Today I decided to try what I found described on the internet (Oh, the interwebs!) as a “Hamburg specialty not to be missed, but that was sort of . . . well . . . strange.” I’m IN!

And I was doing a pretty good job of choking it down until Matt said, “It’s kinda like getting hot-karled except nastier because it involves that disgusting McDonald’s pink slime stuff.” Matt has had food poisoning for the last day or so and I think he was just jealous that he couldn’t eat and wanted to ruin my culinary experience.

So this dish is described as ‘sailor food.’ I knew it involved salted herring, beets and fried eggs sitting on a base of something that had been described both in tourist print and by a tour guide simply as ‘a mystery.’ And true to all the rumors, my herring, eggs and beets were sitting on a big steaming pile of something that looked dyed in beet juice but smelled ever so slightly meat-like. After the McDonald’s pink slime comments, I couldn’t go on.

I fear the pickled herring is still in my teeth. I ordered a big beer to wash any errant pieces down my throat but I think there’s something still stuck there. (Salted herring tastes like a shipyard by the way.)

Normally I cannot throw food away; this I happily crumpled my napkin into.

When she came to collect the plate, the waitress said in broken German, “Well?”

“Well, I’d eat that again before curry wurst,” I sorta kinda lied. I actually wouldn’t ever eat either one again.

“I’d rather have de udder,” she said.

And then I remembered how when I ordered it she suddenly stiffened up her back, which gave away the true feelings behind her solidly stoic face. She obviously hated the stuff.

Matt, with stomach bug, threw up his curry wurst yesterday and his pink slime words echoing in my head make my stomach roil for hours and cause paranoia to set in. I worry a little bit that whatever bug he’s got I might have too and that it just hasn’t hit yet. I hope I hope I hope I don’t puke up laubskaus – maybe curry wurst would be better to puke up.

Always a sign when a cook tries to dress a dish up with a smiley face.

In the end, we asked the waitress what was in that mound of mystery stuff. I heard ‘beef’ and Matt heard ‘corn’ so we had to ask again. For the record it’s corned beef, (we were BOTH right!) mashed potatoes, I found a pea in there too and yes, it’s stained with beet juice.

Why couldn’t they just leave the beet juice out? And why do they have to mix all that stuff together and then, inexplicably, fry it? Better yet, next time, I’ll just take a plate of corned beef and potatoes.