Civic vegetables

These days I rarely catch sight of an English menu in a German restaurant. We’ve been living here so long, that the waiter normally doesn’t spot us as foreigners – at least until we’re actually ready to order.

But this weekend, we had visitors from England, so when the waiter offered an English language menu we were happy to accept.

This was when the problems started.

“What’s a civic vegetable?” Asked Christine.

“A what?”  I wondered whether our local town hall had started growing cabbages in its municipal flowerbeds.

“It says Civic Vegetable. You can have it with a sausage or a pork chop apparently. But what it it? Some sort of urban carrot?”

As ever with strange translations, I had to work this one out by translating backwards. Eventually I came to the conclusion that they meant something like “gutbürgerlich” … so plain, hearty fare. Probably Grünkohl (curly kale).

And so it turned out. The civic vegetable was a kale and potato hotpot and the “fried pork chop” was actually Kassler… so actually gammon steak.

I think I’ll stick with the German menu next time…  restaurant English is far too tricky!


Filed under About Germany, food, German language, Life in Germany

12 responses to “Civic vegetables

  1. Chris V

    Wow – it’s quite a novelty to have vegetables at all on a German menu, let alone civic ones….

  2. Still struggle with the German menu’s I always order what I know. It’s boring but I like what I like. I have been doing my German homework with the help of Google translate and it has been wrong on many occasions.

  3. Please give them my e-mail address and tell them we do reasonable translation rates!

  4. Seems like the Germans do “pickeld cabbage and mashed potatoes” with everything.

    Ah well, probably healthier than chips….

    It would be interesting to understand the Spanish translations, too. I wonder if they are as “civic?”

  5. I agree – I always ask to have the German menus. Even on well-translated English menus, there are often weird little mistakes that completely confuse me, and the way they describe German dishes that don’t have English names is variable and misleading!

  6. First thing I learned was how to order in German. I gained 25 pounds in 6 months after doing that! LOL!

  7. It’s often the same here in France – the English ‘translations’ have us in stitches. I often ask for the English menu JUST to see the translations!

  8. I assume that our translations into French, German, … are equally sidesplitting. Howveer for me, nothing beats some of the Asian translations into English.

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