Celebrating Oktoberfest with the first graders

So last month I decided to go visit my son's first grade classroom for a German-themed lesson that included food. :) I love doing such things - a St. Patty's Day celebration with corned beef, cabbage, Irish soda bread and green river floats, a Chinese New Year celebration with egg rolls, fried rice, almond cookies and fortune cookies, Cinco de Mayo with enchiladas, tamales, rice, candy and rice milk. Any excuse I have to turn room mom duties into a cultural food fest and I'm there!

So, for Oktoberfest I went in to visit the kids and brought my father-in-law, a native of Berlin, along to teach the kids a little about German culture and how to say a few words and phrases in the German language. We told them that Oktoberfest originated as a harvest festival centuries ago. We left out the part about how it has evolved into a giant beer fest.

Anyway, Aldi is a great place to find food products from Germany and Austria. German candy can be found year round and in October, you'll often find schnitzel, spaetzle, marzipan, strudels and other German specialties. My son loves the pork schnitzel, so we stock up when we see it in October. We just had some the other night with some spaetzle, red cabbage, potato pancakes and white asparagus.

Last year when I went in for Oktoberfest, I brought bratwurst, sauerkraut, chocolate, marzipan, stollen and a snack food called peanut puffs. This year, I decided not to do the bratwurst, since it gets expensive and is a lot of work heating and slicing into bite size pieces they can eat with a toothpick. Besides, my visit was at 9 a.m. and bratwurst just didn't seem fitting for that early in the day. I also omitted the sauerkraut since only two or three kids were brave enough to try it last year. This time I brought red cabbage, but again, six-year-olds weren't very interested. I also brought some chocolate, dark pumpernickel bread and peanut puffs (which they weren't able to eat because of a couple kids in the class with peanut allergies.) I wasn't able to find any stollen or marzipan at the store this time. The chocolate, of course, was the clear favorite. :)