Petra Hammerstein, in her antiquarian at Turkenstraße 37, Munich.

You are what you eat – food, part of the personality

Petra Hammerstein is a Foodie – her enthusiasm for eating and cooking is her lifeblood. Since 2010, she has been showing how to conjure delicious dishes from lamb testicles, oxtail and tripe on her food blog “derMutanderer.” She has posted over 1800 posts online so far. And there are more every day.

Petra Hammerstein can only smile wearily about the current food trend “from Nose to Tail,” which British celebrity chef Fergus Henderson has made salonable. Offal, calf’s feet, and pig’s ears have been part of their diet since childhood. Since 2010 she runs the blog “derMutAnderer” and shows her passion for traditional home cooking. Petra Hammerstein loves to pickle and marinate in her recipes.

What’s your favorite food?
Bloody meat dishes, raw liver, steak blue fried and oysters.

Antiquarian and Bavarian blogger

How did your penchant for such extraordinary dishes come about?
From a young age, my dad took me on a pub crawl once a week. This definitely included a visit to the Palaiskeller in the “Bayerischen Hof” and to the “Pfälzer Weinstuben”. At the time there were snails, tartar and sometimes turtle soup everywhere. I particularly loved her. Friends of my parents said at the time: I was very eccentric.

Why is your blog called “derMutAnderer”? That doesn’t sound like a food blog at all.
I always followed my unusual eating habits, which was often not easy, because some did not understand. “It would be interesting where the courage of others would be. It would be interesting to learn about that, “my friend said. And so the blog was born.

It takes a lot of courage not to align with the mainstream and go your own way. Where does your courage come from?
My parents had been running the Antiquariat in the “Türkenstraße” in Munich since 1968. Two self-employed people, where everything revolved around business, so I grew up extremely free. “Come into the business by seven o’clock at the latest, because we’ll go home there,” my mother said. Ask only women if you need help and never go with men. You also have to be able to cross the street without a traffic light, because there are not traffic lights everywhere. You can always take a taxi back to the bookstore, we will pay the bill. These were the wisdom of survival at the time. Being free, in every way, is still extremely important to me today.

Parts of the pig
From Nose to Tail. Everything from the animal is processed into delicious dishes at Petra Hammerstein. (Photo: fotolia)

What do you associate with food and cooking?
Good food was very important for my family. For breakfast we often had lamb chops with roast potatoes. Since we only came home from the antiquarian at ten or eleven o ‘clock in the evening and ate only a little thing, we always cooked warm in the morning. During my school years, I often arrived too late. They thought we were sleeping so long. We’ve always cooked everyone out of the family. We called it “food on wheels” when we spread the beef goulash, the veal tongue with sour potato casserole or the blood sausage gröstl to grandma, aunt, father, or took it to the store to warm up. My mother once said, “I can already understand why other people are lying at 30 degrees by the lake – we crazies are standing in the kitchen doing blood sausage.”

What courage others have you discovered through your blog?
I’ve met many like-minded people, all of whom, in their own way, have an outspoken propensity for food, cooking and product. In the meantime, I only meet bloggers and not the old friends. If you have that bang, no one can really understand it: go from one grocery store to another and hang out at food events.

Within six years of over 1800 posts, you’ve built up your loyal internet family. What is your goal?
I want to pass on knowledge: Developing recipes, writing them down and sharing them. I think it comes over that I buy specifically, that I deal a lot with a product. I want to encourage people to deal with traditional home cooking while looking outside the box. Trying out what you like, because that enriches life immensely, unless you are not interested in food at all.

How should it going on?
In September 2018, my first cookbook will be published by Umschau Verlag. The second cookbook is already in the making. It is certainly difficult to fully finance yourself as a food-blogger. But as a second pillar next to the antiquarian bookshop it would be a great thing. However, this is only possible with much diligence. My mother always says, “Your hobby is work.”

Recipe suggestion: Baked lamb testicles on tomato salad with tarragon and crispy bacon.