What It’s Like for an American Expat to Watch “Das Perfekte Dinner” with His German Wife

seared-ahi-das-perfekte-dinner-german-tv
“How do you say, ‘food snob’ in German?” — Image Credit: vmiramontes (https://www.flickr.com/photos/vmiramontes/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic Copyright.

Have you ever seen Das Perfekte Dinner? It’s a German reality TV show — stolen directly from its creators in the UK — in which 4 or 5 people take turns cooking and hosting dinners in their own homes, then rate one another on a point scale from 1 to 10. The person who scores the most total points wins €1,500 euros. My German wife loves this show and watches it almost every day. I used to watch it with her, until I realized I don’t give one dried piece of flying donkey shit about cooking.

Look, I’m from Portland, Oregon — a town full of foodies and hipsters of every flavor — so by all rights I should be all about this sort of culinary snobbery. I’m just not; to me, cooking is but a series of annoying gestures standing between me and the bacon cheeseburger which should already be crammed in my mouth. My wife, however, is a classy European lady. She has great taste in everything, from fashion to food, and absolutely zero tolerance for anything unrefined.

So as we were watching this one episode of Das Perfekte Dinner, she began mocking one of the contestant for having no idea what “seared ahi” was. (Forget the dish itself: this poor fool seemed not to know the difference between tuna fish and a can of spray paint.) My wife rolled her eyes like a stone cold aristocrat, saying:

“It is pearls for the pigs.”

*Translated directly from the German expression, “Perlen vor die Säue werfen.”

If you would like to read another classic Denglish post, check this one out: My German Wife Shops for American Baby Gifts

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17 thoughts

  1. Oh, man. I’m laughing so hard because I love the British (and American remake) Come Dine with Me. I can’t wait to see this when I get there. I won’t understand most of the words, but I can tell a snobby person easily enough. Upturned noses are dead giveaways.

    Also, the only cooking show I’ve seen in German is the one where the contestants cook once a day, for a week I think, and they eventually crown a winner. I watched with my fiance once and I’m so, so ready for the games to begin. I don’t remember the name and the German’s out getting bread from the bakery, and eating it, since it’s 5pm there. But want to see it again. I know the hosts rotate.

    But as the future house cook, I definitely have to tune into these shows so I can understand what words match where when attempting to navigate Lidl, Marktkauf and Aldi.

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    1. “Pearls before swine” and “casting pearls” refer to a quotation from Matthew 7:6 in Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount: “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” (as if pearls would enrage a pig like the color red enrages a bull???)
      I love to use this phrase when someone holds the door for me and says “Age before beauty”. I reply like a stone cold aristocrat: “Pearls before swine”

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      1. >>I love to use this phrase when someone holds the door for me and says “Age before beauty”. I reply like a stone cold aristocrat: “Pearls before swine”<<
        Alternatively: Anything more beautiful than me is wearing make-up.

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  2. There is a phrase in English – to cast pearls before swine. It comes from the Bible, but I only know it exists because there is a comic strip called “Pearls Before Swine” that I used to read when newspapers were still a thing.

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  3. This is a case where in German, the meaning of the expression signifies more in that language…. and I dare say, it likely has a more significant meaning in Latin or Italian than even modern high German.
    My wife and mother in law throw expressions like these out from time to time and it always causes a logic stop in my head…. I’m not a native speaker and I’m always tripped-up looking for an explanation. My wife dated it back to Aristotle (and yes, its a demeaning expression)…” my pearls of wisdom are more than you swine can comprehend.”
    Speech patterns and cultural colloquialisms draw the distinctions between peoples…. always fascinates me…. even tho “Anglo-Saxon” denotes the common ancestor tribes (angles & Saxons) between the modern-day English and modern day Germans (minus the Prussians, Franks and Bavarians)).

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  4. So true. You should see all my German friends complaining because the “tische deco” isn’t fancy enough LOL! I have to say that even though the original show is my very own British “Come Dine with Me,” I have to say that I like the German version better as they take it seriously! What with the sourcing at the farmer’s market, making everything by hand, sipping a glass of something here and there, getting to peek into their lovely homes and apartments which are difficult to see into already, and generally all round German-efficiency-ness. What’s not to like!

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  5. One of my favorite parts of the show is how the guests amuse themselves while the cook is working in the kitchen — they go through the cook’s home and comment on how it’s decorated, or go through their drawers.

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