Monday, January 16, 2012

Mix-up Monday - Hand towels

We thought we would add a new element to this blog. It is not like we do not have enough recipes to share, we cook 2-3 times everyday and are always trying something new, but part of what works/is funny/is interesting about our relationship is the idea of two cultures and backgrounds living together and learning new things daily.
He grew up in Germany and other than a recent month in America has never been to the USA. She grew up in the USA and even though she studied German and has lived in Germany for a few years, she is still finding weird and strange things about the country. This, as one would guess, leads to some pretty small and pretty big misunderstandings, mix-ups, and all around confusions between him and her or between her and the culture.

We thought we would share one of these mix-ups every Monday as a way to break up the pure recipe part of the blog. We hope that you might learn something, or at least be able to laugh along with us, as we try to figure out this whole melding two cultures thing.

This mix-up just happened this weekend. It isn't anything giant, but it shows how the smallest things can turn into cultural differences. 

Hand towels:

The hand towels
In Germany, it seems to be quiet common for there to be two bars next to the sink for hand towels. On these two bars are two separate towels. He always has two matching hand towels which he puts on these bars. When he first did this she did complain about having two out (twice the washing she said! - even if he washes very often ;P) and that the hand towels couldn't even be hand towels because they are so large, but he just gave her some non-answer about how those are the hand towels and that was that. After time she would even put two out when she put the towels in the bathroom just because that was how it always was.

This weekend, after a long time of using two towels in the bathroom he asked her why the hand towels never dry out. They never dry out? She had no idea what he meant. Of course they are not always perfectly dry if they are getting used multiple times each day.

But he continued, they are both always wet. It doesn't make sense!

Turns out, she was the "wet hand towel" culprit. Apparently, her American background did not teach her how to properly use German hand towels.
An American hand towel (

If you are an American reading this, then you probably think of hand towels in the same way she does. About twice the size of a wash cloth and only one, hanging near the sink. You wash your hands, dry them, the towel gets damp but quickly dries because it is small and out in the open (not stuffed down near the sink).

Her method

 So, knowing only hand towels such as these American ones, how does she dry her hands? Who cares if there are two towels! They are so close together just use them as one. One wet hand goes on one, the other on the second towel, rub dry and ta-da. Dry hands!

The proper method

This is not proper hand towel use in Germany, she found out. You must use one towel to dry your hands, the next time if the towel on the left is still damp you may use the dry towel on the right. This then goes back and forth so that you must never dry your hands on a damp towel (oh those Germans think of everything!)

Now, he knows why the outside of both towels is always damp and she must learn to use proper hand towel ettiqute. Oh the lessons to learn!

Well, that is the first of our mix-up Mondays. Believe us, hand towels are only the beginning!

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