This is a pursuit of flavour contribution, hence in English.
The theme of the month was: Sandwich. In Germany that roughly translates as Butterbrot. (Buttered bread)
And that is where the huge differences start.
Let me first introduce you to the concept:
We take a slice of bread, spread butter on, then put on cheese or some sort of German Wurst or Salami or ham – or sometimes we just take a little more butter and add salt and eat it to a hard boiled egg, when on a hiking trip, for example, and then we spread butter on the other slice of bread and put it on top, cut the slices in half and there you have it: The German Butterbrot, ready to go. For eating at home you would normally not cover it and then it is not resembling a sandwich.
It is ingrained in German psyche since butter and bread were first combined. After the World Wars Germans even talked about Gute Butter (good butter) and a bread with good butter (instead of slice with margarine or lard). Yes one could have some additional vegetables on it, gherkins are a favourite, but that was thought of as „fancy“.
The humble Butterbrot has made it into German culture
From the German punk band Die Toten Hosen, „Eisgekühlter Bommerlunder“ (1990) which contains the text:
Und dazu ein belegtes Brot mit Schinken, ein belegtes Brot mit Ei
Campino also complains about the lack of cultural subtext, he just doesn’t recognize that The Butterbrot itself is a cultural icon.
Here you hear a German singer from the 70s, who sings: Hinaus in die Ferne, mit Butterbrot und Speck, a German hiking song (with slightly sinister undertones*)
*the song stems from the time when Germans and French people were not as friendly with each other as they are now. So I have come up with the theory that Butterbrot und Speck stands for Alsace, as the most famous dish from there is thin flat bread with bacon. And the expression „der kriegt eins auf die Näse“ – well, yes, it is a coll. version of German Nase (nose) – but also closely related to the French „le nez“ … I might be stretching it, but the rivalry among both countries was huge.
The German love for the humble Butterbrot has even survived today, in the new millenium. OK, the man who sings this, is an old man, and he is fully nostalgic about it:
Even in Austria they write plays and make films about it:
I give you
So I spread some of the butter on two slices of bread and added the Paprika Lyoner „cold meat“, cut it in half, put it in my lunchbox with some Kohlrabi (cabbage turnip) – and now I am ready to go, retro style. That is the classic version. The „original“
Back in history, when butter was way more expensive and your average person was way poorer, people spread lard instead of butter on their bread. Lard was more prevalent and cheaper.
From the linked Wikipedia article (yes, German Butterbrot has its own Wikipedia article)
„As a conclusion one may say that the Butterbrot is a type of open faced sandwich, using well made savoury bread slices, and with simpler straightforward toppings. However one of the reasons why the Germans prefer just butter and simpler toppings is because they take such pride in the quality and taste of their breads.“
And there you have it, in Pursuit of flavour, without a recipe and with a lot of reading, some music and a link to an Austrian actor and director.