After the battle of Lobositz ano 1756, the king noticed him at his banquet, so, without hesitation he was employed as chef cook. Braatz masterly created, with austerity, palatable treats. He improvised a lot and as we say today: "A kitchen wizard". Friedrichs court liked his spartan ways and every single louisdor left in the coffers made the "Braatz chap" even more pleasant. He delivered a master piece at the peace negociation to Hubertsburg, which made it profitable for the Prussian army, because Braatz served the Austrian heavy, fatty food and beer, the seperate dining Prussians where set on a strict light diet.
Not only did the Austrians have problems with the negociations, heavy sluggish digestion dragged them about. Yes, such a rascal was Braatz. Indeed, Friedrich won his war but the treasure trove yawned with emptyness. Now the ghost of famine haunted Prussia. Exactly on
April 13, 1764 they called the chef cook to the kings cabinet. There they concisely informed him to use, under court order, the oversea fruit
Batata, to banish the threatening famine and the court should set an example, therefore Batata on the table.
Now you have to know, at the start they tried not to eat the bulb of the "Batata", instead they used the green poison fruit of the stalk. Stomach-ache, diarrhea, yes even deadly poisoning where the consequences. Even Braatz lay 3 days in the Garrison Hospital in Potzdam, before he could be released with a permanent kidney disease.
But now he knew which part of the plant to eat and which not. Some days later apart for the first time "Cartschoffeln in Dutch Sauce" at the Kings lunch table. Friedrich was impressed. Still, at the same day at 23.00 hours, arrived Earl Hercules de Greasseville-Fraissac, the confidant of his Royal Highness King Ludwig XV. A real Earl full of wisdom and wit, an superior wine and gourmet connoisseur. Friedrich II who adores French live style, jumps hastily into his uniform frock, chased a few smart ladies-in-waiting out of there chambers, and roars at Braatz: "He create anything on the table for the chreviewier. If not convenient, we will let him hang."
A cleaned up kitchen at this nightly hours has not much to offer. Hanging from the ceiling are sausages, a few sides of smoked bacon, in the box brown onions as big as a fist. Braatz takes thoughtfully one of them in his hand, rustling with the brown skin. With a side glance he noticed a earthen bowl with cooked "Cartschoffeln", left over from lunch. Could t I ........ warm the Batatas in a frying pan........it doesn’t work without grease. Cut the smoked bacon in cubes and frizzle in the pan, yeh and spice it. Salt is in the bacon anyway, perhaps diced onions? said and done! Soon a delicious aroma is drifting from the kitchen to the Rokoko room of Sanssouci. - The first fried potatoes in the world sends it overwhelming fragrance ahead.
Earl Grassevill-Freissac is downright ecstatically pleased. He wants to see the cook, the recipe he must have and what ever, this is and sidereal hour. Then Friedrich declared short and conclusive: "His name will be from today on "Sir Braatz" and decorated him with a medal.
Seldom can the keep a secret. At the court servants listen at the lunch room door, all of Berlin knows by now the recipe, and a big cloud of fired potatoes aroma is moving through the dwellings.
The potato prices hit a high. Not a single bulb is left at the Brandenburger Markets. "Braatz Kartoffeln" is the talk of the town. The demand increased enormously so that the Purssian Minister of Economics Otto von Lampstedt had to drive to Luebeck to close a deal with the commercial trader Kroeger to secure a great load of eat and seed potatoes.
There was another curiosity to announce: Earl Fraissac dispatched a recipe right away to Versailles, this arrived partly unreadable. There the throw uncooked potato strips in boiling oil and served it just spiced with salt. The potatoes Prussian style where named cynical after Sir Sanssouci "Pommes Fritz", a name we all know.
Sir Braatz was a most desirable man, but he stayed loyal to Prussia, a loyalty which did not pay. 1786 Friedrich the Great died. The new king did not like potatoes, Sir Braatz was overnight dismissed. Embittered and plagued with sickness, the potato recipe master moved back to his Selecian homeland. There he died on an overdose of moonshine grog from potatoes.
Source: Kurzeitung from Bad Waldliesborn, page 24, by Edgar Neutzer, from Münster-Wolbeck, Germany.
Important note: Wolfgang Braatz, the family member who organized the German site of the family, made contact with the author by phone and was told that the whole story is invented!