From Teutonic tribes, Holy Roman Emperors, and numerous alliances and divisions, Germany has been a major player in the history of Europe. Physically, it sits smack dab in the middle of the continent and enjoys fertile, prosperous terrain. At one time or other, the German nation consisted of the same countries that now surround it: France, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Russia and Austria. As such, the culinary attributes of each are mutually shared on their adjoining borders. Today, an influx of Turks and Italians are contributing to the mix of tastes and techniques.
- Northern European countries invaded each other frequently, with far less influence from other invaders like the Moors and Turks of Spain & Italy.
- With a terrain that is fertile, bearing ample water sources and a productive climate, Germany is rich in beef and dairy cattle, sheep, and pigs.
- Pork is a national favorite, used in more dishes than any other livestock.
- Whereas meat is a precious commodity in other countries, it is abundant in Germany. This resulted in a different problem: the storage of meat.
- Smoking, marinating and salting procedures were developed to store meat, leading to today's emphasis on sausages and preserved foods.
- Game birds and rabbit are also traditional, as is the use of juniper berries, found in the lush evergreen forests. Mustard and horseradish (Meerrettich) are the most common condiments.