muscle cat’s and ear worm’s smiling tummies

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We all use thousands of words every day. According to dailymail.co.uk women use approx. 20,000..13,000 more than men. Honestly, I don’t know how much truth lies in that. I think that it all depends on the person’s character, but those numbers are only averages; with exceptions of course. I guess bloggers ruin the statistics, if written words are included 😉 In any case, we use many words and phrases every day, depending on mood, social situation, incidents happening. When we are sad, we are using less. When we are happy and around our friends, the amount of words reaches its peak. In most cases though, we use words without thinking about them. Our brain just delivers whatever we learned, neatly put into more or less grammatically correct sentences, describing feelings, reactions, opinions, questions, and answers. From time to time we learn a new expression, as languages develop and new people bring in new lessons. Most of us know more than one language and playing with them can be a lot of fun. I love being around people who know the same languages I speak. There are some things that one language simply brings it to the point, while others just talk around it. Polish, for example, uses some phrases that I can only use with people speaking Polish, but I would like to use it more often. If something is really annoying or repeats itself and you find yourself helpless and annoyed, Polish people would say something like ” arms are falling off”. It’s hard to describe when this can be used, but I hope you get the picture. Do you sometimes find yourself just giving up and just letting your arms hanging down, implying that you can’t take it anymore? Yes, that is when “arms are falling off”. German somehow doesn’t really provide many “to the point” phrases, but fun words, which I like to use even in other languages. Ever heard about “earworms”? Are you sometimes singing a song in your head that you can’t get rid off? Well, the diagnosis is: you have an earworm. No worries, it will disappear eventually, just be patient. It’s the only cure for this one (UPDATE: I just read “Reader’s Digest” and was surprised to find that earworm is actually a word found in the English vocabulary…at least the author of the article, which describes how they occur and how you can get rid of them, used this word. Nice!). Another word I like is “Muskelkater” – “muscle cat”. It is just muscle ache really, but isn’t muscle cat much cuter? I rather use that word than the right one. Now that I think of it, it seems like Germans like to describe things with animals 😉 I guess we like animals 😀 Maybe it makes things less painful when it has a cute name… like “Kater” (male cat) for “hangover”.

Sometimes I find myself thinking about how certain expressions developed. With one of these, I am stuck since 15 years or so. One summer, when my family and I went to Poland, my siblings and I were visiting friends. We sat together chatting, when one of them started to talk about a girl who recently died. What I remember is that she was killed; how, I can’t recall, but that is not important anyway. When my friend mentioned the fact that this girl has been killed, I started to think about the way Polish uses words to describe an incident like this (I know.. sounds like very inappropriate, thinking about stuff like this at that moment). My friends said: “Zostala zabita”, which means something like “remained killed”. They use the word “remained” in other phrases as well and I can’t help wondering. Of course this person “remained” in that state. Why do they have to emphasize it? It might be strange to mention something like this here, but like I said, it is stuck in my head. When we use a language every day, we don’t realize when things sound weird, funny, or don’t really make sense.  I am not as familiar with the Polish language as a person who lives in Poland, which, I guess, makes me more sensitive to phrases I don’t know. The combination of words that are familiar to create a phrase is a learning process in another language and sometimes we come across things that seem strange to us.

Even in our own languages we use every day, we might come across things that we are not familiar with. Due to dialects and the natural development of languages, we can learn every day, even in the most unexpected places. One day, I was browsing through chefkoch.de and found these really nice looking sweet rolls named “Buchteln”. My first thought: “What a cute name”. It made me smile 🙂 Some words just do, right? It sounds so funny and they looked delicious too. I haven’t heard about them before, but pretty soon learned that they are a very known traditional treat in south Germany. When I made them for the first time and the kitchen filled with the cinnamon sugar smell, I knew, that won’t be the last time. When I took them out and tried them for the first time, little hearts were flying around my stomach. I LOVE THEM!! Not only the word makes my face smile, but the taste also makes my tummy smile. And that is why I want to share them with you guys and because I am in the US and of course made them here as well, I will post it with the US measurements as well:

Buchteln:

(www.chefkoch.de/rezepte/242481097824439/Kaernter-Buchteln-mit-Pflaumenmus.html)

500 g flour (4 1/8 cup)

1 package yeast

60 g sugar (1/3 cup)

a little salt (maybe 1 tsp)

75 g butter (1/3 cup)

1 package vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

250 ml milk (1 1/16 cup)

1 egg

plum butter or other flavor (plum butter is traditional, but you can use strawberry or cherry jam or any other flavor)

butter or milk to brush onto the surface

cinnamon sugar

1. mix flour and yeast in a bowl

2. add sugar, vanilla sugar and salt

3. melt butter

4. warm milk

5. mix the warm butter, milk and the egg in a small bowl

6. add the fluid warm ingredients to the dry ingredients and knead the dough until it doesn’t stick to the bowl

7. in a warm place let rise approx. 45 min

8. when the dough doubled, form 18-20 little dough balls or roll the dough out and cut out circles (I use the first method, ’cause it’s faster. The second method gives you equally sized rolls.. it’s up to you)

9. if you have used the first method flatten the balls in the palm of your hand and place one tsp of plum butter in the middle. Cover the plum butter entirely with the dough to create balls

10. place the dough balls in a pan (round or square) and let rise another 30 minutes

11. brush milk or melted butter onto the rolls and sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top

12. bake for 20-25 minutes at 200°C / 392°F

13. enjoy the smell

14. enjoy the taste

All the Buchteln I ever made didn’t last very long.. they remained eaten! 😉

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