Welcome to Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany!

Welcome to Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany!

Tübingen is a university town in the southwest of Germany. The coats of arms above represent the region of Baden-Württemberg, the district of Tübingen (the colors are white and red because originally, this region was part a dynasty within Austria), and the city of Tübingen, respectively. Historically, it was part of Württemberg, a region once part of the region of Swabia, which corresponds to the Roman Empire’s Swabian Circle— it spans modern Baden-Württemberg and parts of Bavaria. Although now part of Germany, the Swabian regions have their own unique culture and dialect of the German language.

Swabian cuisine, like the culture, is different from that of other regions of Germany. Swabia was a peasant area with rocky soil, so many Swabian dishes are simple and don’t have a lot of meat. Here are a few of the Swabian staples I’ve found from perusing various websites (including Wikipedia’s article on Swabian cuisine), listed in no particular order:

 

Swabian Staples

 

  1. Soups and stews—popular because they’re economical
  2. Sauces—Swabian cuisine tends to add broth or sauces to practically any dish. Dishes that may be served dry in other regions are often served swimming in sauce in Swabia—for example, schnitzel in mushroom sauce.
  3. Artisanal breads— each village has its own artisanal bread, so there are countless varieties.
  4. Seele, or Soul’s Bread, is a traditional bread made with spelt flour and topped with caraway seeds and coarse salt. This bread is used for soaking up the sauces.
  5. Spätzle—thick, chewy, and soft egg noodles. Spätzle is particularly popular with lentils in this region.
  6. Maultaschen—large, square dumplings with fillings of meat, spinach, bread crumbs, spices, and onions, served dry or in soup.
  7. Schupfnudeln—oblong potato and wheat noodles
  8. Flädle—Thin pancakes cut into strips served with either sweet sides (apple puree) or savory sides (asparagus and sauerkraut).

 

Swabian Breakfasts

 

I stumbled upon this article written by South African students studying abroad in Tubingen. They describe the breakfasts as an amazing array of breads and jams. They write:

The very first meal we were introduced to was breakfast with our host families. I had never seen such a wide variety of jams and bread on one table! Not only did they look mouth watering, but they also looked beautiful in their arrangement. I got to taste the breads and I must say that they were delicious; they are rather different from our bread loaves. Each type of bread/bun had its own texture, taste and crispiness. I guess that those are the characteristics that allow one to distinguish the breads from each other.

And of course, my favorite—desserts:

 

Swabian Sweets

 

  1. Kirschenmichel, or cherry cake
  2. Ofenschlupfer, or “oven slippers”—a kind of bread pudding
  3. Beignets, or fritters
  4. Träubleskuchen—a shortcrust pastry filled with beaten egg whites and redcurrant, commonly eaten on Sunday afternoons.

I’m looking forward to more of this…

Written by A. Alexander


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3 Comments
  • larissa says:

    Some extra information on Maultaschen: They are also called ” Herrgottsbescheisserle” – which can be translated like something as cheating on God – because during lent you would put the meat inside the “pasta” so God would see that you are eating meat.

    A rather disgusting Swabian Meal are Saure Kutteln (I think you have to be a native Swabian to like is – which I’m not) – sour tripes. The very economical Swabians are really making sure not to through away any (more or less) edible parts of the animals.

    Last night we had another very traditional Swabian dinner: Linsen with Saitenwürsten and Spätzle – which is really common in staff canteens and university/school cafeterias. Once a week it’s usually on the menu.

    And last but not least – now that we have the carnival season – we just made Fasnetsküchle (my picture) some kind of do Doughnut, which is also very traditional for the area.

    Greetings form Tübingen, and Thank you for choosing our town (by the way one of the oldest universities of Germany, almost 30 000 student, 90 000 inhabitans, very Green (political, some say it’s a little bit like Boulder, CO) and – since I just read that you learned some Latin, my son is attending the Old Latin “High School” (The Greman school system is very difficult to explain …) which was founded before 1274. Isn’t that incredibly.)

    • A. Alexander says:

      Wow, Larissa—thank you for the extra information on Swabian cuisine! I’m trying to soak up as much information as I can, so this was very helpful. I’m eager to try the Fasnetsküchle!

      Also, it’s really fascinating that your son is attending a school founded so long ago. Here in the States, there is obviously nothing like that because we are such a new country. Has your son been studying Latin for a long time to attend this school?

      • larissa says:

        You are welcome 🙂

        The German school system is very complicated and for the last 10 years a lot has chanced (it feels like on a yearly base ;-)). Right now children go to grammar school for 4 years (in some states like Berlin 6 years) and after that have to choose a “high school”. There are 3 (or more …) types, on oft them is the Gymnasium, which you need to choose if you are thinking about going to university/college later.
        Another decision you have to make at that point – once you decided to go to a Gymnasium – is what kind of Gymnasium you want to attend and with what language you want to start (well, usually the parents make that decision ;-)). There are – depending on how big the city is you live in or by – different Gymnasiums. In Tübingen for example we have five different Gymnasiums, one for example that starts with French as a first languages (well, it’s not really the first foreign language since a few years ago the whole system changed and now you start in first grade of grammar school with English – unless you live next to the French border – then you start usually with French).
        Most Gymnasiums start with English, some of them teach some subjects like Biology or Geography also in English (or French) – then you attend a bi-lingual branch of the Gymnasium. Other focus more on science or art/music. The Gymnasium my son goes to starts with Latin as a first language, the second language is English (you used to start with you second language in 7th grade, but now, since everyone learns English from 1st grade on, when you choose Latin as first language you just learn both), and for the third language (a third language is mandatory if you start with Latin) you can choose at this type of Gymnasium between Old Greek (!!) and French.
        I went also to such a classical Gymnasium, learned 9 years of Latin and actually chose Old Greek as third language (completely useless ;-)) – Latin we still need a lot for university. For example here in Tübingen you can’t study German literature or become a German teacher without at least 5 years (or so) of Latin (the same with law, medicine, all the Romance languages, I think even English) All that is changing now, too. I don’t know what it will be like once my children start going to university. I majored in Medieval history – so learning Latin was useful (and requirement anyway).

        (my son is in 6th grade, so he just has started – and he likes Latin more than English – so I guess it was the right decision to send him to that kind of school 😉 )

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