Thursday, September 08, 2005

Moien!


At the pseudo request of Herr Andrew Lewis, I will now elaborate on the food, wine, and beer, which it seems I didn’t talk enough about in previous posts. But first, a language lesson. Moien means “hi!” in Luxembourgish if you hadn’t already guessed. It is derived from “morgan”, which is the German word for morning. However, “moien” is not a greeting to be used only in the morning, it can be used any time of day, as it means “hi” or something similar. The only other Luxembourgish word that I know and know how to use is goodbye, which in Luxembourgish is Adee (Im not sure on the spelling of that one, but it is pronounced “ah-DEE”.) This is an obvious derivation of the French “adieu”, and not much more needs to be said about that.


On to the food. Most of what I eat is either with Guy, or at the Chateau. At the Chateau we get lunch vier days a week. Thus far, every meal has been quite good. It is generally some type of meat or chicken, some type of vegetable, and some potato, bread or noodles. The meat is very good, and they haven’t repeated a meal yet, though I imagine that won’t last. There is also soup every day, but there has yet to have been soup that was all that great. Quick aside: the system for getting food for lunch is absolutely HORRIBLE. Lunch is only open for about an hour, during which all 130 students plus staff have to eat. You get your food from a single window. This leads to slow moving lines that have half of MUDEC in them. Once you have your main course and soup, you move to the dining hall where there is milk and water to drink, a basket of bread, and a salad bar. With the whole student body in our main hall, there is just about every seat filled. As much as we would all like it, there is no Bofferding on tap at the Chateau. Alcohol is not allowed on the premises unless MUDEC is serving it.


Meals with Guy are better, however. These meals, with the exception of the first one, which was like a gourmet meal with multiple courses, including zwei entire chickens, are quite simple. Despite this simplicity, I probably like them even more than I did the big gourmet meal. Last night, for example, as the main dish, we cooked up a dozen scrambled eggs with pepper and spices in them, ate that, and then got to the best part. Every meal, guy puts out on the table a pile of bread, butter, and a bunch of different sausages and cheeses. We have, on occasion, spent at least an hour at this part of the meal, just throwing random combinations of food on the bread and chowing down. One of my favorite things to do, discovered during a late night refrigerator raid a few days back after a night at a nearby Portuguese bar, is to take a BabyBell, wrap it in salami, and enjoy, as I feel my arteries clogging. I should explain what a BabyBell is, seeing as it is one of the best discoveries I have made, food-wise. A BabyBell is a round chunk of cheese about eins centimer thick and zwei or drei centimeters around. It tastes sort of like mozzarella, but not nearly the exact same, since it tastes better. They come wrapped in plastic, but under the plastic they are in a wax shell. Once you take that shell off, you just bite into it and enjoy. That probably doesn’t sound as good as it really is, but I hope you at least have an idea of what I am talking about. Another integral part of every dinner with Guy is the wine. He is quite the wine connoisseur, and there is a different wine for every meal. He uses the correct glass for the type of wine and matches it to what we are eating.


The grilled sausages here, be they mettwurst, turbinger, bratwurst, whatever, are all just amazing. They also tend to be bigger than the ones back home, easily half-again the length. I have also had the opportunity to have some pizza here, made in the European style, which is surprisingly good. It only takes 5-10 minutes for them to make the pizza, as the crust is very thin, as indeed the whole pizza is. It also helps that all cheese here is awesome, so that is better as well. The most common topping is jambon (ham), and it is very good.


Breakfast at Guy’s is kind of a take what you want affair. He generally has eggs in the fridge if we want to make them, though I never have time for that. The usual breakfast is bread with butter, cheese, or his homemade applesauce on top. He has an apple tree in back, and he takes the apples, cuts them up, cooks them, and makes a delicious apple sauce. The apples are good on their own as well; last time he was making the sauce, he gave us some of the cut pieces and they were very good. We are not talking crab apples here. For something to drink in the morning, he has a seemingly unlimited supply of this brand of juice that has a number of different flavors (orange, tropical, etc) that are all good. There is also a fruit basket for us to grab something out of if we want it.
So that’s the food situation, any questions?


On to the beer. There are four major Luxembourgish beers, in order of popularity, or at least how common they are: Bofferding, Mousel, Battin, and Diekrich. You can tell what the café/bar serves easily, since whatever beer they serve will invariable have a sign out front as well as signs in the windows and awnings and wherever else they can fit the name and colors. The beer brand sign is generally larger than the sign saying what the café is called. You will not find American beers in bars or cafes. The closest you get to what you are used to is common imports, such as Corona or Heineken. I have thus far refused to drink something I can get back home. I have had the first three beers I listed above and Battin was probably the best, though I have had the most of Bofferding, due to its overwhelming popularity. I have heard that Diekrich is the best, but seeing as it is the least common, I haven’t tried it yet.


At a newly opened Irish pub the other night, they had €1 drafts to celebrate the opening. Naturally, half of MUDEC was there that night, after the host family reception. Guy gave us a ride there, and we arrived in our suits. We were overdressed for the reception and we were now incredibly overdressed for a bar. I was told by the bartender (this being an Irish pub, he was Irish) that I looked like a Jehovah’s Witness or an insurance salesman. At least I was without a tie, John even had a tie on, and he looked even more ridiculously overdressed. The bartenders were so overworked and stressed out that at one point they gave us a couple beers on the house. They told John “Here, on the house, go away.” Just to keep from having to deal with money. It was so crazy that half of us were outside the bar on the sidewalk and street. I ended up walking away with a 40cL Bofferding glass in my pocket, so that night was a success.


Adee,
Matt

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