Every year, on October 6, the United States is celebrating German-American Day to commemorate the establishment of Germantown, Pennsylvania in 1683. The day is mostly celebrated by the largest ancestry group in America with almost 50 million US citizens claiming full or part German heritage.
Former President Barack Obama said some years ago on German-American Day that the US citizens of German descent are excelling in practically all disciplines and that they have their minds open to expanding human development and possibilities. We are reminded of German achievements when we’re driving across suspension bridges, when we’re listening to a Steinway piano, or when we’re sending our children to kindergarten. In all these circumstances, we’re surrounded by their unique customs and traditions.
So how come there so many people of German descent in the United States? Well, it all started in the 1680s when a steady stream of German immigrants came to settle in the U.S. and the number of Germans made up almost ten percent of the total American population at the end of the 18th century. It all began on October 6th, 1683, when thirteen German Quaker families from the Krefeld region arrived in Philadelphia, and the place where they settled, on the northern portions of the city, became known as Germantown.
American food is heavily influenced by the Germans, though this influence is largely hidden because it has been around for such a long time. The most reliable accounts state that around 25 percent of the American population is in some way of German descent. In earlier days, German restaurants and their food guaranteed a top notch culinary standard across most major American cities. Nowadays, German restaurants are pretty hard to come by, even in cities that have strong German ties and traditions such as Milwaukee, Cincinnati, or St. Louis. and Milwaukee. Nevertheless, both the hamburger and the
Anyway, both the frankfurter and the hamburger and many other cured meat and sausage varieties, egg noodles, and numerous other so-called “typical American dishes have “their roots in the German cuisine. Strong German influences are even found in the proud barbecue cooking styles of many central Texas areas that house some major German influence pockets.
Some very popular American dishes, such as sauerbraten (the famous sweet and sour roast) retain their German names, just like sauerkraut, knackwurst (the sausage often referred to as knockwurst), leberwurst (that was slightly altered into liverwurst), and the always highly popular bratwurst. Americans are using the original German names comfortably, regardless whether they are of German descent or not.