I grew up in Austria, and for me, real comfort food is Wiener Schnitzel. Wiener Schnitzel and mashed potatoes because it reminds me of my youth… It reminds me when I grow up and it feels very comforting.Wolfgang Puck
Wiener Schnitzel is a delicious treat that is much beloved by Austria and other countries in that region. It is, in fact, one of the premier examples of Viennese cuisine and has served as the backbone of many a native’s childhood diet.
Wiener Schnitzel Day celebrates this meal, its culture and its history.
History of Wiener Schnitzel day
A breaded cutlet that is deep-fried in oil, Wiener Schnitzel is traditionally made from veal, but also can be made from pork. In Australia, it might even be found made out of chicken or beef.
This dish is actually named after the city where it was invented, as “Wien” is the way Vienna is written in German.
Wiener Schnitzel was first mentioned in 1831 in a cookbook where it was called eingebröselte Kalbsschnitzchen, and would find its way to Vienna in 1857. The dish continued to appear throughout the region, and one comment from 1887 said that it was “a gastronomic dream”, though the dish he describes is decidedly a complex affair, including slices of lemon peel, sardines, gherkins, capers, and an unknown array of other spices.
Today’s version of Wiener Schnitzel is also known by other names around the world. In the Midwest of the United States, it’s known as a “pork tenderloin” and is typically served on a bun as a sandwich. In Latin American, the dish is known as “Milanesa”, and in Czech Republic, it is called “Řízek”.
Wiener Schnitzel Day celebrates this dish and its place in that history!
How to Celebrate Wiener Schnitzel Day
Enjoy the celebration of Wiener Schnitzel Day with these types of fun activities:
Learn Some Fun Facts About Wiener Schnitzel
Impress friends, family members and coworkers by sharing interesting facts and tidbits about the guest of honor on Wiener Schnitzel day:
- Wiener Schnitzel is tenderized through the use of pounding on it to make it thinner and more comfortable to eat.
- An American fast food chain named ‘Wienerschnitzel’ was founded in 1961. Strangely enough, they started by selling hot dogs, but have since expanded into other menu items. They’re located in at least 10 states and also in Guam.
- In Finland, Wiener Schnitzel is called “Wieninleike” and is always made of pork. It became particularly popular toward the end of World War II. Here, it is typically served with mashed potatoes or french fries.
- Garnishes for this food vary significantly based on the place where it is served. It may range from a simple lemon wedge to butter, from parsley to potato, from anchovy slices to capers and horseradish.
Visit Vienna for Traditional Wiener Schnitzel
A trip to Vienna is just the thing for experiencing the most authentic and tastiest Wiener Schnitzel found all over the globe. Enjoy visiting the palace where the Habsburg royal family would spend their summers, or view museums that house works of art by famous artists such as Gustav Klimt, Albrecht Dürer, or Hieronymus Bosch.
From the US, hopping on a flight to Austria can be fairly quick and easy, as Trans-Atlantic flights go. With several airlines that have direct flights from a few different American cities, a trip to Vienna can be made in around 8-9 hours from the east coast.
For enjoying the best of Vienna’s culinary delights, almost any traditional restaurant will serve a delicious schnitzel that’s probably bigger than your head! Squeeze a bit of lemon juice on that tender breaded meat and enjoy some potato salad on the side.
In between delicious meals, don’t forget to visit Vienna’s best attractions, including the Schönbrunn Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Hofburg Palace and Museum. And, of course, after meals, visiting a Viennese cafe for a delightful cup of Viennese coffee is the perfect treat.
Make Wiener Schnitzel at Home
Celebrating Wiener Schnitzel Day can be delightfully done by creating your own Wiener Schnitzel in your own home. While decidedly simpler than some of the dishes mentioned above, it’s still a fantastic foundation for just about any Schnitzel based dish anyone might wish to create!
Wiener Schnitzel Recipe
- 1c Flour
- 3t Kosher Salt
- 2 Eggs (large)
- 2T Heavy Cream
- 2c Breadcrumbs
- ½ pound of eye round
- 2c Safflower Oil
- 3T Butter, Unsalted
- 4 lemon wedges
Begin preparing your Wiener Schnitzel by laying out paper towels two thick. Sift the flour and one Tablespoon of salt into a bowl, preferably one that’s shallow and wide. Then take the eggs and whisk them together with the cream in a different bowl. Take the breadcrumbs and 2t of salt into a third bowl. Then flatten the eye round between plastic wrap, ensuring you don’t tear them, and then season with salt and pepper.
Heat oil to 350F in a pan and add butter. Then it’s as simple as dipping the eye round in the flour, dipping it in egg, and then the breadcrumbs and transfer to the pan. Once it browns, turn it over and brown the other side, a total of about 2 minutes, one per side. Then set on the paper towels to soak up the excess oil and cool. Then serve with lemon and parsley.