Eating in Germany
If you only knew two things about me, they would probably be 1) that I´m a vegetarian, and 2) that I am currently in Germany. To many people, the two facts seem to be contradictory. I have been warned many times that “there are no vegetables” in Germany, or that I will have a hard time maintaining my diet. Not that I for a moment believed any of these prepostrostities, but here I will prove their inaccuracy by going into the details of my lifestyle as far as it regards food (and as I consider food to be a large part of my lifestyle, and life in general, I have enough to say about the submitted to dedicate an entire blog entry to it).
First of all, Germany is part of Europe, and as such, is surrounded by many other countries. For this reason, it would already be ridiculous to suppose that inhabitants of this country eat only the recipes that have been created here. That is to say, while sausages are a famous German food, inhabitants of the country do eat things other than sausages. In fact, they, as a population, eat a diverse array of foods from across Europe and even the greater world, such as: sandwiches containing vegetables (tomatoes), cheese, and sometimes meat (although cheese sandwiches are abundant, without having to be specially ordered); noodles with tomato and cream sauces; potatoes in different forms; rice and pilafs; salads including most of the vegetables you and I are familiar with, plus others; pastries such as croissants, danishes, and cakes; and of course, the universal constant: Chinese food (albeit a little different than the kind one would find in China). Therefore, walking through a popular shopping area, one could choose from a wide assortment of cuisines fitting to his or her desires or even moral standards. Ah, yes, and let´s not forget ice cream, the quantity of which I see consumed makes me wonder where all the cows who produce the milk for ice-cream are, and more importantly, where and who are the people who harness such a substance from them (as a side note, I have once milked a cow, and while quite satisfying, the activity can be quite tedious and time consuming to inexperience hands, at the least).
More specifically, we at RUB have access to the Mensa, or the university dining center, which has almost all of the options mentioned above, all in one place, and for a subsidized (and not mandatory) price. Coffee also flows in abundance, although it is frequently used more, ironically perhaps, at times of relaxation, than high mental exertion.
Eating is a culture here, as anywhere, but the modern world has engendered a culture that combines the one of the most important aspects of many others: their food. And so it is true that a vegetarian can live and thrive in Germany, granted he knows the phrase, “kein Fleisch”.