Northeast Times

Kartoffel (Potato Soup) for Oktoberfest

Kar­tof­fel (Potato Soup) is the per­fect dish to ac­com­pany Ok­to­ber­fest cel­eb­ra­tions.

Once upon a time in the city of Mu­nich, Crown Prince Lud­wig mar­ried Prin­cess Ther­ese of Sax­ony-Hild­burghausen. All the people of Mu­nich were in­vited to at­tend the fest­iv­it­ies, which were held on Oct. 12, 1810, on the fields in front of the city gates. All of Bav­aria cel­eb­rated with the happy couple, and the party ended with horse races in the pres­ence of the roy­al fam­ily.

The de­cision to re­peat the horse races the fol­low­ing year star­ted the fest­iv­al of Ok­to­ber­fest. And so it con­tin­ued year after year, beer after beer, with ag­ri­cul­ture shows, ca­rou­sel rides and beer stands be­ing re­placed by beer tents. Lud­wig, a few years later, be­came King Lud­wig I, and Ther­ese was honored by hav­ing the fields named after her – Ther­esi­en­wiese (Theresa’s fields), which are now called Wies’n. The greet­ing “Wel­come to Wies’n” means “Wel­come to Ok­to­ber­fest.” However, the tale of the Ok­to­ber­fest must take a turn here and ven­ture down the road a bit to fol­low the story of Lola Mon­tez.

It is im­possible to talk about Lud­wig I without speak­ing of Lola Mon­tez. Seems Lud­wig cel­eb­rated Ok­to­ber­fest with as much en­thu­si­asm as he cel­eb­rated wo­men. One of his dal­li­ances in­volved Lola Mon­tez (Eliza Ros­anna Gil­bert), who was born in Ire­land in 1821, and made her way to Eng­land and then to Par­is as a dan­cer. She was (in)fam­ous in Europe, in Amer­ica, and later in Aus­tralia, for her shame­less “spider dance.” Ac­counts of her dance sug­gest that it would have made Mi­ley Cyr­us’ re­cent twerking epis­ode look like small pota­toes. It seems his­tory of­ten does re­peat it­self.    

Lola came to Mu­nich, was dis­covered by King Lud­wig, and soon be­came his mis­tress and cour­tes­an. She ap­par­ently cap­tiv­ated Lud­wig so much that he be­stowed on her the title of Count­ess of Landsfeld. She was in­flu­en­tial in the polit­ics of his king­dom, and per­suaded him to close down the Uni­versity of Mu­nich. A re­volt en­sued, and Lud­wig ab­dic­ated the throne, while Lola was forced to flee Ger­many. Lud­wig lived out his life in Ger­many. Lola sailed to Amer­ica and made her way across the coun­try from coast to coast. The Phil­adelphia Press, which later was ab­sorbed by the Phil­adelphia In­quirer, re­por­ted on some of her ex­ploits. The no­tori­ous Lola has been the sub­ject of many books and movies. Ap­par­ently, she was born be­fore her time.

My son Chris, res­id­ent his­tor­i­an ex­traordin­aire, shared his know­ledge of Lola with me, and so I am able to tell her tale.

Well, get out your dirndls, leder­hosen and beer mugs! Too late to make it to Mu­nich this year, as the fest­iv­it­ies ended Sunday, Oct. 6. But why not have an Oc­to­ber party to hon­or the ori­gin­al Ok­to­ber­fest cel­eb­ra­tion? Flip off the cap of your fa­vor­ite beer bottle with the cry “O’ZA­PFT IS!” — mean­ing “IT’S TAPPED!” – and let your Ok­to­ber­fest be­gin.

What food to serve? You’ll need saus­age, sauerkraut, pork, spaet­zle and, of course, kar­tof­fels (pota­toes) of some kind. Ger­many’s potato dump­lings, potato pan­cakes or warm potato salad could def­in­itely be on the menu. Some form of potato soup could also be a good choice. The fol­low­ing re­cipe is one I make and en­joy.

KAR­TOF­FEL (POTATO) SOUP

4 Tb­sp. but­ter 

2 me­di­um leeks, chopped, use white bulb and about 2 inches of green – (about 2 cups) 

1 me­di­um onion, chopped

4 me­di­um pota­toes, chopped

1 Tb­sp. minced pars­ley

6 cups chick­en broth

Salt and pep­per to taste

-Clean leeks thor­oughly, as dirt is of­ten trapped between lay­ers near bulb. In a soup pot, saute leeks and onion in the but­ter, stir­ring fre­quently for about 5 minutes.

-Add the pota­toes, chick­en stock and pars­ley. Bring soup to a boil, then cov­er and re­duce heat, con­tinu­ing to cook un­til pota­toes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

-Sea­son to taste with salt and pep­per.

CREAMY KAR­TOF­FEL (POTATO) SOUP

Fol­low the dir­ec­tions above and then: 

-Strain soup, sav­ing the li­quid in a bowl. 

-Put ve­get­ables in a food pro­cessor or blender and pro­cess un­til smooth. 

-Re­turn li­quid and pur­ee to pot and whisk. Stir in 1 cup light cream or milk. Re­heat,  but do not boil.

As they say at the end of the Ok­to­ber­fest, “Es ist aus.” As we say here, “It’s over!”

Eat well, live long, en­joy! ••

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at Whats­cook­in­NEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the North­east Times, 2512 Met­ro­pol­it­an Drive, Tre­vose, PA 19053)

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