German Lesson: der Sauerampfer

Many years ago, my best Korean friend, Heajin, showed me all the edible greens around here in Oberursel. While taking walks, she pointed to this ‘weed’ and that ‘weed’ and how to prepare it, how expensive herbs like these are in Korea, and much more. Unfortunately, I did not take notes, and I had no camera of my own.

Back then, about 20 years ago, all that edible weed sounded almost too wild for me to give it a try. Here we are now – going back to nature, and away from processed foods.

The only weed I remember eating as a child is Sauerampfer (sorrel), which grows by the wayside in abundance. The young leaves taste the best.

Sauerampfer

Sauerampfer

I will give this plant another try by preparing it the Korean way (Korean pancake: pajeon 파전)

 

German Term for the Day: die Katzenwäsche

Cats regularly clean themselves throughout the day. Right now, we are in the middle of a drought (die Dürre), and need to preserve water. Hence, live more like a cat.

Katzenwäsche

Besides the daily shower, I had taken extra ones throughout the day, but the City of Oberursel sent out a notification to ask us to preserve water for the coming days/weeks.

This means, I still get to take my daily shower, but during the other times of the day, I have to contend with a Katzenwäsche.

Definition: kurzes, oberflächliches Waschen (a short and perfunctory washing of the body)

Beispiel: Ich bin spät dran für die Arbeit. Ich habe keine Zeit für eine Dusche. Ich mache eine schnelle Katzenwäsche.

German Ice Cream Dish: das Spaghettieis

With sunny weather approaching, you might want to treat yourself and your child/children to one of Germany’s most popular desserts: Spagetthieis  [ʃpaˈɡɛtiˌaɪs]

Do it yourself: Pile some whipped cream onto a plate. Squeeze vanilla ice cream through a Spaetzle Press, completely covering the whipped cream. Then top with your favorite strawberry dessert sauce.
Add coconut flakes, blanched slivered almonds, or white chocolate shavings to simulate Parmesan cheese.
Almost every ice-cream parlor (Eiscafé) serves this. Guten Appetit!

List of German Wedding Anniversaries and Their Symbols

A couple of years ago, we celebrated our 25-year anniversary, a.k.a. silver wedding anniversary. In the Holy Roman Empire, a husband would crown his wife with a silver wreath on their twenty-fifth anniversary, hence the silver.

In Germany, we have the following symbols assigned to each anniversary.

The Wedding Anniversary Guide
  • 1st Anniversary: Paper
  • 2nd Anniversary: Cotton
  • 3rd Anniversary: Leather
  • 4th Anniversary: Silk
  • 5th Anniversary: Wood
  • 6th Anniversary: Sugar
  • 7th Anniversary: Copper
  • 8th Anniversary: Tin
  • 9th Anniversary: Ceramics
  • 10th Anniversary: Rose

 

  • 11th Anniversary: Steel
  • 12th Anniversary: Nickel
  • 12 1/2 Anniversary: Parsley
  • 13th Anniversary: Violet
  • 14th Anniversary: Ivory
  • 15th Anniversary: Crystal
  • 16th Anniversary: Sapphire
  • 17th Anniversary: Orchid
  • 18th Anniversary: Turquoise
  • 19th Anniversary: Abalone
  • 20th Anniversary: Porcelain

 

  • 21st Anniversary: Opal
  • 22nd Anniversary: Bronze
  • 23rd Anniversary: Titan
  • 24th Anniversary: Satin
  • 25th Anniversary: Silver
  • 26th Anniversary: Jade
  • 27th Anniversary: Mahogany
  • 28th Anniversary: Carnation
  • 29th Anniversary: Velvet
  • 30th Anniversary: Pearl

 

  • 31st Anniversary: Basswood
  • 32nd Anniversary: Soap
  • 33rd Anniversary: Pewter
  • 34th Anniversary: Amber
  • 35th Anniversary: Canvas
  • 36th Anniversary: Emerald
  • 37th Anniversary: Machalit
  • 37 1/2 Anniversary: Aluminum
  • 38th Anniversary: Fire
  • 39th Anniversary: Sun
  • 40th Anniversary: Ruby

This coming September, we will celebrate our Carnation Wedding Anniversary. The carnation flower in itself has a slightly morbid association in Germany – they often serve  as funeral flowers.

White carnations symbolize not eternal fidelity, but they also represent the nails used at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Fortunately, its German counterpart ‘Nelke’ not only means carnation, but also clove (as in Gewürznelke).

 

German Terms of the Day: die Steuern und Abgaben

Newcomers often mention Germany’s high prices when it comes to labor costs and products. One one hand, some employees enjoy good benefits, and let’s not forget the many kinds of taxes employers in Germany have to pay.

Let’s take a pub owner and the list of applicable taxes and shares he has to pay:

  • Schankerlaubnis (public entertainment license), Getränkesteuer (alcoholic beverage tax), Vergnügungssteuer (entertainment tax), Mehrwertsteuer (value-added tax or VAT), Einkommenssteuer (income tax), Vermögenssteuer (property tax/personal tax), Grundvermögenssteuer (immovable property tax), Gewerbekapitalsteuer (trade capital tax), Gewerbeertragssteuer (tax on profits), Lohnsteuer (payroll tax), Lohnnebenkosten (nonwage labor costs), Hundesteuer (dog license fee), Kapitalertragssteuer (capital returns tax);

 

  • Add the employer’s obligatory share of his employees’ Krankenversicherung (health insurance), Pflegeversicherung (long term care insurance), Berufsgenossenschaft (employers’ liability insurance coverage), Familienausgleichskasse (family compensation fund), Invalidenversicherung (disability insurance), Angestelltenversicherung (employees’ insurance), Arbeitslosenversicherung (unemployment insurance), Lebensversicherung (life insurance);

 

  • Feuerversicherung (fire insurance), Einbruchsversicherung (burglary insurance), Unfallversicherung (accident insurance), Haftpflichtversicherung (liability insurance), Solidaritätszuschlag (solidarity tax), Rechtsschutzversicherung (legal protection insurance), Industrie-und Handelskammer (chamber of industry and commerce);

 

  • The owner also has to pay his monthly expenses for Gas (gas heating),  Wasser (water), Elektrizität (electricity), Heizung (heating), Müllabfuhr (garbage collection), Schornsteinfeger (chimney sweep), Telefon (phone charges), Zeitungen (newspaper subscriptions), Zeitschriften (magazines), Radio- und Fernsehengebühren (quarterly payment for radio and television licensing fees), Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte or GEMA (performing rights society), etc.

I had read somewhere that a village pub about 30kms north of here had to close its doors. Paying a monthly fee of euro 700, so his guests could watch sport shows, was no longer feasible.

If you have a dog, you also have to pay the Hundesteuer (dog license fee).

I believe we all should pay our tax with a smile. 

I tried, but they wanted cash.

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