This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
To appreciate German cookery and to enjoy thoroughly some of the real delicacies it produces, it is necessary first to abandon all American ideas on the fitness of things, and when you have succeeded in doing so get rid of the English and French ones as well. For a stranger the dinner hour in any German city is a most puzzling matter. He may begin a round of visits at one o'clock and continue them till five, finding everyone at dinner. For, although the most usual time is one or half-past, the Emperor dines at four, most of the government employes at half past two, and the wealthy class at five. The most characteristic meal in the southern portion of the Empire is the jause, which, like the English "tea," comes between dinner and supper. The ladies ask each other to their apartments, drink coffee and eat kugelhupf (a species of fine pound cake with very large holes in it - yeast-raised kauglauf) and kipfel (little rolls in the shape of a horn). The men meet in the cafes and take similar refreshments. The customary dinner of the upper middle class is soup; boiled beef with sauce, vegetables, pickles; roast veal or poultry, and either salad or a pudding, on Sunday both salad and pudding. The favorite sauce with beef is horse-radish (kren) and onions.
Your German friend cuts all his meat in pieces, dips each piece systematically into all the little vegetable or sauce dishes, which are grouped around, before he puts it in his mouth. The German states are better supplied with game than any other part of Europe. The Bohemian pheasants (faisans de Boheme) are celebrated. Capercailzie and black-cock come from the Styrian mountains. Hares are exceedingly numerous; venison abounds. The vast, swampy reaches of the rivers afford snipe and duck-shooting in abundance. Two or three times a year wild geese in immense flocks fly across the country and great uumbers are killed. Woodcocks and geli-nottes are brought to market from Hungary; in short, nowhere is the material for good living more plentiful or cheaper than in the German markets. In order to enjoy any of these, however, it is quite essential for the stranger to warn the headwaiter that .the bird ordered must be brought in whole for the guest to do his own carving, that art being Utterly unknown, at least in the public cafes, and method substituted for carving is a barbarous chopping of every bird or fowl straight across in halves and quarters, limbs, breast, bones, splinters, all mixed up together. In early summer back-hendl is the favorite delicacy.
It is spring chicken bread-crumbed and fried. Next to back-hendl, the most universally liked dish is Wiener-Schnitzel. This is simply a veal cutlet breaded and fried, with slices of lemon around it. It is a safe thing to order almost anywhere; you can eat it in a Bierhalle or large middle-class restaurant, where very little else would be worth having. The special forte of Viennese cooking lies in the sweets. The soufflets, puddings, tea and dinner cakes, brioches and tarts of Vienna are unequalled even in Paris. The way an Austrian cook makes a rice pudding is sufficient to convert even a school boy to love plain puddings. The variety of German sweets (Mehlspeisen) is enormous, it would fill pages to describe them.