Glenn and I both studied in Vienna for several weeks, but in different summers. We went with the same program and had the same professors and did a lot of the same things, but not together. It’s pretty fun to reminisce, but it can get confusing. Remember when I learned the difference between brot and brötchen? No. You weren’t there. (Before every meal, the waiter would ask me, Brot oder brötchen? I always thought the terms were interchangeable and never knew how to get what I wanted. As it turns out, brot is more like a slice of bread and brötchen is more like a roll. Who knew.)
We both pretty much lived off of Wiener Schnitzel, potato salad, and cucumber salad while we were there. There was plenty of other food to be had — döner kebab, goulash, rye bread pizza, pizza slices, sauerkraut, noodle soup, apfelstrudel, Sachretorte — but serving Wiener Schnitzel to seventy hungry college students seems to be equivalent to serving burgers. Everybody loves it, it’s somewhat patriotic, it’s fairly inexpensive, and after awhile it gets a little boring.
Four years later (five for Glenn) Wiener Schnitzel seems like a delicacy. This meal is a nostalgic spin-off of those Vienna days. Instead of veal, we used pork. Instead of potato salad, we had potato gratin. All of it was super easy to make (consult Joy or your favorite cookbook on all counts). A few notes:
- Use homemade bread crumbs or cracker crumbs. The store-bought stuff has a gritty texture.
- Add a dash (the tiniest bit!) of fish sauce to the cucumber salad dressing. It’s the secret ingredient.
- Glenn gave me individual gratin dishes for Christmas. Isn’t it cute?