Cookbook:Cuisine of Austria

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Cookbook | Ingredients | Cuisines | European Cuisines

History[edit | edit source]

Eating was and still remains essential, but contrary to today, the preparing, the availability, the sharing and the consumption of food constituted social structures and hierarchies in large parts of the country. Scientific researches on food traditions give great insights in how people lived and how social life functioned in former times. More precisely, we find out how the structures of power were built and how relationships of exchange influenced and constructed those structures. Not only eating itself, but also the culinary skills played a major role regarding one's social standing, respectively for women. Time and schedule concerning food and its consumption were important. There is hardly any folktale in which food does not occur. The tales tell us when people ate, what they ate, where they ate and what delicacies they prepared for special occasions. Food structured the year, the month even the day. Furthermore, eating could convey personal appreciation as well as disrespect.

Old men and women remember the eating habits of their childhood very well. A farmer woman, who grew up at the beginning of the previous century, told researchers about her experiences in terms of food. Her family did not own a fridge. Instead, they used a big box opened to the outside in order to keep their food cold and fresh. On Sundays, she and her family ate dumplings with some salad. Every two weeks her mother baked 32 loafs of bread, therefore she had to get up at 3 o'clock in the morning to knead the dough. Coffee was reserved for special occasions. When she and her brother were sent to collect berries, their mother provided them with bread and coffee. Moreover her mother brewed beer herself, which was consumed on long and hot summer days spent on the field cutting grass. In the morning they usually ate "Brennsuppe", a soup with potatoes. For lunch they had confections of pastry and in the evening various dishes, all made with potatoes. Until today eating those confections of pastry is a loved memory for this woman.

Characteristics[edit | edit source]

Sweet dishes as main courses are very common in Austria and especially popular with children and vegetarians, since the Austrian cuisine is heavy on meat dishes like "Schweinsbraten" (roast pork), "Wienerschnitzel" or "Speckknödel" (dumplings filled with bacon), and has only little to offer for people who don’t like meat. There are many variations of sweet and savory dumplings, especially when it comes to the fillings. A specialty of Salzburg, for example, are the "Mozartknödel": cream cheese dumplings with a "Mozartkugel" as filling. Savory dumplings can be filled with minced meat, greaves or bacon and are usually served with sauerkraut and gravy.

Austrian recipes and dishes[edit | edit source]