All of the main parties have nominated a “lead candidate” to take them into this Sunday’s election, some have even nominated two. We picked our favourite ones and ruminated on which side dishes they would be best served with.
Sahra Wagenknecht (Die Linke)
Die Linke (the Left Party) are a left over from communist East Germany, formed out of the remnants of the Socialist Unity Party, which ruled the east up until 1989. They are suffering from a membership crisis as the majority of their numbers are aged party loyalists from before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Die Linke have re-branded themselves as “democratic socialists” and some 10 percent of Germans are expected to vote for them.
Sahra Wagenknecht, their firey leader, once said that the Berlin Wall was “a necessary evil.”
We would recommend a rather spartan way of serving up the east German economist. Perhaps at most a garnish of half a Spreewald gherkin would do the trick. At any rate, if Wagenknecht won power, it wouldn't be possible to muster up anything else, as the shop shelves would all be empty.
Martin Schulz (Social Democrats)
Mr. Schulz is representing the oldest party in Germany. The Social Democrats trace their roots all the way back to the mid-19th Century and have survived several attempts at suppression during their history.
Schulz unfortunately has far less staying power. After he entered the running as the SPD candidate in January, the party shot up in the polls. For a few weeks it seemed that Schulz could sweep to an improbable victory over Angela Merkel. But the euphoria was driven by a simple hunger for something new – at that stage no one really knew what Schulz stood for.
That’s why we’d serve him up with Weisswurst and a pretzel. Germans go crazy for this classic breakfast when they have an empty stomach. But by the time the clock has struck 10am, the pretzel has gone a bit stale, the sausage has dried out and they won't look at it anymore.
Alexander Gauland (Alternative for Germany)
Photo: DPA/ Flickr photo of a tagine/ Anthony Tong Lee
Even those of us who only pay passing attention to German politics probably know the AfD by now. Set up by a group of eurosceptic economists in 2013, an internal coup two years later shot them to the right.
The man leading them into the elections is 76-year-old Alexander Gauland, who likes to dress like an English country gent. Much like an Englishman in his manor, he also likes to fume about foreigners taking over the country.
In recent weeks he has made several comments which suggest his thinking hasn't evolved much since the year he was born. He has advocated “dumping” an SPD politician in Turkey, claimed that Islam “doesn't belong in Germany”, and said Germans should be proud of the achievements of their soldiers in the Second World War.
Preparing a meal containing the AfD leader would require patience. He would need to be marinated for around a week, before being cooked at a low heat for several days to tenderize that tough old meat.
Naturally, Mr Gauland would claim that he is best served with a side of sauerkraut and dumplings, but slow cooked meat goes so well in a Moroccan tagine.
Katrin Göring-Eckardt (the Greens)
Katrin Göring-Eckardt prefers to know where her side dishes come from. Photo: DPA
The Greens are worlds apart from the AfD on most policy matters. They are pro-refugee, hate diesel engines, and are all about gender equality.
But they can be as provincial as their far-right rivals in some ways, too. For instance Göring-Eckardt would be horrified to be served up with anything other than mung beans and kale from her own garden.
It is also important that the dish is offered in a gender neutral form on the menu – so that’ll be a flash-fried Green leader with a side of Bohnen/Innen und Kohl/in.
Christian Lindner (Free Democrats)
Walk down the street of any German town at the moment and you might get the impression that the neoliberal Free Democrats have only put up one candidate for election. From Bavaria to Brandenburg, Stuttgart to Schwerin, the egocentric Lindner has become the sole face of the FDP.
So what else could we do but serve up Lindner with a side of Christian Lindner? For starters one would slurp down a Lindner Bisque, while the dessert of the day would be Christian brûlée.
Angela Merkel (Christian Democrats)
So, how to serve the big one, the Chancellor of the past 12 years? The guests will have high expectations, but it's not easy to cook a cut of Merkel.
Somewhat like tofu or chicken, she provides a texture and consistency to a meal that appeals to a broad audience, without having an apparent flavour of her own. Seasoning is therefore everything. Over the past four years it has been à la mode to give her a red hue by adding ground paprika or stewing her in a tomato sauce (this has normally been served with a Bavarian Weissbier).
If rumour is to be believed though, this autumn Berlin restaurants will be offering her with a side of Green vegetables and a chaser of Jamaican rum.