Merry Christmas! Don’t panic I haven’t had a stroke…I know it is January 7th! Our family has always observed Orthodox Christmas or as we call it “Little Christmas.” I keep our decorations up and will of course light the tree and the outside of the house tonight to celebrate! My grandpa started the tradition and we have kept it going. As luck would have it his birthday happened to also be January 7th! Double the celebration!
In honor of Little Christmas I thought it was the perfect day to share my first trip to TEUTONIA MÄNNERCHOR. Teutonia Mannerchor is the German Club located in Pittsburgh. In early December my friend Brigitte invited me to their annual Christmas Luncheon Buffet. I just thought we were going to enjoy a traditional German lunch, but the day was filled with much more! Upon our arrival Brigitte gave me a tour of the Bar featuring German Beer Steins, their piano, and the live Christmas tree. As luck would have it one of the managers of the Club was in the bar and shared history of the club. The Live Christmas Tree is selected each year by the same woman in charge of selecting Christmas trees for one of Pittsburgh’s largest restaurant chains. The tree is maintained by several members. It wasn’t until I was up close to the tree that I realized it was a real tree. There is not a branch out of place. It is just stunning.
The paintings on the walls are original to the Club with the exception of a painting over the kitchen which was changed during WWII to protect German Pittsburghers from being linked as Nazi sympathizers. The original paintings featured German singers, but they were concerned that the US government would think the singers looked like Government soldiers. Each painting is a song or German saying that promotes happiness or well being. The Club has always been a place for celebration of their heritage.
We headed upstairs to enjoy lunch and were greeted by Christmas Music! Their accordion player filled the air with holiday spirit as we enjoyed German dishes including Spaetzle, sauerkraut, red cabbage, Jager Schnitzel, German Hot Dogs, Chicken, Fish, and Bratwurst. I tried just a little bit of everything to experience the culture and ended up loving the Bratwurst. I am a big fan of the sauerkraut, but the red cabbage was a little too sweet for me. For dessert I enjoyed a gingerbread cake. It reminded me of a spice cake and it was the perfect ending to the meal!
While we ate the accordion player stopped by our table and shared several interesting facts about his accordion. He has been playing for decades and it is actually quite difficult to find parts in the region. In order to replace the pads on the keys he uses Dr. School’s foot pads! He uses no sheet music and knows hundreds of songs by memory.
The German Club Christmas Luncheon was the perfect way to kick-off my holiday season. If you ever receive an invitation to enjoy their Christmas buffet I highly recommend it!