Apetito, a catering company from the western German state of North-Rhine Westphalia, published the 2017 edition of its annual analysis of meal popularity in different cafeterias.
Currywurst with chips — crinkly chips to be exact — defended its number one spot for the 26th year in a row. The traditional schnitzel with fried potatoes took second place, and spaghetti bolognese maintained its third spot from last year.
The elderly were, by contrast, far more conservative.
Geriatric lips were most eager for beef roulade with boiled potatoes and red cabbage, while meatloaf with parsley potatoes and sauerkraut was a new entry in second place, pushing green bean stew with beef to third.
No matter how you slice it, potatoes make up a large part of the average German diet. Whether in soups, mashed, fried, or served as French fries or chips, an average of roughly 60-65 kilograms of potatoes are eaten per person per year in Germany.
Potatoes were once guarded by soldiers
Native to the Bolivian and Peruvian Andes, the potato first arrived in Germany in 1630. According to legend, King Frederick II of Prussia believed in the economic and nutritious value of potatoes. He tricked local farmers into planting more of the so-called apple of the earth by posting soldiers around the potato fields to protect them. It worked - highly valued goods taste even better.
Texture is key
With over 5,000 varieties of potatoes now grown today, it's important to select the right fruit for your dish. Potatoes are sorted not by color, but by how they cook up. The firm and dense types are best for frying or making potato salad, while the fluffy, floury sorts are ideal for mashing and baking.
There are sundry potato salad recipes
Pot lucks can prove problematic in Germany, since potato salad is a popular dish to bring. However, everyone's version is different. Some smother the sliced potatoes in hot oil and bacon; others prefer theirs chilled and coated in mayonnaise and accompanied by pickles. Either way, German potato salad is a must at any grill party.
Potatoes are made round again
Hearty German fare often includes potato dumplings, which come in different varieties. Some are made with cooked potatoes, while others mixed with flour for a starker consistency. Known as either Klösse or Knödel, the potato dumpling is a favorite side with pork roast.
Chips go German-style
Much of those 60-odd kilograms eaten by the average German each year must come from potato chips, considering it takes 10,000 pounds of potatoes to make 2,500 pounds of chips. Although chips are not native to Germany, some of the flavor choices are. Originally limited to only paprika or salt, available flavors now include currywurst, ketchup and mayonnaise - and even the African sauce chakalaka.
French fries can be a meal
Known as "Pommes" in Germany, French fries are often served with currywurst (pictured) or as a side dish with any other hearty meal. But street vendors also sell them all by themselves, often in paper cones and with a wooden fork - a trend in neighboring Holland and Belgium, too. They are offered with a wide variety of sauces, included standard ketchup, curry-flavored ketchup and mayonnaise.
Baked potatoes are a vegetarian favorite
A delicious, utterly basic dish that gets a lot of play in the German kitchen, the baked potato is cooked in its skin and often comes wrapped in aluminum foil. Served with a hefty helping of a herbed "Quark" (like yogurt) and a side salad, the "Pellkartoffel" will fill you up - even without a portion of meat.
Common at the Christmas market
"Reibekuchen" are shredded potatoes mixed with onions, deep fried and topped with applesauce, molasses or smoked salmon and yogurt sauce. They are a delicacy found at many Christmas markets in Germany. Popular with kids, the potato pancake can be quite filling despite its simplicity - but they're greasy, so grab a napkin when you buy them to-go.
Potatoes in the German language
Potatoes play a central role in German idioms, too. While the "dumbest farmer harvests the fattest potatoes" is a lament in German, it's similar to the English "fortune favors fools." And being dropped like a hot potato can happen no matter your native tongue. It seems Germans don't just like to eat potatoes - they also like to talk about them.