I’m all about that Gemütlichkeit life.
There is not a direct English translation of this word, but it is a defining quality of Austrian culture: a lifestyle emphasizing comfort, coziness, festivity, contentment, community, belonging, and well-being. All that warm and fuzzy stuff of life.
It was fitting to share this meal with the two people in my life who reinforced (through nature and nurture) seeking a similar lifestyle of enjoyment: my parents. Ed and Julie successfully created the closest real-life Hobbit home I’ve ever come across, completed with handmade quilts, garden-fresh raspberries, a sprawling pastoral view, and made dinner an event, sacred to all.
And although he’s there for 99% of the international dishes I make, Spencer was an extra special guest due to spending a semester abroad there (and wanting to go back ever since). Admittedly, I felt the pressure trying to perfect such a nostalgic meal for him.
The real challenge of this meal was the meat. Due to the hectic nature of hosting guests, I wasn’t prepared to find veal, the meat of choice for schnitzel. My parents and I went to a couple places before defaulting to pork, an acceptable substitute. It would only be later that I’d learn that ‘veal crates’ are prohibited in Arizona as of 2012. Be prepared to pay more if you find veal at your market.
If you are able to pound the meat very thinly and deep-fry properly, you can’t go wrong with this recipe. Take the temperature of the oil (or lard, if you’re dedicated) before if you’re able to make sure it is hot enough. Invest in a meat tenderizer – or take my Dad’s creative advice if you don’t, using the top edge of a butcher knife to pound it out. It takes time, but it got the job done. The result was tender and crispy, with a squeeze of lemon for freshness. I recommend looking into some Austrian side dishes… say, schnitzel with noodles. One could call them a favorite.
Ed: “The crispiest, lightest meat I ever had.”
Julie: “I enjoy watching in the kitchen, because it’s amazing what Teresa does in such a small space.”
Teresa:” I am disappointed that we couldn’t get veal, but I thought it turned out really well.”
Spencer: “The crispy batter and the generous spritzing of lemon filled my taste buds with nostalgic ecstasy. Österreich!”
- Veal, pork, or pheasant… no dark meat
- Lemon and Parsley to garnish
- The capital of Austria is Vienna
- The official language is Austrian-German
- Austria is intimately connected with the arts, particularly with music. It is the birthplace of influential composers including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Franz Liszt, Franz Schubert, Anton Bruckner, Johann Strauss, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, and Alban Berg
- Hydropower produces half of Austria’s electricity
- The House of Hadsburg-Lorraine remained in power of Austria from 1472-1918
- The assassination of Archduke Frank Ferdinand – the presumptive heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne – in 1914 is considered the immediate catalyst of World War I