“World Bread Day” occurred last week.  Here in Austria, the much beloved KaiserSemmel is an officially approved bread by the Agricultural Ministry. Try as we might, we are at a stalemate (pun intended) with this roll.

American-style hamburger rolls here are dreadful, grainy, flavorless buns topped with sesame seeds (and having an infinite shelf life), so we have to resort to the Semmel for burger night. When lightly grilled, and if the burger is piled high with caramelized onions, or bacon, or cheese, or avocado, plus salad and saucy condiments, the Semmel is barely noticeable.

Known to go stale within minutes, the Viennese have adopted ways to enjoy this hardtack, as well.  The Classic WurstelSemmel. A hefty dunk into any mustard (all of which are delish here) works wonders on a chunk of the roll.

My personal approach to enduring the Semmel is with a thick slab of Leberkäse. Hot or cold, and always normale.

SchnitzelSemmel. Another popular Semmel Survival Strategy, consisting typically of HuhnerSchnitzel (“Flat Chicken Nugget” in English) sandwiched in-between.

Viennese drivers, a regular feature on this post. They aren’t any better in the 18th District.  Within a couple of weeks of picking up our new car, some Asshat hit it while parked. At least they left a note. Narrow, two-way streets combined with oversized vehicles and the ever constant, “On a Hurry” attitude is a terrible combination for Vienna’s neighborhoods.

Like the small bundle of soup stock greens, I love, love, love the salad dressing packets. I can prepare just what we need and without the added fake stuff. No partially-used bottles of dressing taking up precious real estate in the refrigerator anymore, either!

Think America is bad with Early Christmas Onset Syndrome?  The Viennese haven’t fully embraced American-style Halloween (yet), and don’t have Thanksgiving, either, so that ho-ho-holiday spirit starts appearing in stores rather early here, too. These are the first of what will be many, many ways to countdown the days to Christmas spotted just last week.


In putting together “Anecdotes on Austria” I realized that I hadn’t written one for many months, and I half-wondered if I were “becoming Viennese.” Rather serendipitously a recently-launched English-language magazine ran an article, “16 Ways to Know You’re Really Viennese,” so, perfect timing!  All I needed was a score of 6!  Easy-peasy.  Let’s see how Viennese I might be…

1. The Augustin vendors get on your nerves sometimes, you always give something to Africans at Schottentor–They’re fun and cool. But the Romanians? Ask to see their badge!  Nope. I’m never annoyed by those less-fortunate than I, nor do I think those in need are “fun and cool.”

2. You consider Viennese classics like Apfelstrüdel, Sachertorte and Wienerschnitzel cliche, but are secretly proud they hail from your town. Nope. The Apfelstrüdel has Hungarian origins; and the Wienerschitzel, Italian, so they are technically Viennese co-opted classics. And, I dislike Sachertorte, the only one of the three true “classics.”

3. You’ve pretended to be an Icelandic tourist just to make the Mozart guys earn their uniforms.  No, I am not rude to those who are at least trying to earn a paycheck.

For the most part the remaining questions were about as insensitive or insipid as the first three, and so I scored no points. I also hope this was a poor attempt at a tongue-in-cheek effort to entertain the ex-pat audience of the magazine. Regardless, in this instance, I am very glad not to be “Viennese.”