Currying flavor in the Black Forest
SCHWARZWALD, Germany — Sausages, braised meat, gravy, potatoes, more sausages. Enough. Fresh out of college years ago, I traveled to Austria, Germany, and Switzerland on a 12-day tour, ready to dig into culture, history, and food.
By the time I reached Germany, the prepaid meals were weighing me down. I craved variety, or as it turned out, spice. My plate, mostly covered by the dark tones of red meat, never lived up to my brilliant surroundings. It all got old, and cold, no fish or poultry, which I prefer. Eventually I couldn’t stand the monotonous, heavy dishes. Calories were piling on and I couldn’t take enough arduous walks up to Neuschwanstein and other castles.
One day, we ventured out to a cuckoo clock factory. The jovial sounds of the carved birds popping in time lifted my spirits, and the day’s travel made me hungry for lunch. We headed to an adjoining restaurant, quickly formed tables, and opened menus: sausage, meatloaf, gravy, and . . . chicken curry.
At this stage in my culinary life, I was afraid of curry. I was a real plain Jane, skeptical about any unfamiliar flavors. As I reviewed my choices, a longing for lighter fare overpowered me. “Chicken curry,’’ I ordered timidly. Several minutes later the entree arrived. “Guten appetit,’’ the server said. At first bite, I knew it was divine. I like curry, I thought. A second taste. No, I love curry.
I was totally taken with the zesty morsels and the smooth, golden, spicy sauce. By the last bite I was full and satisfied. Since then, I’ve thought about that curry and wondered who in the kitchen cooked it. Maybe one day I’ll eat chicken curry in India. But will it be as good?
Correction: Because of an editing error, the original headline for this story implied that Schwarzwald (the Black Forest) is in Bavaria. It is in the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg.