have some Hankins' in my family. I think they are Dutch, but I thought the Younkins were, too, only to recently learn that Heinrich came here from Germany.

    Altogether, I seem to be made from:
    Germans
    Irish
    Scotts
    French
    Dutch?
    English

    As far as food is concerned, they don't call 'em Hamburgers and frankfurters because they came from London...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  14. #14
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    There are some good German places around Austin and the Hill Country, especially Fredericksburg and New Braunfels. However, most of those places are only German to the extent that our (read: Texans') "Mexican" food is Mexican. People talk of a few places in Boerne and one in some tiny town called Walburg as being true German food, but I've never been to either. Perhaps SuburbRepairman or Habanero have?

  15. #15
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jsk1983 View post
    Hearty food and they even had live music. Definitely a mature clientele though.
    As Maister said, it seems to be something all German restaurants have in common. Wurzburger Hof on Bailey Avenue, even in the 1970s, had a "God's waiting room" clientele. Even at Gunther's Edelweiss in El Paso, I know the Luftwaffe at Fort Bliss made up some of the clientele, but I wondered where they managed to find so many elderly German-American patrons in such a predominantly Mexican city.

    Off-topic:
    Slightly off-topic: I often wondered why some ethnic groups, despite their large presence in the United States, are underrepresented in the restaurant scene. Visit Buffalo, and you would think it's 80% Italian, based on the dominant fare. Poles are among the largest ethnic groups, but there's only a few Polish restaurants in the area, even in Cheektowaga/Sloan/Depew.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  16. #16
    Not German in the slightest here, though I've changed planes in Munich.

    But someone has to get everyone singing along to Ferris Buehler's Day Off

    Danke schoen.....

  17. #17
    I'm between 50 and 75% German, depending on who you talk to about the Old County. My mom was 100%, my dad is 50-50 German/Swedish. I'm from northern Indiana, so that settles what the predominant ethnic group is.

    Food-wise, I grew up eating a lot of German food, tho it wasn't called that. We also ate Mexican, Chinese, some Greek and more American style food.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  18. #18
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    My ancestry is predominantly German, since I get it from all sides of the family. There's a little bit of Norwegian on my mom's side, and I think small hints of French and Irish from somewhere down the line. It's safe to say though that my ancestry is around 75% German. My dad's family came to America from Germany in the late 1800s and I think my mom's family came right around the turn of the century or the early 1900s. All of my grandparents were born in Chicago...I know that much. My dad's parents were born around WWI, while my mom's parents were born during the Depression. So I think my great-grandparents were all born in America as well, except for maybe one or two on my mom's side.

    Nevertheless, my family is typical of the Germans who emigrated to Chicago. Working class roots and all that, especially my mom's side and my dad's dad. Alcoholism runs in my mom's side, so I gotta be careful about that. My dad's mom came from a little bit wealthier family (typical German name too, Miller), where the dad still had a job during the Depression and all that, but my Grandma nevertheless was a hoarder and I think it was because of what she saw during that time. On my mom's side, both my grandparents grew up with rough childhoods and were pretty poor and so once they found stable work and had a family they developed a very family- and community-oriented live-and-let-live attitude and a be-happy-with-what-you-got and no-news-is-good-news type mentality.

    And there are certain family recipes that date back to the old country, but still I think we've become pretty Americanized. It's also interesting to note that my family (well, I think on my dad's side anyway) came from an area of Germany that is now part of Poland. But they were ethnic Germans, so I think that still makes me German, right?

    Oh, and I love going to good German restaurants when I can. And we eat brats a lot. Berghoff in Chicago is a favorite, as is one in Wisconsin which I will not disclose since it's kind of a family secret.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I ate a bratwurst once. That has since passed through, so there's no German in me.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  20. #20
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Mostly German (my family name is from what is now Mecklinburg state) with a bit of Irish mixed in here - German stubbornness mixed with Irish temper!



    <-- (Gotta love the avatar, too! )

    And I'm just about to head out to the Old Bavarian for some bratwurst and a half-liter of Spaten Optimator!



    Mike

  21. #21
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Well if we go into German Restaurants, has anyone been to German Village in Columbus, Ohio?

    -Bierberg Bakery - German Cookies, pastries, etc.
    -Juergen’s Bakery & Restaurant - Contemporary German (Schnitzel, Sauerbraten, Goulaschsuppe)
    -Schmidt’s Fudge Haus - Exactly like what it sounds like.
    -Katzinger’s Delicatessen - Good place.
    -Schmidt’s Restaurant und Sausage Haus - Most famous place in German Village. Great food, great atmosphere, and a lot of fun.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  22. #22
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I'm eating kielbasa and sauerkraut right now.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  23. #23
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    I'm eating kielbasa ....
    Which is polish...
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  24. #24
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    Which is polish...
    ....which is entirely consistent with where he's living.

    And keep in mind, German-American day was yesterday.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    We have a German restaurant on the outskirts of town. The owner is German and he married a Jamaican lady and her family runs the restaurant. It is a bit of a disconnect to walk into a German restaurant and be greeted by a "Hello, mon."

    I'm not a huge fan of German/Austrian food other than strudel. When my mom and I visited Austria a few years ago, rather than sampling beer at every restaurant we sampled apfelstrudel.

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