German Word of the Week: Schnibbelschinken


I’m a farmer’s market kind of guy, and Germany’s a farmer’s market kind of place. So yesterday I visited the farmer’s market (g) at the Friedensplätzchen (“Little Peace Square”) in Unterbilk. I came home laden with farmer’s cheese, a swiss roast, vegetables, eggs in crinkly shells, and ham, Schinken in German.

Special ham this time. I was in the mood for what Americans call a loose-meat sandwich. So I needed me some loose meat, if you know what I mean. And I found some, at one of trucks run by super-friendly Meat Women™. It was a silver bowl full of tasty-looking ham scraps. I asked her what it was called, and she said: “Schnibbelschinken!” She was obviously delighted by the word. So was I. Schnibbelschinken, we repeated over and over, savoring every clown-like syllable.

Schnibbeln is one word for “whittle” in German, so Schnibbelschinken is meat “whittled away” during processing. It’s not bad meat, it’s just odd meat. Apparently it’s also called Schnippelschinken. There is probably some regional reason for this variation which I’m not aware of, but someone will surely jump into comments with it. Little help?

3 thoughts on “German Word of the Week: Schnibbelschinken

  1. I’ve heard “Schnibbeln”, but in my view “Schnippeln” is more used. Also far more Google results. Both variants could be a “northern half of Germany” thing, but I’m not sure about it.

    I’ve never heard “Schnibbelschinken”, or something similar. But I know “Schnippelbohnen, green beans with the ends cut away, already.

    There is also “Schnipseln”. And small, cut pieces, especially paper, are often called “Schnipsel”.

    In southern Germany, and below, “Schnetzeln” is used. “Geschnetzeltes”, like in “Zürcher Geschnetzeltes”.

    And don’t forget what German native speakers of all nationalities will order the same way: the “Schnitzel”.


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