The A-B-C’s of sourcing Thanksgiving dinner from your local supermarket
Scenario A: It’s hours before your guests are set to arrive and there’s no time to get to the commissary. Scenario B: You are a contractor, retiree or one of Stripes’ readers without an ID card and thus you do all your shopping on the local economy anyway.
Scenario C: You love to experiment with a mix of products from both sources.
Whatever the reason for seeking out the ingredients for your Thanksgiving feast at the local German supermarket, you’ll find loads of products to patch you through on this day of days. The bounty on the table of your hybrid Thanksgiving might taste so good you’ll start a new tradition!
Allspice: what you’re looking for is the spice known as Piment.
Breadcrumbs: Paniermehl or Semmelbrösel.
Canned pumpkin: sorry, you’re out of luck with this one. Your best hope might be to slow-roast a Hokkaido pumpkin with cinnamon and brown sugar, puree it and drain off the excess liquid.
Cornbread: bakers on online forums suggest using a half-half mix of Polenta and Maismehl. Beware the Maizena branded Maismehl is actually cornstarch (Speisestärke).
Chicken stock: if you use this to add kick to your gravy, consider one of the flavors from Knorr’s Bouillon Pur range. Each 28 gm plastic tub creates half a liter of stock. A product that says Brühe on its label means you’re in the right ballpark.
Corn syrup or molasses: reach for the brand-name product known as Goldsaft, a sugar beet syrup manufactured by Grafschafter.
Cranberry sauce: as opposed to the globby American stuff, a jar of Wild-Prieselbeeren from the jelly and jam section subs as an accompaniment to game dishes, a tangy filling in cakes, or as a topping for baked Camembert.
Creamed corn: this ready-made product doesn’t seem to exist here. But if you own a crockpot, you can buy several cans of corn and make your own by following Allrecipe’s instructions for slow cooker creamed corn.
French onion soup mix: grab a packet of Zweibelsuppe lurking amongst the other dry soups.
Fried onions: the classic topping for green bean casserole is known here as Röstzweibeln.
Graham crackers: this is another product for which you won’t find an exact match. In a pinch, try using a whole grain (Vollkorn) cracker made by Leibniz or TUC. For a substitute with a pleasing kick of ginger and spice, use the seasonally available Spekulatius Christmas cookies.
Pecans: available at the better-stocked supermarkets, they’re known in German as Pecannusskerne
Pie crust dough: the pre-made stuff you need to make a pie goes by the name of Mürbeteig. (Blätterteig is a puff pastry more similar to Filo or Phyllo dough.)
Shortening, aka Crisco: while you won’t find an exact product match, baking fats such as Biskin and Sanella are what German cooks use. The general product you’re after here is Pflanzenfett.
Sour cream: Saurer Sahne, Sauerrahm or Schmand
Turkey: while the biggest chains such as Globus stock frozen turkeys, they’re few and far between at your standard-sized supermarkets. Much more common are Gans and Ente, goose and duck, which cook up more moist that your standard turkey anyway.
Vanilla: Dr. Oetker makes a liquid product named Bourbon Vanille Extrakt; if not available, the dry packets of Vanille Zucker add the right taste profile. Whole vanilla beans are sometimes available; search for Stangenvanille.
Whipping cream: Schlagsahne