Chicken Fried Steak is American poor food. It was originally made to make tougher cuts of beef like Flank or Round cuts more palatable.
Take a Flank Steak, and grill it, and you've got something pretty close to shoe leather. (Unless, of course, you marinate it, grill it, and slice it very thin diagonally against the grain. But then you've got London Broil, and that's a different show).
But take a Flank steak, beat it senseless so that it's thin (Perhaps 1/4". That's 6.35mm for you non americans. 3.15657e-05 furlongs for those of you who are clinically insane.) and the fibers are broken and spread out, dredge it in some flour, an egg wash, then the breading mixture of choice (I prefer finely ground baguette style crumbs, but ground saltine cracker meal is traditional.) and then pan fry in the fat of your choice (Lard is traditional, but Canola oil will keep you from dying). Drain the oil, leaving the bits, and deglazing the pan with milk, butter and a flour slurry to thicken, salt and black pepper to taste (I prefer white pepper and kosher salt.) making a lovely white milk gravy.
Serve over roughly mashed potatoes and cover the whole thing with gravy. Of course, this is all better if you have BISCUITS, but I can't imagine dunking a tim tam in gravy. :)
This makes the beef much less tough. While not juicy and succulent by any means, you can actually get your teeth through it without dislocating your jaw.
(And, by the way, when prepared right, is damn delicious)
Wienerschnitzel, on the other hand, didn't arise out of financial necessity, but out of culinary ease. Veal is tricky stuff due to the juvenile fiber structure of the meat, and it can be difficult to cook evenly (Though not impossible. You can braise veal very nicely, but you don't see alot of inch thick veal steaks on the grill, I'd wager).
So by pounding the veal thin and doing the above technique (Though I'll admit, I'm not sure of the preferred breading substance) you have something that IS still tender and succulent, and cooked evenly all the way through.
(And, by the way, it's delicious too, for different reasons.)
Cincinnati, my home town, was a german immigrant stronghold early in the 20th century, and there's still a great deal of excellent german restaurants.
For the record, I may be a geek by trade, but I'm a foodie at heart. If I could make what I do in my tech job by cooking for a living, I'd be gone in a heartbeat. :)
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