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13 German idioms about food and cooking

September 29, 2021

German is rich in idioms revolving around food and cooking. Learn some of them to impress your friends while also whetting your appetite in the process!

Two cooks testing food during a cooking competition
Image: picture-alliance

Food and food preparation has to be one of the most inspired and inspiring things on the planet. So, it's no wonder that it's also made its mark in language. As hard and dry as the German language may sound at times, it's also profoundly poetic, as literary greats such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Rainer Maria Rilkeand Else Lasker-Schüler, to name just a few, have shown.

Even leafing through a cookbook can show you just how flowery language about food and cuisine can be. The German language has a plethora of expressions involving the culinary. One personal favorite: "Liebe geht durch den Magen," which literally means "love goes through the stomach." It implies that food and love go hand-in-hand, that you can win someone over or express your love through a meal you prepare for someone. It means sharing and intensifying love and life by cooking and eating together. And, in the best of times, both eating and loving translate into happy feelings.

Maybe that's why, on the flipside, in English, we say "love sick" — that unhappy or unrequited love makes us sick to our stomachs. But let's hope things don't lead down that path!

Click through the gallery to learn some of the more common German culinary expressions, and practice them while sharing a meal with your loved ones!

Asparagus: An ode to Germany's favorite vegetable

'Meat' the Germans

You'll find more from Meet the Germans on YouTube or at dw.com/MeettheGermans, and check out theYouTube channel DW Food to discover all kinds of culinary trends and easy recipes.  


DW Editor and reporter Louisa Schaefer smiling into the camera.
Louisa Schaefer Culture editor and reporter based in Cologne/Bonn, originally from the US