A woman enjoying typical German ‘Vollkornbrot’ in Karlsruhe. Photo: DPA
Are you becoming a German? Check the list of eight German food habits to see where you stand.
Eating an egg for breakfast
Hard boiled eggs accompanied by a ‘Salznäpfchen’ (salt cup)
You would think the saying would be “an egg a day keeps the doctor away” since so many Germans live that way.
Either squished onto your bread or spooned out of an “Eierbecher” (egg cup), eating a “gekochtest Ei” (a boiled egg), or “Kochei” as I call it, every morning is a very common thing.
Naturally, you eat it with a little salt, possible taken from a “Salznäpfchen” (salt cup). Many people even call it a “Frühstücksei” (breakfast egg).
If it is not during the week, then it is definitely enjoyed on the weekends during a stress-free breakfast.
Bringing your own lunch
A “Brotbox” with typically hearty bread. Photo: DPA
Everyone needs a lunch break.
Some people enjoy going out for lunch during their break, but many do not have the time to grab a bite to eat, or they simply don’t want to spend money on a rushed lunch break.
So they bring their own lunch.
The typical German lunch is a “Stulle” (sandwich), brought in your “Brotbox” (breadbox), and then eaten at the desk.
Typically, you would eat “Graubrot” (grey bread) or “Körnerbrot” (grain bread) with butter and cheese for example – not like an American sandwich with white bread and mayonnaise.
My lunch always consisted of a “Stulle” which we also referred to as my “Schulbrot” (school bread).
Coffee and cake at 4 pm
Cake and coffee time. Photo: DPA
Either at home or in a cafe, this is probably the most common German food habit.
It might be slightly outdated for the younger generation, and instead something which your grandparents were accustomed to, but it is not only an “old lady” thing. I personally love and practice this habit.
Simply meeting up for coffee to talk and possibly to enjoy a little gossip is called a “Kaffeeklatsch”.
When me and my family arrive home around 4pm after school, university or work we always have “Kaffee und Kuchen” (coffee and cake). We’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember.
We would usually buy cake at a bakery like Thoben, for example, or eat chocolate and cookies that we bought at the supermarket.
“Kaffee and Kuchen” does not mean that it has to be fancy confectionery cake or torte. Germans also love their “Gebäck” (pastries) which is often referred to as “Teilchen” (pastries). They are just as great for coffee and cake time.
On weekends we would often also eat homemade cake and invite my grandparents or our friends to join us.
Nowadays, even when I am home alone, I still eat sweets in the afternoon.
Eating bread, as long as it’s not white
Tasty German bread. Photo: DPA
Germans love their bread. And for a good reason: it has substance!
Whether homemade or bought in a bakery, most households always have bread at home.
Homemade bread is also very common in many homes. And there is nothing better than coming home to the smell of freshly baked bread.
Typical German bread is usually not white but dark, and often contains grains and herbs which make it healthier and more satiating than white bread.
Going to IKEA just to eat
Ikea advertising their Swedish breakfast, Photo DPA
Whenever I go to Ikea, the best part of it is eating lunch there. The “Köttbullar” (Swedish meatballs) are to die for!
It has even gone so far as that many people only visit Ikea to eat breakfast and particularly lunch.
This holds especially true nowadays, amid an extended food offering. They not only serve breakfast, lunch, snacks, cake, and dinner but they also serve foods that please every taste and also vegetarian and vegan options. They also sell their products in a shop (even as frozen foods)!
Don’t be afraid of Hackepeter
Hannover butcher shop selling fresh Hackepeter. Photo: DPA
Many non-Germans are suspicious of “Hackepeter”, also called “Mett”, which refers to raw minced meat (usually pork).
But don’t be afraid, it’s perfectly safe to eat.
The best way to enjoy it, in my opinion, is topped with chopped onion, salt and pepper and served on a “Schrippe” (white role).
You can buy it in any supermarket in either their fresh meat selection or already packaged in the refrigerated shelf.
Drink Tee 24/7
German tea brand “Teekanne”, Photo DPA
Apart from coffee, of course, Germans need their tea.
It can be drunk in the morning, in the evening or at night.
You can tell that Germans love tea because there are dozens of varieties to choose from! The cheapest teas even sell for around a euro, but you can of course purchase several brands for quite a lot more.
Germans also have many unique varieties of tea for every mood, and every moment. It not only tastes great but is also good for your health.
Do you have a cough? Then drink “Husten- und Bronchialtee” (Cough- and bronchial tee). Coming down with a flu? Then there’s Erkältungstee (cold tea). Are you tired? Then have a cup of “Muntermacher” (cheer-up/pick-me-up tea).
All in all, tea is good for every occasion.
Bring snacks on your birthday
German Schwarz-Weiß-Gebäck. Photo: DPA
In Germany, it is customary to bring snacks to work for everyone on your birthday.
Usually, you bring store bought chocolate, pralines or cookies. If you’re really a great (and generous) person, you will even bring homemade cake.
I have no idea how this originated. All I know is that it is another occasion to eat cake, and that’s fine by me.