If you have attended a Gaufest in the good old U. S. of A. I want you to think about what you think of as a Gaufest when you think of one. Maybe it’s the last one you went to (This year in Atlantic City for me). Maybe it’s the first one you went to (1993 Buffalo, NY also for me). Maybe you have this amalgam Gaufest in your head that remembers the best times of all 28 we’ve had in the States so far. Whatever the Gaufest is in your head, move your mind past the dancing, the competitions, the friends, the family, the music, the awards, the late-night parties and the many, many, many, cups, cans, bottles, and boots of beer you normally have.
Have I left anything out?
Let me think. 1000, plus people in a hotel for 4 days, dancing and wearing mostly wool. What else could the human body need? They say after all you can drink your bread when you have a beer.
Oh right, the thing missing when I at least think of Gaufest is the food.
The whirlwind of a weekend seems designed to create a schedule completely non conducive to eating. Beverages namely beer are mobile. Yes, the ticket price includes a banquet dinner and a picnic on Sunday but as someone who has been to every Gaufest since he was born these meals. while essential, seem mostly to just get in the way of socializing or dancing and having a good time.
No most of the meals I take when locked into the Thursday to Sunday Gaufest consist of luncheon meats. rye bread, maybe some mayo or mustard. There’s definitely corn or potato chips on the menu and if nothing is dried, salted, smoked, or pickled you are probably doing it wrong. Eating at the Gaufest, at least for me, is like characterized by squeezing in meals between scheduled events, doing a Hochsprung (mit Kniefall) and filling up a bathtub with ice and cans of W beer.
If breakfast isn’t liverwurst on rye at 9:00 am its almost definitely continental faire. Sure, maybe one day someone from your group scrounged out the closest fast-food place and grabbed you a hamburger or a piece of pizza as a quick and heartily empty caloric intake.
After having returned from Atlantic City, for the Gaufest hosted by Edelweiss Passaic I will say, that the Banquet and the Picnic meals this time around were top notch, and better than I ever remembering them being. Kudos to the host for those selections. (Kudos of course meaning praise for the achievement and not the chocolate granola bars, which come to think of it probably were eaten a time or two at Gaufest before the Mars corporation discontinued them in 2017).
Still, I will posit that regardless of how good the formal meals were this time around in the coming years I will not remember them at all unless I re-read this diatribe.
The Gaufest for whatever reason isn’t about food. It’s about being with friends, dancing to the music of so many bands, competing with your club, and sharing in traditions, culture and camaraderie.
With all of those things, I will admit I’d take a liverwurst on bread any day!
Michael N. Fricker
EDITOR’S NOTE: Huge thanks to Schaller und Weber and Oscar Mayer for inspiration in this article. (not sponsors…yet)