Baltimore's autumn breezes usher in the rich aromas of hearty fare at Oktoberfest and sauerbraten suppers. But this year, something else, something more heady is in the air. Call it hope. On the eve of the reunification of East and West Germany, it's hard to see the gatherings of the German-American community as routine food events. As sure as there'll be potato dumplings, there'll be talk of family and freedom.
Between snippets about family recipes and parish news, members of womens' groups who prepare old-fashioned sauerbraten for the church suppers speak solemnly of their heritage and the dramatic events of the last year.
"I'm from Thuringia," says Dorothy Galway, a German Society of Maryland employee and member of the Ladies' Aid of Zion parish, which prepares a very popular sauerbraten supper. She was in the West when the war ended and couldn't return when her home fell under East Germany. "I never dreamed that I would see the wall come down in my lifetime," she says. Next year, she'll visit for the first time in more than 40 years.
An important event for her parish, the sour beef supper is an annual community gathering. Other events of 1989-1990 happen only once in a lifetime. There will be ecumenical services to mark the reunification and November commemorations of the anniversary of fall of the Berlin Wall, she says.
These community events featuring German-American cooking are coming up:
*Oktoberfest. The festival, featuring traditional foods and music, will be held Saturday, 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., and next Sunday, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., at the Fifth Regiment Armory off Howard Street. Admission will be $2.50. Children under age 12 will be admitted free.
*Sour beef supper. Supper on Oct. 25, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.; luncheon on Oct. 26, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Zion Lutheran Church, 400 E. Lexington St. across from City Hall. The meal price will be $7.50. For more information, call 727-3939.
*Sour beef supper. Supper will be served Nov. 6 and 7 at Christ United Church of Christ, at Decatur and Beason streets in Locust Point. The dinner price will be $7. For more information, call 685-7968.
*Call the churches and the German Society of Maryland, 685-0450, for information about services commemorating the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and reunification.