was ist Romertopf? and MDK Miniatures

(drumroll please…)

First, some news: Hear Ye! Hear Ye! I had another article published on WhipUp –Check it out!

Sir John, Eh? proudly presents:
The Mason Dixon Knitting Baby Kimono – baby baby size (1.75″ waist and 2″ height)

And… a mini warshcloth!!

Both knit with Svale Stork fingering cotton on 2.5mm needles. Part of an art series on miniatures…the Baby Curve of Pursuit was the first.

And now onto the main topic for today:

Does anyone remember these… the German equivalent of “Martha Stewart meets Weight Watchers” cookware?

Another great find at the workplace lending library! I do not own one of these contraptions, but when did that ever stop me before?

It must be soaked in water for 15 minutes before using. Hmm. Does this mean it doesn’t have to be soaked after using? I can certainly live with that!

However, it’s possible I’m missing something in the translation. This book was originally written in 1971 in German. Alas, no photos save those on the front and back covers:

Several versions of the Romertopf cooking vessel on display here. The differing sizes, I get… but why a separate one for fish? I’m confused.

Unfortunately, the “authoress” (“authorina”?), Wendy Philipson (a good German name?) does not shed any light on this dilemma. She was actually charged with adapting the German version into English – and so got to try out all the recipes in the book, which, according to her, has “certainly provided a pleasing addition in contrast to the spheres of German-English interest in which I am normally occupied.”

From perusing the cookbook selections, it would appear that the “spheres of German-English interest” revolve around massive quantities of this ingredient:

Perhaps that’s why they don’t include a photo of the authoress. It is only a pocket-sized book and, given mass consumption of sour cream (because I don’t think that light sour cream existed in that day), her photo might not actually fit!

Aside from copious usage of sour cream, the book offers lots of helpful tips on cooking meat, as well as other topics:

(a) Taking responsibility for one’s actions

… even a Romertopf can’t make poor quality old flabby beef taste like young, fresh meat! So, don’t blame the Romertopf unjustifiably if the meat is old and tough!

They must have edited out “…you stingy jack@$ you!” And just when I was ready to toss the Romertopf off the balcony, too!

(b) Eating Healthily

Cooked in the Romertopf, pork is less fatty and therefore more digestible – and contains fewer calories – but it is nevertheless deliciously tender. Try some of our recipes and see for yourself!

A query – where does all this fat end up going, then? Soaking through the terra cotta?

(c) Dieting

This being the early 70s, there is a lot of information for “slimmers” in this book.
About 1/3 of the recipes are followed by the admonishment “NOT FOR SLIMMERS”!!! (Sometimes, qualified with “Unfortunately…” before it.) If you happen to be watching your weight, you should know that all the knuckle dishes (knuckle of beef, knuckle of pork, etc.) are good for you – unless, perhaps, you eat the knucklebones?

It is difficult, however, to see why some of the recipes are evil and others aren’t. For example, a French Liver Pie with streaky bacon, 1 c. cream, 1 c. sour cream, puff pastry and butter is apparently OK, while the Sweet and Sour Pork made with 1 T cornstarch, pineapple and chicken stock is verboten for dieters. I mean, they didn’t have this stuff around then, did they?

But then again, I’m forgetting that those were the days when carbohydrates of any kind were considered food sent by the devil to plague people – one slice of bread was good for at least 5 lbs on the hips or so the logic went. Thus, a recipe for Chinese Steamed Fish that says “Excellent for slimmers – WITHOUT RICE”. I guess that’s why all those Chinese people are such porkers, while the Germans are so svelte by comparison:

(d) Vegetarian Living

Speaking of pork (I know – odd segue, but bear with me) – this book even has a vegetarian section. How exciting – I have a lot of vegetarian friends and so am always looking for interesting dishes.

Here are some of the choices under the “Vegetarian” category:

– red cabbage with streaky bacon
– stuffed tomatoes with streaky bacon
– Portuguese beans with streaky bacon
– chicory rolled in ham
– mushrooms with bacon
– stuffed cabbage leaves with minced pork

I must say that I do learn something new every day. I hadn’t realised that up until 1972 or so, pigs were considered to be vegetables. I wonder if I can con my veggie friends into chowing down on some pork: “I know you think you can’t eat it, but the Romertopf cookbook says it’s vegetarian… see?!”

There’s even a recipe for moussaka – with meat!

And – finally, desserts – I guess this is why you would want to have more than one Romertopf hanging around the house – it wouldn’t do to cook your dessert in the same vessel you just used to cook your Knuckle of Veal with Sour Cream and Butter (NOT SUITABLE FOR SLIMMERS!).

In order to intensify the dietary message here, the “slimmer” messages start to vary:

– not suitable for anyone wishing to stay slim!
– not for anyone who wants to lose weight!
– not for weight-watchers!
– not suitable for anyone on a slimming diet!

DUH. And, I’m trying to figure out why one would go to all the trouble to soak this huge heavy dish for 15 minutes just to make flambeed bananas that you could do in a frying pan in about 10 minutes! Also, I’m not sure which dish you would use for “dessert” – the fish one or the meat one?

I’m so confused. I guess I’m just not cut out to become a Romertopf housewife. SIGH. Life is full of disappointments, isn’t it?

But then again, today marks the 44th anniversary of the debut of Doctor Who on television. So, with every cloud it’s possible to find a silver lining…

Happy Friday!


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