Practicing German at the Farmers’ Market

Last week I discovered a farmers’ market literally 10 minutes walk from my house and so this week, I went there armed with a shopping list and the aim to do my best at asking for what I want in German as well as asking questions about the produce.

Surprisingly, I did really well.  I really should be beyond this level of German, but it is amazing how often I screw up the ‘easy’ stuff.  I was happy that I could ask for recommendations about which potatoes to buy that are best for mashing and understand everything that was said to me, including all the prices (German numbers confuse my brain because they are said backwards eg three and sixty for 63). I even brought some things I had no plans on buying like this massive loaf of Turkish bread for just €1.

Look how huge it is

and some gorgeous Greek dips (that’s lunch for today and tomorrow).  I was blown away by how cheap everything was.  I think my head still operates on Australian prices especially when buying fresh produce.

Unable to find decent steak at the market and buoyed by my success at speaking German at the market, I decided on the way home to visit a place I had never been to – the butcher’s. It was crowded, but that turned out to be a good thing cause it gave me time to not only look at what meat they had but also to work out the system.  You see, this butcher has a system.  You order the meat you want from the people behind the counter, they put it in a plastic tub marked with a number that is carried away by a conveyor belt, they give you a receipt matching the number of your tub and you pay at the cash register at the end where your meat is delivered.  It is damn confusing if you have never been there before and right before I was served, a guy was yelled at for getting the system wrong.  He tried to order from two different counter people at the same time, which would have messed up the whole ticketing system.  I have to admit I was scared when the lady who had just finished ripping this poor guy a new one turned to serve me.  However, I smiled sweetly, asked in my very best German about what steak was the best and then thank her very sincerely at the end of the whole process.  I even managed to get the barest hint of a smile out of her, which I class as a fantastic success. I also paid a ridiculous €17 for two steaks, so they better be damn good.

The more I go out and practise my German, the more I’m finding that it is not as hard or as scary as I expect it will be and I mentally kick myself for taking so damn long for getting up the courage to do it.  Also, the plus side of getting out there and giving my German a workout this morning is that I have all this lovely fresh food in my house.

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2 thoughts on “Practicing German at the Farmers’ Market

  1. Cool, congrats! So you went to the butcher. It is kind of a ‘special’ place with that ridiculous conveyor belt and the slightly frightening ladies behind the counter. Very cliché German ;)
    When I go to buy meat, I always hope I get served by the new guy, the well rounded young one. He’s from the Philipines originally, I belive. He said once when we were discussing recipies. Ask him for recommendations, he’s good and nice. And the meat is very good there, very tasty. They have their own livestock, somewhere north of Hamburg. A lot of restaurants buy there, famous Hamburg cooks like Tim Mälzer for example. I guess that’s why the prices are a little higher then elsewhere. But I wasn’t disappointed yet.

    • I saw him there. I’ll have to try next time to be served by him. He did look a lot friendlier than the lady who served me. Nice to here that the meat is of really good quality there. I’m looking forward to my steak.

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