Cooking class fosters German-American friendship

Provided by Atlantic Academy Kaiserslautern
Photo by John Constance
American and German women attend a German cooking class in Kottweiler-Schwanden’s community hall. In five months, participants learned to cook German meals and made new friends.

A convivial gathering with delicious food, interesting conversations and lots of laughter brought a five-month German cooking course for U.S. residents to a successful conclusion Feb. 2. The community of Kottweiler-Schwanden had invited the U.S. participants and their families to the local community hall to cook traditional German meals for their loved ones and spend time together. Roughly 50 service members accepted the invitation and enjoyed the freshly prepared meals with their children.

The local resident and instructing chef Emmi Loehr worked out a set of traditional recipes for the four cooking classes, which have taken place monthly since October. Pasta dishes, potato meals, soups and pastries as well as casseroles were on the cooking agenda. Each evening the group prepared eight different dishes ranging from appetizers to desserts. The participants had the option to choose their favorite dishes for this closing event, and of course, schnitzel made the list.

Mayor Gabriele Schuetz stated that the state initiative “Welcome to Rheinland-Pfalz! Our Neighbors from the U.S.” by the Rheinland-Pfalz Ministry of the Interior gave the impulse to this cooking course. The community noticed an increasing desire on the part of fellow American citizens to get to know the local German culture. The community and local volunteers gladly responded to the request.

“German cuisine is also a part of the culture, and we are happy to bring together our fellow U.S. citizens and locals with this cooking course,” said Schuetz, who was delighted to hear many people asking for a continuation of this great communal project in Kottweiler-Schwanden.

She also pointed out that the cooking course would not have been possible without the energetic support of local helpers.

John Constance of the Atlantic Academy who manages the project “Welcome to Rheinland-Pfalz!” also attended the German-American event.

“This is a textbook example of bringing together Americans and locals,” Constance said. “The project has an informative Facebook page, and there will be a website that comprises local information to facilitate these personal encounters and make it easier for U.S. service members to take part in the communal life.”

Local businesses and services, leisure activities, sports opportunities, public transport and much more are to be listed, so Americans come to know about what is available to them in their German community.

All cooks and helpers received a certificate of appreciation from Schuetz and were handed a goody bag with handy gifts from Constance as a thank you for being part of the German cooking course for the past five months.

Chef Loehr had only huge praise for the American cooks.

“They were great!” Loehr said. “Very willing and diligent. It was lots of fun cooking together.”