Some best German foods for Indians to give a try in my experience

I am basically a non red meat eater, so most of the dishes in Germany are ruled out for me. Still I love certain German food which I really enjoy. This blog is mainly for people who are preparing to come to Germany or new to Germany, who are scared and have lot of questions about German food for you and your kids. I am completing 6 years in Germany now and I can assure that not only you and your family survive but also you can keep your taste buds happy. One important thing to keep in mind that you should be ready to come out of your shell and start to explore German food without judging by comparing with Indian food.

I have divided the German foods into 2 sections, On the go cheap breakfast foods and Restaurant foods.

On the go cheap breakfast foods:

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A typical breakfast in Germany starts off with bread (Brot) or bread rolls (Brötchen) with various spreads and toppings. Which are not expensive and easily available in bakeries. German breads are really worth to try.

1. Butter Brezel/Bretzel (Pretzel ): One among my favorite is Butter Brezel/Bretzel (butter pretzel).

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2. Spinat Käse Brot (Cheese spinach roll): My second favorite is the Spinach roll, These crescent rolls stuffed with spinach and cheese make for a quick and simple breakfast, lunch, dinner or appetizer recipe. These cheesy spinach rolls are so yummy, the kids won’t even mind the spinach.

3. Schneckennudeln (German Cinnamon Rolls): It is a traditional south-west German pastry but I eat for my breakfast most of the time. It is a traditional Swabian recipe and it consist of ground nuts filling, which is my favorite! There are also different kinds of filling like almond, raisin, poppy seeds, hazelnuts etc.

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4. Croissant: Croissants are staple of any Sunday brunch in Germany, and thez are sometimes referred as Hörnchen (little horns) because of their shape. Croissants are often enjoyed with jam or Nutella.

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5. Salami: Typical German breakfast consist of meat and especially salami with bread. Salami and Wurst are the most attractive thing for children. Even you have never exposed these in India, Children get easily attracted by this as soon as they enter Germany. We as a Indian family who doesn’t prefer red meat will always go for Geflügel-Salami (which is made from duck, turkey and chicken).

Restaurant foods:

The best part in German restaurants is they serve a bowl of salad with most dishes. Do try different types of salads while you are Germany. Some German foods which I really find good for my Indian taste bud without red meat are as follows

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1. Spätzle (German noodle): It is the most common meatless dishes found in Germany.  If you enter German restaurant and ask for noodle, you will get Spätzle. They are made with eggs. If you are a lover of cheese then you can get Käsespätzle (cheese noodle). You can aslo get Spinatspatzeln (Spinach noodle).

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2. Kartoffelknödel/Kloß (Boiled potato dumplings): You get different types of Knödel made with bread, flour, meat, cheese, potatoes etc. It comes with salad and sauce. Make sure to order vegetarian sauce  because once I didn’t give any preference to sauce and ended up with meat sauce.

3. Kartoffelpuffer (Potato pancakes): They are shallow pan-fried pancakes made from grated or mashed potatoes mixed with flour, egg, onion and seasoning. Sometimes you will get it as a side dish to a main course of meat or fish, or sweet with apple sauce, blueberries, sugar and cinnamon.

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4. Schnitzel (Meat cutlet): They are thin pounded meat dish which is fried. It’s my daughter’s favorite  dish and luckily it is made with duck or chicken. It doesn’t need any sauce and kids love with ketchup and mayo and it comes with fries.

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5. Lachsfilet mit Butterkartoffeln salat:  As my family love to eat fish, we always tried to find a good German fish food. I would this dish is pretty good and also Cord and Salmon pan fry is also my favorite.

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There are more food items to add to this blog. Will definitely add some of my other favorite German vegetarian foods too in my next blog. Please leave your favorite German foods in the comments below so, that the newcomers to Germany will benefit from it. Stay tuned for my favorite German street foods in coming blogs.

