German word of the day: Reibekuchen

Walking around the German Christmas markets there are lots of potato based foods on offer, but one of the most well-known is the Reibekuchen, a kind of potato pancake often served with Apfelkompott (an apple compote sauce).

German word of the day: Reibekuchen
Photo: Depositphotos
Germany's love affair with potatoes is well known. From Pommes to Kartoffelsalat, potatoes are nearly always part of a German mealtime. Potatoes first arrived in Germany in 1630 from Peru, but it was not until Friedrich the Great's (King of Prussia 1740-1742) reign that they became popular. 
Friedrich the Great believed so deeply in both the economic and nutritious value of potatoes that he even passed the so-called Kartoffelbefehl (potato decree) in 1756 to attempt to educate the rural population as to the benefits of the potato. 
Reibekuchen, also sometimes known as Kartoffelpuffer or Kartoffelpfannkuchen are just one form of potato popular in Germany, but these potato pancakes made from grated potato, onion, eggs and flour are particularly popular at Christmas.
Traditionally, Reibekuchen can be found the whole year round and are sometimes served as part of a sweet dish and sometimes as part of a savoury one. They are similar to Latkes, also a type of potato pancakes eaten by Ashkenazi Jews – or those coming largely from Eastern Europe – every year as part of the 8-night long celebration of Passover. They are also eaten with apple sauce and often also sour cream.
In Bavaria they are often served as an accompaniment to traditional dishes such as Wurst and Sauerkraut, in the Rhineland they are eaten with beetroot, apple compote or jam and in parts of Saarland, the northern Rhineland-Palatinate and in Hesse, Reibekuchen are often served as an accompaniment to a green bean soup.
In Thuringia you might also find them with leeks and smoked meat, and they have even become a popular frozen food, but now the Weihnachtsmarkt has become their home-from-home.
So the next time you head to the Christmas market for a Glühwein, pick up a Reibekuchen to keep your hunger at bay, or maybe you could even try and make some at home using this video as a help:


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This article was produced independently with support from Lingoda.


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German word of the day: Isso

Perhaps you've seen this word on social media and you're not sure what it means. Let us explain...

German word of the day: Isso

Why do I need to know isso?

Because it’s a nice colloquial expression to use if you’re feeling a little lazy since it combines a few words. It was also one of Germany’s favourite youth words back in 2016, although it’s definitely not particularly cool anymore and is used by all ages

What does it mean?

Isso is derived from the statement: ist so (short for es ist so) meaning ‘it’s like this’ or ‘it is so’ in English. When used as a response to someone’s statement, it usually means you completely agree. A good translation is: ‘right on!’, yes, that’s exactly right!’ or ‘it’s true!’.

You can also use the expression yourself to emphasise your thought. In this case you’d add it on at the end of your sentence. You often find isso used on Twitter, when someone is quoting a Tweet.

It can also be used in a more downbeat form accompanied by the shrugging of your shoulders. In this case you’re saying isso, because it can’t be helped, it’s the way it is. 

Use it like this: 

– Wir müssen gegen steigende Mietpreise in Berlin demonstrieren.

– Isso! 

– We have to protest against rising rents in Berlin. 

– That’s exactly right!

Frauen sind die besten Autofahrer, isso!

Women are the best drivers, it’s true.