Friday, September 10, 2010

Riesling and the Growth of the German Soul

I always thought German Riesling is a good part of many meals. I also have been following from afar the debates over racial and religious integration in Germany – the good (as in the country's enthusiastic embrace of its multi-racial and multi-religious young national soccer/football team at the recent World Cup in South Africa) and the bad (the nutty claims about Muslims and Jews in a book by former German bank exec Thilo Sarrazin).

What do these two things have to do with each other?

I was pleased this morning to read this article in The New York Times about a Chinese-born restaurateur who has become a successful and popular Berlin fixture. Jianhua Wu's Hotspot has become, well, a hotspot in the city after it was featured in a popular chef's TV program. Wu pairs Chinese food with German Riesling wines, and the result has been a hit.

The Times article also shows that integration is no more exciting or difficult than it has been for anyone else in the world. He didn't set out to undermine Germany (such as Sarrazin apparently believes). Like pretty much everyone else, he set out to build a career and a family. He's done that, in the process falling in love with his adopted country. Again, like pretty much every other immigrant.

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