Ostalgie – a portmanteau of the German words for “nostalgia” and “east”–  is a trend found in eastern Germany connoting nostalgia for life in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The term emerged after the reunification of Germany in 1990, when the majority of cultural icons of GDR disappeared. 

The series recreates the common GDR dishes, the kind of Ostalgie about the products that were in the pantry. GDR cuisine was often born out of necessities shaped by the ’planned economy’ in which people faced persistent food shortages. The creativity of GDR citizens to develop their own dishes by using the available resources is addressed in these meals. Canned or processed food, fat, bread, potatoes, chicken and vegetables grown in the GDR dominated the average diet, while finding other fresh vegetables and fruits required patience and luck. 

Ostalgie is a longing for the down-to-earth aspects of a bygone era, if not for the injustices committed by the regime. Remembering the GDR period is always accompanied by ambivalence; melancholy and defiance.