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Must need household things for those who are new to Germany

When I came to Germany to start my life here, as an Indian few things were new for me and there were no proper guide, when it comes to household things. I couldn’t find any sites, forums or blogs related to it. As most of them live in rented apartments and it’s always necessary to keep the house clean and tidy to the core, because we can expect landlord visits and there are more chances for us being kicked out of the apartment, if your apartment is untidy.  I am not going to discuss about any cleaning products here. I am just gonna say about few affordable household things which will make your life easy in keeping your house clean. And I would say these things are pretty much considered as must haves in every German household.

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1. Stove Scraper (Herdschaber):

We Indians cook a lot and obviously it will lead to mess. The Glass stove tops become sticky with oil what we use. For me it was the best life saver and every time when I use, it makes my stove top brand new again. Use a damp cloth or paper towel to remove any excess crumbs or other mess. Next, add a liberal amount of the liquid cleaner and scrap it out.

2. Microfiber cloth (Mikrofasertuch):

It’s one of the best household thing for the whole house. It’s available in all stores. It can be used for cleaning stove tops, kitchen cupboards, sink, doors, television etc.. It can be used without cleaning products for a wide variety of cleaning tasks and it’s reusable. I will link my favorite and affordable brand.

3. Garbage bag stand (Müllsackständer):

This is very useful for places in Germany where waste separation is done. I use it especially for plastic waste (Plastikmüll). It’s cheap and works great for me.

4. Rubber Toilet and kitchen sink Plunger (Saugglocke pömpel):

 

This is a must have household thing when you enter Germany as we cannot afford for plumber here. This plunger is good for sinks both in bathrooms and kitchens but can also be used in bathtubs.

5. Stainless steel sink strainer (Küche Spüle Sieb Stecker):

 

This strainer is very for every Indian household as we tend to more solid debris. This strainer is highly recommended to filter out the solid debris in the water system. There are plastic and rubber strainers are also available.

6. House shoes (Hausschuhe):

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House shoes are more common German thing here and it’s really a must have in winter. It not only keep your feet warm but also protects your carpet from getting dirty.

7. Duster (Staubmagnet):

This is my favorite and handy cleaning thing. The duster is pushed onto the handle and holds it quite well. My daughter loves to clean with it. I especially like to use it to clean my keyboard and the electrical appliances as it can easily reach even the small gaps and dust well.

I just randomly covered few basic household things which is very useful when you move in to Germany. Will upload more in future. I hope it will help someone who is planning to move or newcomer to Germany.

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How parental insecurity affects the child and things to avoid it

Every human have some kind of insecurities and  it’s quite normal to have such feelings of self-doubt sometimes. Few carry those insecurities in some part of their life, whereas few live with those insecurities for their whole life. But in one stage of life these insecurities which you have will really start affecting the other person, it’s nothing but a parenting stage.  Yes, its starts affecting your kids very early in their life.

As a kid I always grown with some kind of social fear and always needed someone to push me forward (even now sometimes :)). So, before having my child I decided that, I should not show my insecurities to her and wanted her to grow independent and self deprived. But, once I had my daughter, I realized having the thought alone doesn’t gonna work because, even as a small kid she picked my fears whenever I stumble in something. Kids are highly intellectual when comes to picking even small nuisances from their parents, say it good or bad. These behaviors that children can easily learn through observation. Sometimes I stress how this behavior came to her, without even realizing that I am the person showing her how to behave like that, through my actions. We are the examples for our kids in each and everything.  I write this blog for myself as a greater recall down the line about the things I want to follow as a parent to avoid such insecurities affecting my kid. I hope this post helps parents like me.

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Calm and balanced parenting really works:

Kids are prone to questions. When our kids ask something, even a silly, no sense question, be sure that you don’t panic or get mad. The best way of hiding your insecurities is staying calm and balanced, and make sure to have a good interaction with your child, which will make your child to develop the same behavior you showed them. If you find difficultly in staying calm and balanced, you can always seek a medical help or through yoga or meditation.

Don’t take your social insecurities to your kid:

Nowadays everyone is facing some kind of social pressure, which is unavoidable but being insecure about certain things and taking those to your kids is not okay. For instance comparing your kid with other kid and constantly telling this to your kid will lead to worse. Your kid will start believing that others are better than him and that he is incapable of performing well or living to the expectations of the parents. This feeling will damage his/her self-worth and self-esteem.

