Crown Prince Ludwig might be surprised that we're still celebrating his marriage of 1810. But 175 years after the fact, nothing heralds the arrival of autumn in Bavaria so much as the appearance of those hearty foods and spirited carnivals we associate with Oktoberfest.
In Munich, where the festival is scheduled for a 16-day run, beginning the latter part of September, Oktoberfest is as enthusiastically welcomed as Mardi gras in New Orleans.
And here in Washington, Georgetown will hold a party of its own, from Sept. 27 through Oct. 6, along the waterfront at 34th and K streets. Austrian chef Fritz Hofer, executive chef of Cafe Mozart, will oversee a spread of sauerbraten, wienerschnitzel, goulash and apple strudel, and both food and beer will be served as they are in Germany -- under tents, to the accompaniment of a real German band. Local musicians and dancers will round out the entertainment. The event, sponsored by BMR, Inc., is open to the public on weekdays from 4 p.m. to midnight and on weekends from noon to midnight. The entrance fee of $5 includes a free beer mug. Children under 12 may enter free when accompanied by an adult.
Apparently not everyone's celebrating with such gusto, however. A check with the West German Embassy revealed that the staff had no plans to hold an Oktoberfest of its own; in fact, admitted an embassy employe, when a personnel vote was taken to decide how to spend an annual fall excursion, the idea of an Oktoberfest lost out to a trip to Baltimore.
Whether or not you're joining the festivities, today's Express Lane offers the chance to sample a warm and homey regional German favorite, liver dumplings. To make this dish, oil and salt are all you'll need on hand after a waltz through the express lane.
Express Lane list: onion, bread, milk, calf or beef liver, suet or salt pork fat, eggs, marjoram or parsley, sauerkraut (optional) LIVER DUMPLINGS (4 to 6 servings)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
5 slices stale white bread
1/3 cup milk
1 pound calf or beef liver
2 ounces kidney suet or fresh unsmoked salt pork fat
2 small eggs, slightly beaten
Marjoram or parsley to taste
Sauerkraut for serving, if desired
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion; saute' until tender. Soak bread in milk. Remove skin or membrane from liver. Put bread, liver and suet or fat through a grinder with a fine disc to make a smooth-textured paste. In a medium-size bowl, combine liver paste, eggs, salt, marjoram or parsley and saute'ed onion. If mixture is too moist, add 2 to 3 tablespoons fine bread crumbs. Using a spoon, shape mixture into small balls. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop liver dumplings into water and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not overcrowd pot with dumplings; if necessary, cook in batches.
Dumplings may be served as an appetizer, in soup or as a main dish with sauerkraut, serving one large dumpling per person.
From "Best of German Cooking" by Edda Meyer-Berkhout (HP Books, 1984)