KIDS CULTURE CORNER
Learn some German through these language activities including German-English and English-German picture dictionaries, information, quizzes and pictures to color.
Johannes Gutenberg was born in Germany in 1400. His invention led to the first printing press. Learn more from the seasonal calendar.
Grimm’s Fairy tales, originally written in German, have been translated into 160 languages. To find out more about Jacob Grimm, visit the seasonal calendar.
Born in 1875 in Germany, Albert Schweitzer studied music, science and religion. He won the Nobel Peace Prize and is probably best remembered for bringing modern health care to Africa in the early 1900s. He said something that you might want to think about: “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” To learn more about Albert Schweitzer, visit our seasonal calendar.
Albert Einstein, born in Germany in 1879, lived in Italy, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Israel before becoming a US citizen. As a child he loved to build houses out of playing cards. He is best known for his scientific theories, but he also worked to support the United Nations, nuclear disarmament, and civil liberties. To learn more, visit our seasonal calendar.
Try these recipes submitted by German au pairs living in the U.S.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ sticks butter
- 1 egg
- 2 ½ cups milk
(This is the basic recipe for strudel dough. Use packaged strudel (puff pastry) or filo pastry instead. It requires a certain degree of skill and experience to make the dough.)
For the filling:
- ½ stick butter (melted)
- 2 pounds apples peeled and cut into little pieces
- ½ cup Raisins (if wanted)
- ¼ cup Sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 cup sour cream
- Preheat oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Put flour in a bowl and form a hole in the middle. Put salt, 1 stick butter (soft), the egg, and milk in the hole.
- Mix it all together with your hands.
- Put the dough on a surface that is covered with flour and knead it until it is even. Separate dough in 2 or 3 pieces and knead it again, form a smooth ball and melt ½ stick of butter. Spread melted butter over it and cover it with a kitchen towel. Let it stand for 30 minutes.
- Cover a kitchen towel (cotton) with flour and roll the dough very thin on the towel. Mix sugar and cinnamon together. Spread some of the melted butter over it. After that spread sour cream on it, sprinkle it with the sugar-cinnamon mix. Put the apples on the dough in a 3-inch strip along the narrow end , leaving a 2-inch border. Put raisins if wanted on the rolled dough. Lift the ends of the kitchen towel using it to roll the dough carefully over the filling. Bring sides of dough to center and seal the ends.
- Put the strudel carefully in a greased pan, the sealed opening on the underside. Brush top of the strudel with butter. Repeat the entire procedure for the second strudel.
- Bake it for 45 to 60 minutes at 400 Degrees Fahrenheit until browned.
Tastes the best still warm with vanilla sauce or vanilla ice cream!
Submitted by Au Pair Sandy, Massachusetts 2004
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 4 cups flour
- 1 Tbs baking powder
- Combine all ingredients.
- Pour batter in a big pan.
- Mix up: 2 cups of shredded coconut or almond and 1 cup sugar, and sprinkle mixture on top of batter
- Bake 20 min at 390°F
- Mix 3.6 ounces of melted butter and 8.9 ounces whipped cream. Spread this on the cake
- Bake 5-7 min more.
Submitted by Mirjam L., German au pair, Massachusetts 2004
- 8,9 ounces flour
- 4,2 ounces sugar
- 2 Tsp vanilla sugar
- 1 Tsp baking powder/li>
- 3,6 ounces butter
- 1 egg
- Refrigerate the batter for 2 hours.
- Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes at 392°F.
Submitted by Mirjam L., German au pair, Massachusetts 2004
Oven: about 180° C/ 350° F (preheated)
Baking time: about 60 minutes
- 300 g/10 oz soft margarine or butter
- 275 g/ 10 oz sugar
- 2-3 drops vanilla essence in 1 tablespoon sugar
- 5-6 drops rum essence
- 1 pinch salt
- 5 medium eggs
- 375 g/ 13 oz plain (all purpose) flour
- 4 level teaspoons baking powder
- about 2 tablespoons milk
- 20 g/ 3/4 oz cocoa powder
- 20 g/ 3/4 oz sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- Preheat the oven at the top and bottom. Grease the mould.
