Cooking with Oonagh - Article - Oktoberfest


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Oktoberfest - Eat Drink and Be Merry!
First Published in New Hampshire Seasons Fall '99 - Oonagh's Kitchen

The word Oktoberfest is something of a misnomer, since it always starts in September and this year (the 166th) it runs from 18th September to 3rd October in Munich, Germany in the area always known as Bavaria. The first Oktoberfest was on 12th October 1810 in celebration of the marriage of the then Crown Prince (later to be King) Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen.

Now, during these sixteen days of festivities, Munich resounds with the sounds of Oompah bands from the 14 beer tents, the laughter of children on the carnival rides at the fun fair and the constant clinking of beer-filled steins as everyone and his neighbor utters the toast of "Ein Prozit" i.e. a toast by everyone to each others' good health. The whole atmosphere is extremely friendly, everyone is there to enjoy themselves and have a really good time.

The Munich Oktoberfest has become the biggest folk festival in the world with about 7 million people from around the world attending and truly gargantuan amounts of food and drink being consumed - 5,478,200 liters of beer alone, 176,590 pairs of pork sausages and 84 units of oxen, amongst other delicacies on offer including pigs trotters. Do they mean whole oxen do you suppose? I can remember that while I was training in Switzerland, a whole ox was roasted as part of the town's festival. The spits must have been turning for 24 hours non-stop to cook this amount of meat, but Oh! It tasted good.

To soak up the beer for those who want to keep drinking and carousing longer, various foods are available. Something good and solid, such as bratwurst, knockwurst or pork with sauerkraut. And since we're drinking beer, let's cook them in beer as well, with onions, apples and a pinch of cloves. You might have noticed that beer labeled as 'Oktoberfest Beer' is now in the stores so you can have your own Oktoberfest. Various local stores sell a variety of German-style sausages at this time of the year. So on to the food!

Potato Pancakes

Oonagh Williams is a qualified chef and instructor, teaches a variety of international cooking classes, as well as offering a Personal Chef service. She can be reached on 603-424-6412.

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Last modified: March 12, 2000
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