Schnitzel and the Saturn V (Gravy Ep. 42)


How did Huntsville, Alabama become home to a whole host of German restaurants? It has more to do with rocket science, than with Southerners’ love of spaetzle. In this episode of Gravy: a story of space exploration, World War II, nationalism—and the food that emigrated to Alabama along with a rocket scientist named Wernher von Braun. Reporter Dana Bialek explains how his arrival in the South not only led America into the space race; it led Huntsville into an ongoing fondness for schnitzel.

The U.S. Space and Rocket Center's Biergarten.
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s Biergarten.

For more on the biergarten at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, go here.

Claudia Jones at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center's Biergarten.
Claudia Jones at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s Biergarten.

You can learn more about the impact the German scientists had on Huntsville– and Huntsville’s wrangling with the scientists’ Nazi past—in Monique Laney’s book, German Rocketeers in the Heart of Dixie.

Werner von Braun's office at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
Werner von Braun’s office at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

For more about Space Camp, Wernher von Braun, and a celebration of all things rocketeers, go to Ed Buckbee’s website here.

If you’d like to try some of the German food in Hunstville, here’re a listing of restaurants:

Ol Heidelberg Café, 6125 University Dr NW E14, Huntsville, AL

Hildegard’s German Cuisine, 2357 Whitsburg Dr S, Huntsville, AL

Schnitzel Ranch, 1851 University Dr NW, Huntsville, AL