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Baked Schweinshaxe.
German cuisine has evolved as a national cuisine through centuries of social and political change with variations from region to region.
The southern regions of Germany, including Bavaria and neighbouring Swabia, share many dishes. Austrian cuisine is very similar. This originates in common religious and cultural history. Southern Germany and Austria are mainly Catholic, so religious fasting rules for Friday, Lent and Advent, even if no longer widely practiced, have influenced the cuisine. Germany has the second-highest number of Michelin starred restaurants, after France.
Breakfast (Frühstück) commonly consists of bread, toast or bread rolls with butter or margarine, cold cuts, cheeses, jam (Konfitüre or more commonly called Marmelade), honey and eggs (typically boiled). Common drinks at breakfast are coffee, tea, milk, cocoa (hot or cold) or fruit juices. It is very common to eat hearty toppings at breakfast, including deli meats like ham, salted meats, salami and meat-based spreads such as Leberwurst (liver sausage),Teewurst or Mettwurstand cheeses such as Gouda, Frischkäse (cream cheese), Brie, Harzer RollerBergkäse and more. Most bakeries tend to sell belegte Brötchen (sandwiches from bread rolls), especially in the morning, for people on the go.
Traditionally, the main meal of the day has been lunch (Mittagessen), eaten around noon. Dinner (Abendessen orAbendbrot) was always a smaller meal, often consisting only of a variety of breads, meat or sausages, cheese and some kind of vegetables, similar to breakfast, or possibly sandwiches. Smaller meals added during the day bear names such asVesperBrotzeit (bread time), Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake), or Kaffeetrinken. It is a very German custom and comparable with the English Five-o'clock-Tea. It takes time between lunch and dinner, often on Sundays with the entire family.
However, in Germany, as in other parts of Europe, dining habits have changed over the last 50 years.
Today, many people eat only a small meal in the middle of the day at work, often also a second breakfast, and enjoy a hot dinner in the evening at home with the whole family. This is also the reason why the availability of cheap restaurants close to the office or the existence of a factory canteen cannot be assumed automatically.
For others, the traditional way of eating is still rather common, not only in rural areas. Breakfast is still very popular and may be elaborate and extended on weekends, with friends invited as guests; the same holds for coffee and cake. Since the 1990s, the Sunday brunch has also become common, especially in city cafés.


German-Style Pancakes

Try these puffy, baked pancakes for a change of pace.

Serves 2-4

2/3 cup Flour
3 Eggs
2/3 cup Milk
Dash Salt
1 1/2 Tablespoon butter

Pre-heat the oven to 425. Lightly whisk the eggs. Add the flour, milk, and salt. Briefly heat a heavy cast-iron skillet. Add the butter to the pan until melted. Swirl the pan to coat the surface. Pour the melted butter into the batter and mix in well. Place the batter in the skillet and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the pancake is set and beginning to brown. Cut into wedges. Serve with powdered sugar and lemon juice. The pancakes can also be topped with syrup or warm fruit.


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