Have you ever tasted an authentic German meal – maybe at a German-American household or even over in Germany when you lived or vacationed there? Do you miss the experience? And is one of the bleakest thoughts you have these days that you can neither travel there nor experience as much as a German Oktoberfest because, due to the pandemic, every single one has been cancelled? Well, my gifted Western Washingtonian friend, German-American blogger, marketing specialist, and film-maker Angela Schofield sees to it that you won’t have to miss out on either. And here is how.
“A lot of my American friends asked me how to cook authentic German food”, explains Angela how her blog “All Tastes German” (https://alltastesgerman.com/) came about. What started as a favor to some friends developed into what she calls “an excessive hobby” to which she dedicates a large part of her time. Obviously so, because the website holds so much more than a collection of authentic recipes. Have you ever written down a recipe for a friend? Well, going by taste only, it’s an incredible pain for me to get all the measures right so the recipe comes out tasty for somebody else. But Angela has stepped it up even more. “My goal is to make it easy to cook authentic German recipes with ingredients that are available in the U.S. and with U.S. standard measurements”, Angela says. Her recipes are a delight for the eyes and the palate, and her cookbooks – “German Classics”, “German Christmas Treats”, and an “Oktoberfest Cookbook” – are an inspiration and a must-have for all foodies with a hang for German cuisine.
As if this were not enough already, Angela has created a video cooking class – here is a fine example what her cooking classes look like: https://alltastesgerman.com/german-recipes/sweet-dumplings-marillenknoedel/. This poses another challenge to Angela’s creativity. As if recipe creation, cooking, plating, and filming were not enough on her plate already – she is her own gaffer and editor as well! “The beautiful thing is that nowadays everybody can be a film maker”, Angela plays it down. “People love to see authentic, “normal” people who cook food just like Oma or Auntie did. I am living the Nike slogan “Just do it” and take imperfect action.” Imperfect?! Because she missed German Quark, a dairy specialty, that badly here in the US, where you can get some that doesn’t taste authentic, she set up her own Quark Masterclass! In two different ways she shows you step by step how to create the authentic product with authentic ingredients.
In the above link about Marillenknödel (pronounce Ma-‘rillank-nuh-del), Angela also mentions another link on her blog website: The Webtoberfest (https://webtoberfest.com/). “I came up with the idea due to the pandemic restrictions of live events”, she describes how the online festival developed. “I wanted to create an opportunity for small businesses to offer their products online and at the same time create a space for people to find a new way of entertainment at home.” She invited Karen Lodder Carlson from German Girl in America (you read about her in my column recently) to be a co-host of the event. The Webtoberfest will take place from September 5 through October 30 and won’t just be the largest online Octoberfest but also, I’m sure, the world’s longest! “We wanted to create an online place that people can visit several times and at their convenience.”
Originally targeting German expats and Oktoberfest lovers in the U.S., interest in the Webtoberfest has grown internationally, by now, and is growing daily. Some of its highlights will be the “Festzelt” where virtual tastings are presented by experts right to your living or dining room. Bands and dance groups from all over the world will perform on a virtual entertainment stage. But the Webtoberfest doesn’t center on drinking and music alone – it’s so much more: It’s all things German and offers you “a sneak peek into the beauty of Germany, the rich culture, and even introduces contemporary German authors.” And as if this weren’t enough, you will be able to interact with the performers via text, audio chat, or even visually if they join the live stream. A program for the live stream sessions will be published on the website and mailed to RSVP list subscribers.
To me it all sounds like an incredible amount of work for just two hosts! But guess what, Angela Schofield and Karen Lodder Carlson are already onto their next co-hosted online event, a German Christmas Market! And Angela plans to write a beautiful German children’s cookbook with interesting background stories about German culture and traditions with yours truly (you bet I’m thrilled!). “Anything more in the pipeline, Angela?” I hear her laugh. Of course, there is, and she adds, “I wish there would be more than 24 hours in a day to execute all my ideas.”