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German Sayings + Expressions 25: Cooking Dangerously Posted by on Sep 12, 2019 in Culture, Language, vocabulary

Germans like kochen (to cook). However, sometimes you have to be carefully what, or more aptly, who you cook! And there are Sprichwörter (sayings) and Ausdrücke (expressions) for this in German, of course. Let’s have a look!

For older posts, please follow this link. We’re doing it differently today – we begin with the Ausdruck (expression)!

Jemanden zum Kochen bringen

Christian kocht vor Wut! (“Christian’s boiling from anger!”) (Image by Icons8 team at Unsplash.com)

To bring somebody to a boil

To make somebody’s blood boil

Christian is the Chef (boss) of a Firma (company/firm). And he just heard that his Mitarbeiter (employee) Rosa is reading the Transparent German Language blog AGAIN during Arbeitszeit (working hours)! Unerhört (outrageous)! He calls her desk phone and tells her what he thinks about THAT!

So yeah. Rosa bringt Christian zum kochen (Rosa makes Christian’s blood boil). Very similar to the English equivalent, but instead of just the blood, in German we boil the entire person.

But why do we say that?

There is a theory. When you get very, very angry, you feel hot, your skin turns red, you may even begin to sweat. All things that happen when you bring something to a boil! Some believe that the meaning of this Ausdruck from the 1600s is even more specific, that back in the days it was literally believed that when you got angry, your blood would start boiling. My hunch is that it might even be related to the life juices and bloodletting, which were related to your humor, character and diseases.

Let’s look at how that phone conversation between Rosa and Christian went down:

“Guten Tag, hier spricht Rosa Walterstein. Wie kann ich Ihnen behilflich sein?”

– “Ja, Frau Walterstein, hier ist Christian Pillemann. Sie haben wieder kostbare Arbeitszeit vergeudet und diesen Blog gelesen? Wofür bezahl ich Sie überhaupt?!”

“Ach, das tut mir Leid, Herr Pillemann. Ich dachte, ein wenig Bildung würde meine Fähigkeiten auf der Arbeit zugutekommen.”

– “Sie denken zu viel! Wie stellen Sie sich das vor?! Sie bringen mich zum Kochen! Machen Sie sich schleunigst an die Arbeit, sonst stehen Sie bald vor der Tür!”

(“Hello, this is Rosa Walterstein speaking. How can I help you?”

– “Yes, Ms Walterstein, here is Christian Pillemann. You have wasted precious working hours again and read this blog? What do I even pay you for?!

“Oh, I am sorry, Mr Pillemann. I thought that some education would be good for my skills at work.”

– “You are thinking too much! How do you imagine this?! You’re making my blood boil! Get to work immediately, or you’ll be out the door very soon!”)

Man, Christian really kocht vor Wut (“is boiling from anger” – fuming)! Poor Rosa, she only enjoyed a bit of German language and culture. Who could complain about that?! Rosa’s colleague, the Buchhalter (bookkeeper, accountant) Karsten saw the phone call. He even heard Christian’s screaming on the phone. Rosa is totally aufgeregt (flustered). But Karsten has a nice Sprichtwort up his sleeve to calm her down.

Es wird nichts so heiß gegessen, wie es gekocht wird

Mach dir keine Sorgen, Rosa! Nichts wird so heiß gegessen, wie es gekocht wird. (Don’t worry, Rosa! “Nothing is eaten as hot as it is boiled.”) (Image by Icons8 team at Unsplash.com)

Nothing is eaten as hot as it is boiled

Nothing is as bad as it looks

Mensch, Rosa. Das wird schon, Herr Pillemann ist halt solch ein Hitzkopf. Er droht gerne und wird echt schnell wütend. Weißt du noch als wir erst vor ein paar Wochen einen neuen Drucker im Büro bekommen haben? Als Herr Pillemann es nicht fassen konnte, dass schon wieder die Tinte leer war, hat er aus Wut seinen Kaffee über den alten Drucker geschüttet. Es wird nichts so heiß gegessen, wie es gekocht wird!

(“Oh, Rosa. It will be fine, Mr Pillemann simply is such a hothead. He likes to threaten and really gets angry quickly. Do you remember that we got a new office printer only a few weeks ago? When Mr Pillemann couldn’t believe that the ink was empty again, he poured his coffee over the old printer out of sheer anger. Nothing is as bad as it looks!”)

So. What an interesting Sprichwort. Its meaning is quite clear. Especially when you connect heat and boiling to negative, potentially dangerous emotions like anger. Nothing is as bad as it looks, as what people express is often not exactly what they follow through with.

The Sprichwort dates back to the 1700s, when Germany was ruled by lords and ladies that could give any Befehl (order) – but would it also be followed? Yes, but probably not to the letter, and probably things wouldn’t be as bad as the orders required.

Now, dear reader, it is time to get back to work! Bringe deinen Chef nicht zum kochen! And if you do, somehow, don’t forget: Es wird nichts so heiß gegessen, wie es gekocht wird! What are these in your language? Have you heard them before? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, and I am half Dutch and half German. I was on exchange in the United States, and I really enjoyed that year! So in that sense, I kind of have three nationalities... I love all of them!


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