Ich spreche kein Deutsch

Recently the Ranting Family travelled to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, and like many spoiled Americans, counted on the fact that everyone we talked to spoke English in addition to their native language. As we were going to a big tourist place and had few conversations except for those involved in the tourism trade, our bets were good that we would encounter it. ┬áDon’t get me wrong, knowing that it would likely be that way is not the same as thinking it should be. I realize that I am very lucky to speak the language of international travel and commerce and am very thankful for it.

A number of years ago, the Ranting Wife and I took a trip to Europe. We spent time in Italy, Austria and Germany, and with very few exceptions, found everyone spoke English as well. In fact there were only two occasions where we had to attempt to translate our words. One was at a small bed and breakfast in the hills of Austria and the other was at the world-famous Hofbrauhaus in Munich.

We were there in mid May and found ourselves in southern Germany on Ascension. The country celebrates the Christian holiday and virtually everything was closed, except the Hofbrauhaus. That, on the other hand, was packed full.

We entered the bar and found it jam packed full. We found a way to squeeze onto one of the group tables and I found myself sitting next to an elderly man with an almost empty stein in front of him. Once we ordered our beer, the man looked at me an said something to me in very slurred German. I responded with “Ich spreche kein Deutsch” which means that I don’t speak German. The man looked at me, tapped at his temple like he was looking for words in English and fell silent.

Five minutes later he engaged me in another conversation in German. Once again I told him I didn’t speak the language and again his fingers went to his temple and he searched for words. This happened twice more. I don’t know what he wanted to say, but I’m sure it was important to him.

Beef Stew with Potatoes and Parsnips

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We didn’t have any of this stew over in Germany, but the flavor profile sure fits.

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I’ve stopped buying tomato paste in a can unless I know I am going to use it up. The tube works much better.

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Flouring the beef.

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Browning the beef.

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Making the paste.

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I don’t often cook with parsnips, but here they are.

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Such rich and savory flavors!

Beef Stew with Potatoes and Parsnips

Prep Time: 25 minutes | Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours | Servings: 4


1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Coarse salt and pepper
2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, diced medium
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste (from one 6-ounce can)
1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-by-2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon white vinegar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, season flour with salt and pepper. Coat beef in flour, shaking off excess. In a large heavy ovenproof pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium. In batches, brown beef on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

2. Add remaining tablespoon oil, onion, garlic, and tomato paste and saute until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add 3 cups water and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Add beef and any accumulated juices, potatoes, parsnips, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cover, transfer to oven, and cook until meat is fork-tender, 1 hour. Stir in vinegar and serve.

Source: http://www.marthastewart.com/933506/beef-stew-potatoes-and-parsnips

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Baking3, Beef 2, kosher, Main Dish 3, Recipes, Soup and Stew, Vegetable4

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at rantingchef.com

2 Comments on “Ich spreche kein Deutsch”

  1. February 8, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

    I was at Playa del Carmen in October – isn’t it beautiful there!? We ran into two a couple who were from France and I spoke to them for a while in my heavily-accented and often bad American-French Canadian French. And, wonder of wonders – they actually understood me! On another note – I like parsnips very much – ‘pinning’ this immediately!!


  2. February 10, 2015 at 11:53 pm #

    Deutsch es ein schwieriger Sprache! Parsnips are always a good addition!


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