Listening your kids:

Have a conversation with your kid and let your child tell you what he/she needs from you. You are indirectly teaching your kids to listen to others by you listening to them. Never underestimate their feelings. Always be their support system and make sure you don’t pass on your insecurities to them. Trust your kids which will make them to trust the world.

Don’t ever show your emotional imbalance to them:

Being relaxed  in every situation is not easy but being over reacting to certain situations like your child’s illness, injury etc., will definitely pass on your insecurities to them. Convey them that you are with them in whatever they do, thus you are teaching them to be independent and also safe and secure.

Use your experience to help your children:

In your entire life you’ve likely developed a toolbox of coping strategies for your insecurities. If you think your child have genetically inherited certain insecurities like yours then you can pass along to your children some strategies you’ve learned and developed.  In my case I always have the fear of unknown, so I always make sure I learn as much as I can about a new situation before I make that first leap. Now, I use that for my daughter in few instances.

As I always say parenting is not easy, when you decide to grow a strong minded and healthy child. This can be done only as a parent you override your fears and stand confident in front of them.

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Engaging kids in home. Ways that I follow

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Back then, in my childhood I used to always play outdoors, of course it’s India and especially I am from South India and the weather there always is favorable for outdoor games and yes weather plays a main role in engaging kids. Here in Germany, after having my daughter I realized, how hard it is to engage a kid in home especially in winters. Her terrible two drove me crazy and I was constantly thinking for ideas to engage her. Kids have a lot of energy to let out. Being a minimalist parent I don’t want to invest more on toys or expensive stuffs, while we have a lot of things around us which bring joy to our kids.  So, Parents here you go, take a look at some of my ways to engage kids indoor.

Be with your child. I know, not every parent has enough time to spend with their kids. But, when you do have time to spend with your child, do things that they enjoy. Giving our time is a big thing that we can do for our  kids. Even simply sitting near them and staring at what they play matters a lot to a kid. In case if you are working parent, avoid bringing work home with you. In case you have to, then allow your child to sit with you and do some coloring or do puzzles etc. But all they need is your presence.

Fun Reading sessions. My daughter loves books in any form. Sometimes she take my novel and start pretending to read :). Reading sessions are really a good way to engage kids and also make them to start their interest in reading at very young age. Since early on, I have been reading books to my daughter. After I finished reading a story book to her, I would always tell her it’s quite time now for mommy and you to read the book by ourselves. And she will just stare the pictures of the book and keep saying the words from the stories which I read. It’s a good way for improving their memory and creative thinking.

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Involving kids in household chores. I would say it’s one of my favorite task because it always makes my household chores less stressful by seeing the cuteness of her doing those chores. Give chores which excite them. For example, I say my daughter to clean the television because it shows you your favorite cartoons or wipe the mirrors as it shows your beautiful face everyday to you etc. Involve them in kitchen for putting veggies in respective baskets and cooking. My daughter roll her own tiny Chapathis (Indian bread), sometime peeling carrots with my assistance and baking with kids are always fun. Involving them in house hold chores make them to teach cleanliness, discipline and also how to look after themselves and the house.

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Painting. Which kid is not the fan of painting, be it hand painting or with brush. My daughter sometimes do it on her face too. It’s okay to be messy while having fun. Creativity starts from colors and using them on papers , so encourage kids to paint more and don’t forget to encourage them by showcasing their creativity on walls or doors or like me by hanging it in a notice board.

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Doing exercise together. It’s a great way for both to have fun. We laugh a lot while we do mommy daughter exercise. There are a lot of videos out there which you can play in TV and just do by seeing it. It is quite a good way to be fit and also incorporate healthy activity for the kid in indoor. For us sometimes exercise sessions will change to dance sessions too :).

Make use of old cardboard. Before you throw away those cardboard of your new washing machine arrived in, you need to check out all of the brilliant things you can make with them. Amazing play houses for no cost can be made for your kids. My daughter used to stay in that for whole day and play. It doesn’t need to be so perfect (your kid doesn’t need that too).