- To make the cake mixture, stir the softened fat with a hand mixer with whisk until it becomes smooth and homogenous. Gradually add the sugar, vanilla sugar, rum flavouring and salt, and stir until the mixture thickens. Add 1 egg at a time, whisking each one for about 1/2 minute at the highest setting.
- Mix together the flour and baking powder, sift and add to the fat and egg mixture in 2 stages, alternating with the milk, stirring briefly with a mixer set at the medium setting.
- Spoon two-thirds of the cake mixture into the greased gugelhupf (bundt mold). Sift the cocoa powder and add to the rest of the cake mixture together with milk and sugar. Spoon the dark-coloured cake mixture on the top of the light-coloured cake mixture and drag a fork through the two layers in a spiral movement to create a marbled pattern. Put the gugelhupf on a shelf in the oven.
- Leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes after taking it out of the oven, then remove from the tin and leave on a rack to cool. Finally, dust with icing sugar.
Submitted by Ines Rudolf from Germany, au pair in Massachusetts, 20
Kids will especially like this recipe!
Ingredients for two servings:
- 2/3 cups rice
- 3 1/2 cups milk
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/8 cup sugarr
- pinch salt
- Heat up milk, vanilla, butter, sugar and salt.
- Put in the rice and let it simmer. Keep stirring rice until it has a smooth texture. If needed, add a little milk.
- Serve it warm with a little sugar and cinnamon on top. Fresh fruit is good, too.
Submitted by Anika , au pair in Illinois 2004
It’s called “Nussecken,” meaning (literally): “nut” and “squares.”
- 11 oz flour
- 6 oz margarine or butter
- 4 oz sugar
- 2 small eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Mix the ingredients until dough is smooth and well blended.
Next, you will need:
- 7 oz margarine or butter
- 7 oz sugar
- 14 oz chopped hazelnuts and almonds
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon vanillasugar
- apricot jam
- Melt margarine/butter with sugar, vanilla and water, and bring to a boil. Add hazelnuts and almonds, and let mixture cool down.
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Grease the bottom of a baking pan and pour in dough.
- Put a (thin) layer of apricot jam (~ 5 tablespoons) on top of dough, then spread topping over it.
- Bake for 30 min. or until golden brown.
- After it cools down, cut it into squares, and then into triangles
- Put melted chocolate on bottom and sides of the triangles
Submitted by Johanna (Germany), Massachusetts 2004
- 5 lbs. potatoes
- 1 glass of pickled gherkin
- 1 small glass of mayonnaise
- 1 small onion
- 1/4 of a sour apple
- as you wish for decoration 2 eggs/ 1 tomato/ parsley
- Boil potatoes.
- Mince pickles.
- Boil eggs.
- Peel potatoes.
- Mince potatoes when cooler.
- Put potatoes and pickles in a bowl.
- Mince onion and apple, also in the bowl.
- Mix mayonnaise in, not too much.
- For decoration, quarter eggs and arrange with the tomato pieces.
TIP: let it stand for a few hours, the taste will be better.
Enjoy your self-made German potato salad!
Submitted by Claudia, German au pair in Massachusetts, 2004
Try learning some of these German children’s songs!
Do you know the German folktale of the Bremen Town Musicians? You can listen to the story or read it, find coloring pages or play a game at this fun website.
A Folk Tale from Germany
The Frog Prince
In olden times, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever it shone in her face.
Close by the king’s castle lay a great dark forest, and under an old lime-tree in the forest was a well. One very warm day, this child went out into the forest and sat down by the side of the cool fountain, and when she was bored she took a golden ball, and threw it up on high and caught it, for this ball was her favorite plaything.
Now it so happened that on one occasion the princess’s golden ball did not fall into her little hand, but on to the ground beyond, and rolled straight into the water. The king’s daughter followed it with her eyes, but it vanished, and the well was deep, so deep that the bottom could not be seen. At this she began to cry, and cried louder and louder, and could not be comforted.
And as she cried, someone said to her, “What ails you, king’s daughter? You weep so that even a stone would show pity.”
She looked round to the side from whence the voice came, and saw a frog stretching forth its big, ugly head from the water.
