Not really any other way to put it. The Viennese cuisine, traditionally, appears to lack a certain something. 400 years ago Salzburg was a fortress for the storing of salt. Time to open the doors and spread a little on the food for flavouring.
Tonight’s Viennese meal consisted of Wiener Schnitzel. Not really knowing what to expect, as I haven’t had many schnitzels in my short existence, I went in with an open mind. In essence, it was a big slab of breaded pork. No salt. No pepper. And if you’re wondering about hints of curry, oregano or even dill…guess again. I am sure that if this were packaged up to where you could find it in your local supermarket freezer, the list of ingredients would not have complicated triglycerides, or monosodiumtumorcausers…but just your basic pork, bread crumbs and maybe some eggs to hold it together before deep frying. Even the usual list of preservatives on those frozen meals is usually accompanied by maybe some onion or garlic. You say, how about salt and pepper on the table. That appears to be a North American luxury. You can ask for salt and pepper, but I swear they must dig it out of the back from under lock and key.
How about this. Give me half the schnitzel, and ten times the flavour. Vienna was a trading town. Find someone to take half the pig off you for a few handfuls of spices. Maybe something for a marinade. The thai sate that Melanie ordered had oodles more flavour, and came with a spicy peanut dipping sauce that really helped in making that platter of battered and fried schwein go down my gullet with some character. Maybe that chinese restaurant across the way would have some real hot sauce for us.
It must be the years of smoking that have done it. Tastebuds likely masked and no chance of smelling your food with smoke hanging in the air of every food establishment. Texture and atmosphere was all that really mattered with your food back then. Maybe there is some loose correlation between the development of flavour within the dishes chefs prepare, and when the city decided to ban smoking. Just a thought. Is Vancouver food tasty because of the Asian flavour influence, or because it has taken 10 years of smoke-free dining to finally have our tastebuds recover to the point of appreciating the intricacies.
Regardless of the lack of sauces or spices here in Vienna, there is no need to be polite and simply ask for a doggy bag. You can bring your pooch right into the restaurant and feed Fido under the table. Obviously we’re just a little too proper and stuck up back home. We’ll stick with the gelato for any tastebud exploration.