Emilie Stewart: How Austrian Food Swept Me Off My Feet

The Macky Effect:
{{For some reason Austrians think that McDonald’s is pronounced Mac Donalds, so they call it Macky. Stefan’s justification is that it’s called a BigMac and therefore it’s pronounced MacDonalds, even though I’ve explained that it’s spelled with a Mc and not a Mac. Either way, Mickey-Ds is now Macky to me}}

FACT: The last time I ate at McDonald’s before I came to Austria, I was probably 12 and force fed it.
FACT: McDonald’s in Austria use 100% Austrian beef, potatoes, oil and chicken [[http://www.mcdonalds.at/downloads/quality/mcd_quality.pdf]]
FACT: During my volleyball season in Austria, I had Macky twice a week.
FACT: After my first 2 years here, I lost 20 pounds
FACT: I spent my first year here refusing to eat Macky
FACT: I sadly regret that now.
FACT: I’ve never felt healthier in my life than right now… eating Macky

Ok, so I probably didn’t lose weight because I was stuffing my face with BigMacs, but this does point out something, there’s something different about the quality of Austrian food.

My first year, I tried to stay on a healthy diet. Staying away from Austria’s coveted pastries, fried pork (Schnitzel), Gelato and beer, while sticking to my vodka sodas (cocktails just have too many calories) and chicken breasts, and desperately searching for frozen yogurt (because, you know, that’s so healthy). And by all accounts, stay away from MACKY!
After that exhausting year of searching for food that America deems healthy, I gave up. And I haven’t looked back. I mean why waste one more day lusting over the most delicious food in a world, where Europe is the inventor of pastries and all things sweet. So I give you…

One day in the life (eating edition):

Warning: fructarians, vegetarians, carb-a-phobs, fat-a-phobs and sugar-phobs should be sitting while reading this.

Frühstuck [Breakfast]: Coffee (not filter coffee, that ish doesn’t exist here) and some type of delectable pastry or bread with jam/chocolate spread- preferably nutella or ovalmatine crunchy spread (think crunch bar, as a spread) OR yogurt from the farmer in town
{{As you may or may not know, I live right next door to my in laws, in fact we share a wall! Ok, pretty much we live in the same house, but it’s a big one. Gabi, my beautiful mother in law, has fresh bread and pastries delivered every morning for breakfast, and Stefan and I hopped on that train pretty fast. In addition, the local cow farmer makes her own yogurt (natural, vanilla, pina colada, strawberry, elder berry, peach, cherry, hazelnut, chocolate orange, I could go on…) Sometimes it arrives warm because she just made it, and I can’t help but think that it literally just came from the cows utter….because pina colada cows exist in Austria}}


Gabi with her bucket o’ yogurt


Best yogurt ever.

Vollkorn (Whole wheat) Croissant from the bakery that’s delivered every morning

During Easter and other holidays, they make festive bread.
That’s supposed to be a chicken, and the one in the back is a lamb.

Vormittag [Before mid-day]- a glass of prosecco with Gabi
{{Gabi’s saying that I’ll continue in America: “I love to cook with wine, sometimes I even use in my cooking”}}
Mittag essen [Lunch]: Usually meat, preferably pork, that’s fried. So Wiener Schnitzel is my favorite dish, with potato salad and white rice with cranberry sauce, ketchup and mayonnaise for the Schnitzel. Or the other route: a big fat bowl of homemade pasta
{{Lunch is their big meal, they usually have something warm for lunch and cold for dinner, which I would say is completely opposite in America, or at least for my family. We crushed at dinner}}
Nachmittag [Afternoon]- usually another prosecco with Gabi
Abend Essen [Dinner]: sausages, speck (dried bacon/sausages), cheese, caprese, cucumber salad, bread… etc.
{{Jause is the word for cold dishes aka find whatever you have left in your fridge from the day’s shopping and make a meal out of it}}

Ok, now I’m starving talking about food, I’ll whip up some jause since I bought 6 blocks of cheese yesterday. We love cheese.

Now that feeding time is over, I can continue.

As I said, there’s something about the quality of food here in Austria. Of course it can be found in America, but you have to search for it, unfortunately it does not exist at Pavilions, Albertsons and def not Walmart. I’m not even sure if Whole Foods makes the cut. And for us, quality meat, produce and dairy can be found at… well… every grocer in Austria. As our friend Sini said when he moved to Berkeley for his MBA, “It’s really expensive to be healthy here”. Meaning finding the same quality of food as back in Austria is HELLA expensive (nor cal term pun intended).

I have enjoyed eating whatever I want, and honestly, not for one second thinking of refusing food or drinks because I didn’t know what or how many calories were in it. I enjoyed these 4 years of consuming everything that was in front of me and without guilt. As a woman, we are constantly burden with such thoughts. It was a nice break.

Of course volleyball helped me maintain my figure, or at the very least occupied 3 hours of my time where I couldn’t consume chocolate or something of the sort 🙂 And I have realized that in my ‘retirement’ my womanly parts have decided to make their grand debut as I slowly creep to my late 20s. So I still make it to the gym whenever I’m motivated, so I can feel healthy again. Because for me, that’s the most important thing when it comes to my body, being and feeling healthy.

Hopefully I can keep this up in America, or at least until my wedding day!


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Emilie Menghin (Emilie Stewart)
Emilie in AustriaLand
Features on our blog

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