There’s a phrase in German used among common work friends around lunch time.  I’m told it’s valid from about 11 AM to 1 PM, and it relates to the mid-day meal.  Literally, “mahlzeit” means meal, but it’s used as a greeting, a statement, sometimes a question (or so it seems to me), and as a farewell. 

So a typical exchange might go something like this:

{Walking out of the building at 12:00, you see some colleagues}


“Mahlzeit!”  “Mahlzeit.”  “Mahlzeit!”

On your way to the cafeteria (kantine), you pass colleagues coming from lunch.


“Mahlzeit.”  “Mahlzeit.”  “Mahlzeit!”

Then you eat lunch, and the cash register attendant tells you “Malzheit,” when you pay.  Then you walk back to the office, and you pass others coming to lunch…you get the idea.  You end up just mahlzeitin’ everybody, which is OK.  It’s an older term though, so the youngest employees may not mahlzeit you back, but working in an office long enough they will give in and mahlzeit with the best of them.

Voith has a company cafeteria in HDH, something that I will certainly miss when I am back in York (cafeteria-less).  It’s called the kantine :

(Voith's image)

They offer a variety (sort of, mostly pork) of meals each day, and the menu changes daily.  It’s pretty inexpensive, and you put money on your employee badge, so it’s easy and quick to get your food and swipe your badge at the register. 

The food is good, and is typical German fare, unless it’s a theme week/day (during the World Cup, they had food from different nations playing on different days, and at the end they had squid several times…).

Today was burger day, which happens, I’m told, only twice a year.  So the guys at work were very excited to take me along and see what I thought of this very American meal.

It was good!  Had all the fixings, and had fries as well.  Given it was a cold day, they should have had a cup of coffee available (hot days = milkshake) but alas I had to make do with the orangensaft.  

I noticed several others eating it with a knife and fork, but I tried to show them culturally how we do it with our hands.

Can’t wait until the next burger day!

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by DadL on August 1, 2010 at 3:56 am

    Looks like a lot of bun and a little meat…”Where’s the beef!!??”


  2. Posted by Jim R on August 8, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Seconded. However, having eaten wee Italian hamburgers, this looks about right.


  3. No no, the burger completely fills the bun. Perhaps the small drink is misleading, and the large plate – it was a healthy size!


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