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Her dolly sleeping in the cardboard house

Do a magic show. I made her a backdrop with two chairs and said mommy is ready for your show, that’s it my daughter got so excited to make her own show.  It made her to think all interesting things for the show like shadow puppets, magic toys arrives from shopping basket etc., which was so fun and it really encouraged her creativity.

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Magic show – She asked me to close my eyes and took toys from the shopping basket 🙂

Role play. Every kid has their favorite story and favorite character in it. Find the stories which they are obsessed with and start playing a role play, It’s not only fun but also helps them identify good from bad while encouraging bravery.  You can choose a superhero or a fantasy characters such as unicorns, dinosaurs, princess tales etc. Along with being fun, using imagination in their play improves their creativity. It’s not necessary to buy those costumes, just make those with what is available near you. Kids will never complain about it for sure.

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Role play – Little red riding hood (obviously I am the Wolf :))

Do try these methods, they are cost-effective, develop the skills, bonding and also engage them in home. Please do follow me and share you experiences in comments which might help a lot of people out there.

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Misconceptions which shocked me about India

It’s been a while since I wrote something in my blog. Recently I finished my B2 level in German language. My 10 months course not only taught language but also got the opportunity to mingle with people from different countries. After getting closer to people from other land, something which surprised me is the misconception what they have about my homeland India. Some made my eyebrows raise and few made me laugh. I realized, India, being a multiculturalmultiethnic and multireligious society, there is no big wonder that people have so much misconceptions. Here, I like to write about some questions which I came across being an Indian in Germany.

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Do you speak “Indian”?

No, of course we don’t speak “Indian,” because Indian is not a language. People have no idea, how many languages and dialects exist in our country and are spoken by everyone. There are about 122 native languages exists in India. So, whenever I come across the question “Sprichst du Indisch?” (do you speak Indian?), my answer will not be yes or no, rather a big lecture of Indian languages.

As shown in Bollywood films, do you guys dance in streets?

I remembered, when my good friend asked this to me “Tanzen Sie alle, wie in Bollywood-Filmen gezeigt, auf der Straße?”, I couldn’t control my laughter. Yes we love to see movies but none of us go around dancing in streets and singing in the rain. We live so normally, much like the other people in the world.

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Have you seen snakes in streets?

It was a weird question which I came across from one of my Greek friend. She literally thought India is underdeveloped and we see wild animals in daily basis. I asked “where you have seen snakes” She replied “In Zoo or Snack parks”, I said “Dear even I have seen it only in zoo and snake parks like you”.  Snakes are not commonly found in streets or in public places except in zoos.

Why Indian food is so spicy?

Not in every part of the country we serve spicy food. If you go to northern part, for example, we have Dal varieties (curried yellow lentils), can be mild. In down south we have delicacies like idli, vada, and the most loving dish curd-rice. We have foods that suit for all kind of taste buds.

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Dal (yellow lentil curry)

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Curd rice

You speak different language other than your national language?

As I said earlier there are about 122 native languages and 23 official languages in India. 60% of Indians have mother tongues other than Hindi. So, its normal for an Indian to speak in his state’s language and not in national language.

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Why can’t you eat beef but eat chicken?

There are people in India who eat beef, It’s something what Hindu religion says and its our choice to eat or avoid. So, people who follow and believe in Hindu religion doesn’t consume the cow. There are many religion other than Hindu, hence many consume beef in India.

Can you teach Yoga?

I always have a weird smile at this question and say no. Because I always felt ashamed that more than Indians, the western world is taking Yoga more seriously (as far as i know). It’s a fact that lot of us don’t do Yoga.

Do all Indian people sleep in streets?

One of my German friend visited India and she saw a large amount of people sleeping in streets and parks and thought its a normal practice for Indians to sleep in streets. But, no not every Indian sleeps in streets. They are bunch of homeless people like the same in other western countries. The only difference is the number of people, which is obviously higher, considering the Indian population.

Does India have a hot weather all 365 days?

Nope! Even our countries weather changes from region to region.  India does get very hot summers, equally cold winters and a moderate tropical weather. Looking at the size of the country it is not possible to have only one kind of weather throughout the year. We have six ecological seasons.

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