I am one of the many German students studying abroad. I am one of the people who love travelling. I can't sit still, I always have to do stuff. I am curious, always chasing for stories. Stay here for a while and be part of my respaced world

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Battle IX

A cultural theories lesson
Cookies. Yes, I know, we had this before, but as you might have noted already: I'm all about food.
Ever heard about pfeffernüsse or pepper nuts or pebernødder ?

In Germany and in Denmark pepper nuts (German: pfeffernüsse, Danish: pebernødder) are christmas cookies. I wanted to find out, who invented them, but after 10min of doing research online, I gave up. What I found out was that in Germany there exist two types of peppernuts. In Nothern Germany peppernuts are brown, in Southern Germany the cookies also include egg whites and orange. 

Right package: (southern) German peppernuts, left package: The Danish version of peppernuts.

So what does this tell us? ok, watch out: This is a very good example for culture as a construct. Culture is a complex phenomenon, it is a process. As a consequence, there are no clear borders and there are several fields in which German and Danish culture intersect. 

The peppernuts-example indicates that in Northern Germany, an area which is close to the Danish border, the peppernuts have a greater similarity to the Danish peppernuts (they are both without egg whites). The further away you'll go from the Danish area, the more greater variation you'll find. At the other end of Germany, which is the side where most of the people probably never have heard about pebernødder, you'll find peppernuts with egg white and orange flavour.

So, after we just found out that culture is a construct, which means it only exists in the people's minds our battle makes no sense anymore. If we can't even speak about German peppernuts, because you have to consider two German versions- how can we compare Danish and German christmas traditions? We have to rethink this whole battle thing....If you think that this is just an excuse for not wanting to make a decision, you can speak up now or keep silent forever. However, respace girl will take some time and reflect...this is serious!


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