Friday, January 25, 2013

Weckle or Schrippe?

Initially I did not want to bore you with another querelle d'Allemand but when even the New York Times reported about a sarcastic remark of one of our deputy speakers of parliament (Bundestagsvizepräsident) Wolfgang Thierse the German press and I became exited.

Wolfgang Thierse (right) with Freiburg's MP Gernot Erler
on a visit in front of the Neues Rathaus in August 2002
Up to now I had admired Wolfgang who in 1989 living in East Berlin was one of the architects of the Wende in the GDR leading to Germany's reunification. He still dwells on Käthe-Kollwitz-Platz at Prenzlauer Berg nowadays one of the Berlin quarters that are ”in.” This led to a gentrification since about 90% of the people moved there after the Wende and dislodged the original population. Pointing his finger in particular at newcomers from Swabia Wolfgang said, ”In Berlin I want to buy Schrippen and no Weckle.

Brötchen (©Wikipedia)
A roll or a bun is known in High German as Brötchen meaning small bread like in French petit pain. This word is supposed to be understood in all parts of the country. Nevertheless Elisabeth still likes to tell the story when we lived as a young couple in Munich and she went to a local bakery to buy a few Brötchen. The lady behind the counter taught her, ”Brötchen hoamer net, wir hoam nur Semmeln (We have no Brötchen, we only have Semmeln).” You may have guessed by now, Brötchen are called Schrippen in Berlin, Weckle in Baden-Württemberg, and Semmeln in Bavaria.

However there are more regional names. You buy Rundstücke in Hamburg, Wecke in Hessia, Brüdche in Cologne, and Brötli in Switzerland. In addition there are lots of variations carrying special names of which I like in particular:

Röggelchen made partly from rye flower. Served in Cologne
with a chunk of middle-old Dutch cheese as Halve Hahn.
Doppel-Bürli with its dark crust baked in Switzerland
and best with butter and a slice of Gruyere cheese (©Wikipedia)
Schusterjunge (cobbler's apprentice) in Berlin. A roll made from rye.
Simply delicious when spread with crackling fat (©Wikipedia).
But enough of rolls and buns as the story that by now should be over starts to show signs of a civil war. The slogan from November 1989 - perverted already in November 2009 against West German domination of the East - suddenly rears its head again on a poster:

We are one people, you are another (©dpa)
The highlight of the Schrippe-Weckle quarrel so far was that the head of Käthe Kollwitz's sculpture was decorated with Spätzle, i. e., the pasta from Swabia. The police downplayed the affair saying it was no criminal damage of property  because the next rain will easily wash off the pasta.

Käthe Kollwitz sculpture on Käthe-Kollwitz-Platz (©dpa)
For this carnival season the Swabians bestowed the golden fool's bell upon Wolfgang Thierse who,  being the first non-Swabian to be honored, regarded the honor as a Prussian-Swabian reconciliation commenting, ”Differences make Germany richer.”

Wolfgang Thierse with the golden fool's Bell (©Der Spiegel)
For February 1, separatists have announced the creation of a Swabian enclave on Prenzlauer Berg called Schwabylon from which they will ban Thierse into exile.

A Swabian enclave on Prenzlauer Berg
Nota bene: We here in Freiburg, the people of Baden, are not concerned for the home made pasta in Freiburg are called Knöpfle.

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