Last night was one of the best nights I’ve had since moving to Germany. Shame Doriane has decided to leave this morning, really. It started off with a roast dinner – I think the first one I’ve cooked since first year – and was swiftly followed by gin and the phrase “Wo ist der Gin hin?”
We then had a somewhat surreal call and response singing session with a flat in one of the neighbouring blocks. Things started to go decidely downhill when we rang out of songs and decided to sing the Breadfish song at them.
Over breakfast this morning, my long-suffering flatmate decided to try and explain to me the different expressions I should use when applying something to bread. I say apply, because the English word “spread” simply does not cover the various different expressions.
So, the rules are as follows:
Items such as Nutella, Ovalmaltine, and jam are called “Aufstrich”, so naturally I assumed it would be logical to use “aufstreichen”. However I was then told that you can’t say “I streiche my bread auf”. (Well you can, but you’ll sound weird) You say, more bizarrely, “I schmiere my bread”. Schmieren also has the meanings “to grease or lubricate”.
So this morning I learnt what the Germans do with their bread: lubricate it.
For the record, if you use anstreichen, you’re painting a wall. Not your bread.
But you must be careful, because you can also schmier a person in the sense of “to bribe”.
So make sure you only schmier your bread.
And then I found the word “beschmieren”, which apparently means the same thing, but whilst you can beschmier a wall, you can’t simply schmier it. But only use beschmieren when it’s verunstaltet or ugly.
Oh, and then there are certain salads which you can also schmier on your bread, even though you have to use a spoon.
For what is thought to be such a logical language, German really isn’t making much sense right now.
Anyway, back to breakfast. Sliced meats are then referred to as Aufschnitt. This is unschmierbar unless it is Leberwurst oder Teewurst, in which case it’s streichbar. For Aufschnitt you don’t really have a verb. Spoilsports.
Then there’s Schmierkäse, which is the same as fresh cheese. Which I’ve just been told can also be eaten with jam. Jam. Schmelzkäse also exists, as does Rotschmierkäse, which translates as the delightful “red smear cheese”.
Then there’s bread. Here in Bayern, everything is a Semmel.
Go north and say that and you’ll immediately stand out. Brötchen is probably the best one to go for.
All I wanted was marmite on toast for breakfast.