German Home Comforts
There may come a point in the not so distant future, when the singularity has occurred, humanity is defunct and the world is subject to the whims of grey indistinguishable robots, that the idea of variety will simply be remembered as a strange human peculiarity. Until that terrifying day arrives, people will always enjoy trying to be slightly different from each other. The irony of course is that more often than not, in our attempt to be different we simply end up being sort of the same. Sometimes this comes down to taste, but it is also true that culture has a large part in determining certain decisions. For instance, if I were to walk into the average British home I could safely assume that in the cupboard I will find HP sauce. There are no guarantees of course, but I would be willing to bet most people have one, even people who don’t like it. In the same way, there are certain things that every German home contains. One of these things is not the hallowed “toilet with a shelf” that non-Germans routinely agree can be found in German homes. Despite popular belief, not every German is terribly concerned with observing their bowel movements in detail. However, there are a number of less obvious items that will always be found in a house in Germany.
Few people know about this outside of Germany, but all the water that comes out of the taps here is near toxic. Sure you can wash in it, but most Germans would rather die of dehydration than suffer the indignity of drinking from a tap. That is all I can surmise from the German obsession with bottled water. When I lived in Britain, the only people who drank bottled water were either fancy dan southerners with fashionable hair, health nuts or students who had drunk their body weight in cheap booze. Here everyone appears to be drinking from a variety of different bottled waters, which come in three different levels of carbonation. To be seen drinking from the tap in Germany is basically the same as being caught lapping water from the toilet bowl, an act so degrading people will casually question you morality and sanity for doing it. People often wonder why Germany doesn’t suffer from serious levels of obesity and wrongly believe it is because Germans live healthier and exercise more. This is entirely inaccurate. Actually Germans stay so lean because they spend one night a week carrying litres and litres of bottled water from the supermarket to their cars and then from their cars to their homes. It really is quite a workout.
Why can't we share?
Germans are great at many things; football, economics, beer production, the list is practically endless. What Germans are profoundly bad at is sharing. Germans are often accused of being cold and emotionless, this is certainly true when it comes to sleep. Most German bedrooms, especially ones that are shared, will contain a double bed. However, like a clichéd plot in a 70s sitcom, everything is cut in half. The bed, although in one frame, is actually two separate mattresses. Even stranger, the duvet is also seperated. This obviously avoids any arguments over stealing the sheets but can lead to a belief that you are an emotionless robot. A well rested robot, but a robot nonetheless.
The duvet may be in two pieces, but in Germany, the pillows come in extra large. Although German hotels my conform to the typical pillow size, enter a German home and you will find many sizes of pillow accompanying your half of duvet. The main problem of having a pillow this large is that you have to become an origami expert to get a good nights sleep.
An Abundance of Glasses
In most countries, people will usually go and buy glassware when it is required. Here in Germany, all we need to do is buy jars of mustard and then wait. You see, there is a particularly popular mustard brand that once finished, provides the customer with a handy glass tumbler. This also means that should you ever get the chance to root through a Germans kitchen cupboards, you are 99% certain to come across a vast collection of these glasses. This is no surprise when you consider how many sausages the average German family get through in a month.
The Secret Ingredient
Cooking is a complex business, most complex of all is ensuring that you get the right combination of herbs and spices. Some might learn through a process of trial and error, which combination of ingredients will produce the exact level of flavour required for any meal. Germany used to do that and then it decided that was an entirely pointless waste of time and energy. In the interest of efficiency, Germans will casually pile spoonful after spoonful of soup mixture into any meal, therefore guaranteeing that the sauce is the right consistency and correctly flavoured. In the UK, we might just throw a stock cube at most things and pray everything works out. This is essentially the same principle in Germany, except that they have a wider range of secret ingredients.