Cook-and-Lunch session #125 (German)

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Date(s) - 26/11/2019
09:30 - 13:00


Kale, “Grünkohl” in German (Brassica oleracea convar. acéphala var. sabéllica), is a type of cabbage that does not form a head.  Instead, it grows very curly leaves on woody stems. Because of its shape, another German word for Kale is “Federkohl“, literally, feather cabbage.

Did you know that this vegetable is as important to the northern German city of Oldenburg as “Karneval” is to Cologne?  Kale has such a cult following in Oldenburg, that there is even a special day for it, the “Kohlfahrt” (literally, cabbage walk).

The participants in a “Kohlfahrt” arrange a walk through the countryside to a village pub, usually in mid-winter.  Often this walk is linked with cross-country games like “Boßeln” (kind of bowling on the country side roads).  As fortification against the frosty weather and in preparation for the hearty meal, an ample supply of alcoholic beverages, such as “Korn”, is taken in a shopping trolley or handcart, which are handed out as part of the games or at waypoints along the walk.  

At the village pub, the merry walkers are served with “Grünkohl and, depending on the region, boiled potatoes, “Kassler, “Pinkel” (no Kale without Pinkel) or “Kohlwurst.  Participants are plied with more beer and “Korn”, allegedly to aid digestion.  In many areas, there is also music and dancing after the meal.

The “Grünkohlessen” reaches its climax in the proclamation of the “Kohlkönig” (literally, cabbage king) or the “Kohlkönigspaar” (cabbage couple).  Various methods are used to award the royal title.  Either the number of portions consumed is added up, the weight of the participants before and after the meal is measured, or the results of the games during the walk are used.  The “Kohlkönig” is singled out as the last to leave the table.  This excludes visits to the toilet or dancing breaks.  As a visible sign of royalty, chains with the history of the “Kohlkönig” of this group or a pig’s jaw bone with an appropriate inscription are worn.  The king or royal couple will be responsible for organizing the following year’s “Grünkohlessen“.

When:  Tuesday, November 26th, starting at 9.30am till about 1.00pm thereabouts

Where:  Liane’s home in Weinheim (address will be provided to those attending one week before the event begins)

What:  We won’t be going on a Kohlfahrt“, but we will be staging our very own “Grünkohlessen“.  The menu will consist of “Friesische Krabbensuppe” (Frisian shrimp soup), “Oldenburger Grünkohl” with “Pinkel“, and “Rote Grütze” (red fruit jelly).  At the end of the meal, perhaps we might even get to crown our very own “Kohlkönigin“?

There is space for 7 participants.  Registration opens end October. The list of participants will be finalised two weeks before event date.


Faeimm Tang

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