“Ah, old water-splasher, is it you?” she asked, “I am weeping for my golden ball, which has fallen into the well.”
“Be quiet, and do not weep,” answered the frog, “I can help you, but what will you give me if I bring your plaything up again?”
“Whatever you will have, dear frog,” said she, “My clothes, my pearls and jewels, and even the golden crown which I am wearing.”
The frog answered, “I do not care for your clothes, your pearls and jewels, nor for your golden crown, but if you will love me and let me be your companion and play-fellow, and sit by you at your little table, and eat off your little golden plate, and drink out of your little cup, and sleep in your little bed – if you will promise me this I will go down below, and bring you your golden ball out of the water again.”
“Oh yes,” said she, “I promise you all you wish, if you will but bring me my ball back again.” But she thought, “How the silly frog does talk. All he does is to sit in the water with the other frogs, and croak. He can be no companion to any human being.” But the frog when he had received this promise, put his head into the water and sank down; and in a short while came swimming up again with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the grass.
The king’s daughter was delighted to see her pretty plaything once more, and she picked it up, and ran away with it. “Wait, wait,” said the frog. “Take me with you. I can’t run as you can.” But it did not help him to scream his croak, croak, after her. She did not listen to it, but ran home and soon forgot the poor frog who was forced to go back into his well again.
The next day when she had seated herself at table with the king and all the courtiers, and was eating from her little golden plate, something came creeping splish, splash, splish, splash, up the marble staircase, and when it had splashed to the top step, it knocked at the door and cried, “Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me.”
She ran to see who was outside, but when she opened the door, there sat the frog in front of it. Then she slammed the door and, in great haste, sat down to dinner again, and was quite frightened. The king saw plainly that her heart was beating violently, and said, “My child, what are you so afraid of? Is there perchance a giant outside who wants to carry you away?”
“Ah, no,” replied she. “It is no giant but a disgusting frog. Yesterday as I was in the forest playing by the well, my golden ball fell into the water. And because I cried so, the frog brought it out again for me, and because he so insisted, I promised him he should be my companion, but I never thought he would be able to come out of his well. And now he is outside there, and wants to come in to our castle.”
In the meantime, the frog knocked a second time, and cried, “Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me. Do you not know what you said to me yesterday by the cool waters of the well? Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me.”
Then said the King, “That which you have promised must you perform. Go and let him in.”
She went and opened the door, and the frog hopped in and followed her, step by step, to her chair. There he sat and cried, “Lift me up beside you.”
She delayed until at last the king commanded her to do it. Once the frog was on the chair he wanted to be on the table, and when he was on the table he said, “Now, push your little golden plate nearer to me so that we may eat together.”
She slowly did this, but it was easy to see that she did not do it willingly. The frog enjoyed what he ate, but almost every mouthful she took choked her as she watched him in disgust. At length he said, “I have eaten and am satisfied, now I am tired, carry me into your little room and make your little silken bed ready, and we will both lie down and go to sleep.”
The king’s daughter began to cry, for she was afraid of the cold frog which she did not like to touch, and which was now to sleep in her pretty, clean little bed. But the king grew angry and said; “He who helped you when you were in trouble ought not afterwards to be despised by you.”
So she took hold of the frog with two fingers, carried him upstairs, and put him in a corner, but when she was in bed he crept to her bedside and said, “I am tired, I want to sleep as well as you, lift me up or I will tell your father.”
At this she was terribly angry, and took him up and threw him with all her might against the wall. “Now, will you be quiet, odious frog,” said she. But when he fell down he was no frog but a king’s son with kind and beautiful eyes. He, by her father’s insistence, was now her dear companion and husband. Then he told her how he had been bewitched by a wicked witch, and how no one could have delivered him from the well but herself, and that tomorrow they would go together to claim his father’s kingdom.
Then they went to sleep, and early the next morning when the sun awoke them, a carriage arrived, led by eight white horses, which had white ostrich feathers on their heads, and were harnessed with golden chains. The Frog Prince and his new Princess waved goodbye to her family and drove off to their new life together.
Submitted by the following German au pairs living in Massachusetts in 2004