German Stew | Recipes from Modern History

German Stew | Recipes from Modern History

Week 22 of Dave Raymond’s Modernity course, you’ll be covering “ The Wrath of Man: World War II” It’s widely known that the Nazis were masters of propaganda, but many don’t know how their propaganda targeted the very food on the German people’s tables. Food like German Stew.

When the Nazis took over Germany in the 1930s they bombarded it with propaganda to celebrate Aryan culture and force the Nazi regime. This brain-washing of culture was so detailed it went down to the very food the Germans were eating. Sunday lunches in Germany were traditionally special and expensive, with a large roast and all the trimmings. The Nazis party then introduced the one-pot meal. The one pot meal was a simple dinner usually made up of vegetables, legumes, meat, and other easily accessible ingredients. This campaign was called the Eintopfsonntagen. The idea was simple; on the first Sunday of the month all of the German people would forgo their roasts for these simple suppers.

The campaign was very clever, as first one pot meals were inexpensive so more people could donate to the Nazi party. But Eintopfsonntagen went even deeper than that. The Nazis wanted to drive home the fact that the Germans were a superior, united culture. As each German family ate their one-pot meal it would symbolize the the pure Aryan culture of Germany united together against the “impure”; the Jews, gypsies, the unwanted in German society.

The Nazis compared the partaking of the one-pot meals to Christians taking communion and encouraged housewives to use only German-grown ingredients to further show support of the fascist political party. The Nazi party published recipes in magazines, cookbooks, newspapers, all encouraging the people to take part in the campaign. People were censored and shamed if they did not participate. The propaganda posters showed smiling German families around the supper table as well as Hitler himself eating a one pot meal. (Hitler was a known vegetarian and did not eat cooked food because he thought it caused cancer, so the idea of him eating a one pot meal was ridiculous at best.) While the German people at first eagerly took part in the campaign, their excitement dwindled as the war progressed and they grew furious that their wishes were ignored by the Nazi party. When later asked what they ate during the war, a citizen of Germany answered in German, translating to “steamed or silenced tongue”.  But although the campaign died out, the idea of one-pot meals lasted and is widely used today, although its dark history in Germanic politics is mostly forgotten.

German Stew
German Stew

German Beef Stew

  • 1 lb. beef chuck, cubed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tbsp. Oil 
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes
  • 3/4 c. Red wine
  • 2 c. Beef stock (plus more if soup looks too thick)
  1. In medium bowl combine the beef chuck and salt, tossing to evenly coat. In large pot heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and brown, stirring frequently. Add in the onions and cook until translucent. 3-5 minutes. Pour in the wine, bring heat down to low, cover pot and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Add carrots, potatoes, and beef stock to pot. Mix and let simmer on low for 1 hour, or until the potatoes and carrots are soft. If the stew looks like it needs more liquid add enough beef broth until most of the vegetables are covered and let simmer a few minutes more. Serve with bread or by itself. 

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