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Apr 6, 2013 08:07 PM

Suggestions for dinner for German guests in U.S.

My wife's aunt and uncle(70) and cousin (21) will be visiting here in Michigan in May. As chief household cook, I'm in charge of serving dinner for the 3 days they will be staying with us. I would like to serve up something that would be different from typical German home cooking but I know absolutely zero about what 'typical' might be. I assume Germany has most of the various world cuisines available as we do in America (pizza, Chinese, various fast foods, etc). I have thought grilled foods and southwestern dishes might work but I'm very much in uncharted waters here and don't want to make something Germans may generally dislike. This will only be our second time meeting them in 35 years (yes, I hope to impress) so I could use some ideas from my friends here at Chowhound. I don't want to cop out and serve the meat and potato dishes my wife believes they normally have.

p.s. I am an experienced cook and make just about everything from fresh pastas and breads to sushi so any suggestion could fly.

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  1. Cook some of your family favorites, and don't worry about what they do or don't do in Germany. They are visiting you.

    1. What about some American dishes such as meat loaf, fried chicken, mac and cheese, hot dog?

      2 Replies
      1. re: PeterL

        Funny you mention mac and cheese. We have a German au pair living with us as of 3 weeks ago. On her first night, we took her to a classic diner, figuring she could get anything there. She ordered the mac and cheese because they don't have it anywhere at home. She loved it.

        Then, the next day, I took her to the supermarket. As we were wandering up and down the aisles, she stopped in front of the Kraft mac and cheese in the blue box. She said "I heard that this was good". So I bought a few boxes...what the hell. My kids were thrilled since I never would buy it for them!

        1. re: PeterL

          Maybe chili dogs would be another idea for an American dish.
          Maybe it's just me, but I can't tell the difference between hot dogs and frankfurters.

        2. I visited Germany once and was told that good Chinese food/seafood was rare there. Fresh seafood especially was rare (though that might mean that they're uncomfortable with it). Fresh pineapple (eg tropical fruit) was rare. I'm sure it varies per region though and who knows, they might be foodies with varied tastes too!

          1 Reply
          1. re: 1MunchieMonster

            Probably it depends on where you are in Germany. Cooking still tends to be more "local" in Europe than in North America, although foods from the world over are available. Perhaps you've seen the scene in Mostly Martha (this film has several titles in translation) featuring the famous Fish Market in Hamburg. People along the coast there in Germany will eat as much fish as Dutch or Danes.

          2. When my German-raised husband, and his mother, cook... they generally don't use sauces. However, they both appreciate any of the sauces which I serve, or which are served in restaurant meals. Neither of them appreciate strong cheeses or dried fish, nor would I serve them something so pungent as nato, or the Chinese style fermented tofu.

            2 Replies
            1. re: KarenDW

              "...don't like strong cheeses..."? Are you sure they're Germans?

              1. re: flavrmeistr

                Not all Germans come from the land of Limburger cheese.

                But people vary there, as everywhere.

            2. I would cook your normal "guest" food and, perhaps, include something that might be a regional speciality.