Feeding a German teenage boy?

In the spirit of What does a French teen boy eat?. We’re getting a German exchange student in July, and if he can stand us and the noise of all our kids we’re going to be feeding and talking to him for six weeks, poor lad. We’ve had a couple of other exchange students- one from Saudi Arabia, who didn’t eat vegetables, and one from Colombia who loved all Canadian food and anything I cooked (lots of Asian and East Indian).

I’m a pretty good cook, bake our bread, and do most of our meals from scratch. I lean heavily towards Italian/East Indian/Chinese/Vietnamese instead of traditional Canadian cuisine.

He’ll be sixteen years old, and I assume he’ll be less laid-back in general than the Colombian guy. I’m looking forward to it.

So, how do we keep from starving him? We have Nutella, if that helps. :slight_smile:

I’m confused. He’s a 16-yr-old boy. They eat like Jethro Bodine. He’ll each what you give him then go out with his friends and eat some more.

Is “traditional Canadian cuisine” Tim Horton’s, McDonalds, and pizza? Because that sounds like what he’d like.

An American friend of mine that lived in Germany for some time told me that Germans consider corn (i.e. American corn, maize) to be animal feed and not appropriate for human consumption.

I’m pretty sure a lot of the meat-and-potato fine cuisine that we’re accustomed to in North America is influenced be European countries such as Germany. I don’t think anything would be out of the ordinary, unless poutine swished down by Caesars came up.

Do you need a 37 y/o exchange student? I’m hungry.

I assume that you, as a host parent, will be apprised of any major dietary restrictions (vegan/kosher/allergies or the like.) Other than observing those, I’d just cook as usual. First, there’s little point to a cultural exchange if the student isn’t exposed to the culture of the country he visits. And second, he’s a teenage boy. The world’s most perfect eating machine. In my experience, they don’t eat wallpaper paste. Maybe.

First, you will want to ensure a steady supply of bratwurst or other sausage. Currywurst is a dish you could learn, though I find it rather vile. Second, being sixteen, the lad will be well acquainted with bräu. I would find a good, dark wheat beer and buy a keg of that (or a few cases). Cabbage is also not to be overlooked.

Kid at that age will pretty much eat anything.

However, Germans are wimps when it comes to spicy/hot food - many think three grains of pepper in a 10 gallon stew would make it too hot to eat!
Plus, they seem to be very sensitive to garlic - they can smell it miles away, and can tell you you had a pizza with garlic five days ago.
Younger Germans are usually more adventurous, but the biggest trick for a kid that age - don’t tell him what’s in it until after he eats it. (Unless he has an allergy or something.)

And as others have mentioned, the point of an exchange student is to learn what other do and eat and think and - well, exchange culture!

Oh, and don’t be shocked if he should want to drink a beer or have a glass of wine with dinner - that is really very, very common even for kids his age over there! You don’t have to let him do so, but if he asks it doesn’t mean he is some teenage alcoholic or something - just a normal drink with dinner for Germans, even at a young age.

I know this is a tangent, but I wouldn’t let him drink alcohol with dinner unless you already allow your own kids to do so (even though it would be legal). Although he’s not yet of age in Ontario (19), this page indicates that beer or wine at the family dinner table would be A-OK. But the point of foreign exchange is learning how to assimilate in another culture and with another family, which means adhering to their cultural mores even if you disagree with them. Unless you already let your kids drink beer with dinner, it’s really not necessary to let him do so. But yeah, don’t freak out if he asks about it.

As far as food suggestions, I doubt he would have stringent objections to anything you would normally cook. The best way to find out is to ask him when he arrives. Taste and spiciness preference varies wildly by the individual, but it’s a given that most boys his age eat like there’s a singularity in their stomach. It might be nice to grill up some bratwursts on a sunny weekend for a touch of home, though.

Most of my German friends tell me that Italian is there favorite food, although it’s probably skewed more towards modern Italian than the Sicilain influenced Italian American food that is more popular in North America. Thai is also popular, and you anything pork or meat in tube form is generally a good bet. Ask him what he likes to eat, but I would not bend over backwards to gear every meal towards him.

I lived in Germany for sometime, and although you don’t see much corn on menus, they do sell it as a specialty items at fairs I attended in southern Germany.

No, the ones who do that are little boys, of which LiLi already has two.

You may hit upon one of those people who view food as nothing more than fuel, but IME even those eat like teenagers when they’re one.

This is a cultural exchange, feed him what you normally feed your family.

Oh, I will, I just won’t make Vindaloo if it’ll kill him. And I’ll keep it in mind about corn not being a favourite, since he’ll be here in corn season.
My kidlets don’t drink beer yet- they’re four, two, and four months (although if i gave the babies beer it might improve the sleeping situation).

What’s a German teenager likely to be like (I’m aware that this is asking for generalizations)? The Saudi was aloof and reserved and appalled at our download limits, the Colombian was sweet and charming and funny and deeply impressed with Canada.

As a generalization, German teenagers are the same as any North American teenager - same love of video games, same taste in music and films, same interest in sports (although obviously more for soccer) and will like all the fashion trends in jeans and athletic footwear etc. The internet and television and films has eradicated much of the local/regional tastes. So now it is just luck of the draw if he is outgoing or shy, or athletic or more of a nerd/computer geek, inquisitive or passive…my guess is by the fact he has agreed to this exchange program, he at least has some interest in bettering his English and checking out what people (girls) are like in other countries.

Oh, and forget that stereotype about all Germans being blond and blue-eyed. Yes, there are many, but just as many with dark hair and dark eyes.

I used to teach at a school in Switzerland with kids from all over the world - teenage kids adapt really quickly and it didn’t make a difference if they were from Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany, UK or US - they all had very, very similar tastes in music and fashion and other interests.

Certainly SOME Germans will consider corn not people food, but at least some of them DO eat it. It was common enough in vegetarian eateries, and an option for pizza topping almost everywhere that offered pizza. (yes really: corn on a pizza!) What was NOT common was any sort of “finger food” so corn-on-the-cob might be more of an issue in a “how do I eat this with my knife in my right hand and my fork in my left hand?” sense than an “you are giving me animal feed” sense. I have taken many German visitors out for local(New Mexico) fare, and corn tortillas and tostada chips are a non-issue. But yeah, their spicy tolerance is on the low side.

It has been nearly 20 years since I was in Germany though, so things may have changed some.

ETA: He will probably be unable to start eating until you bid him “guten apatit!”

I had a friend who was travelling in Europe, where he was served a pizza that had corn and beets on it.

I dunno about Canada but the exchange programs my american high school used had a strict no liquor policy regardless of local and state laws.

Im half German and Half Italian. (I think that makes me a Krop, half kraut, half wop)

I would get myself a cookbook. That being said, many times, exchange students want to experience a culture of eating other then their homeland.

Make sure you find out about food allergies etc.

If you need some German recipes, send me a PM. Im first generation German on my mothers side.

Southern Germany? Well, that explains a lot… :slight_smile:

As for the OP, why don’t you write him a letter* and ask? Tell him that you’re planning on eating pretty much as usual, but would like to know if he has any stuff that he just can’t stand. And be adventurous. Maybe you can have him cook some German food one night, if he has any skill in that area. Or have his parents send a recipe for his favorite meal, and try and cook that as a special treat. I expect the exchange should be in both directions, no?

*Did I really say that? Send him an e-mail or a text!

He is coming for the experience of visiting another country. Part of that experience should be eating the local foods. Just feed him what you feed your family (while keeping in mind dietary restrictions)