Vielen Dank, Chef Staib
I was born and raised near Bregenz, Austria, close to the Bodensee - a relatively small body of water shared by Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.  Because of our proximity to this unifying lake and to the southern border of the Black Forest, my family had the good fortune to eat, drink, and live in much the same manner as Chef Walter Staib and his family.
Growing, cooking, and preserving a variety of foods in accordance with the seasons was hardly considered trendy in the Germany and Austria of our youth.  Modern innovations - such as international shipping, the availablity of hydroponic produce, and industrial-strength refrigeration - were as yet unavailable, so we relied on traditional Old World ways of life.  It didn't occur to me until I left Austria that I had been fortunate to eat fresh local products: meat from the butcher; cheese from the cheese maker; bread from the baker; and sweets from the patisserie.  My mother worked in the home, preserving fruits and vegetables, maintaining the garden and root cellar, and preparing three hearty daily meals for the family.  Our lives were naturally simple and seasonal.
When I left Austria in the 1970s to pursue a career as a chef in the United States, I never realized how much I would miss the foods and foodways of my native country.  At that time, Austrian restaurants in America were practically nonexistent, and German restaurants presented a hopelessly diluted selection of heavy, greasy fare that failed to reflect the unique regional characteristics of such a large and diverse country.  Now, some thirty years later, although German and Austrian cuisines enjoy slightly higher profiles in restaurants throughout the United States, they are still largely misunderstood.  I am hopeful that Chef Staib's Black Forest Cuisine will enlighten and educate readers about this most special region of Germany.
On a personal level, the reminiscences and recipes Chef Staib shares have returned me to my family's table.  They have elicited warm memories of such dishes as roast pork, knodel, and sauerkraut, which my mother prepared in the same manner as Chef Staib's mother.  On a broader scale, I believe that Chef Staib's ode to the Schwarzwald offers readers yet unfamiliar with the region the opportunity to understand its unique and colorful foods and traditions.
Vielen Dank, Chef Staib, for giving us a glimpse into the Black Forest with the passion and generosity of spirit that are so inherent to your beautiful homeland.
Franz Mitterer
Publisher/Founder, Art Culinaire