My latest endeavor to involve myself in Austrian culture was cooking a full Austrian meal. Thus far, I have very much enjoyed the local cuisine at the restaurants here in Leoben, so I though I would try out some of the recipes myself. After asking one of my classmates, Maria, if she had any good Austrian recipes to recommend, she quickly told me she had a few favorites. Not only that, but she invited me over to her flat to cook them with her! This, of course, was an opportunity I did not want to miss, so I energetically accepted and we set the time and date right then and there.
The process began with a trip to the local cheese stand, where we purchased some cheese from a local producer not far from Leoben. We then continued to the SPAR (something equivalent to a Safeway or King Soopers, although the grocery stores here close no later than 7 p.m., a bit different from the 24-hour options back home) to buy the rest of the ingredients. After returning to the flat, we munched on the cheese and had a glass of Austrian wine while preparing the meal.
While the main dish was simmering, we prepared a local Styrian side plate, “gigantes” (Styria being the state in which Leoben is located). Gigantes is essentially a green bean casserole prepared with tomatoes and tomato sauce. We threw in the onions and garlic (more garlic than was called for, of course, as it turns out we both love it) and let them sit in the pan for a good 15 minutes.
When all was finally ready, we sat down with some of our other classmates and ate our delicious creation. All in all, it was a fantastic meal, and a night I will always remember. Cooking a meal and eating together around a table always brings people together, and I’m so lucky I was able to experience it in Austria. I definitely want to steal a few more family recipes from the locals here after this experience as well.