Day 4: Feinschmecker

Word of the Day:



German. gourmet.

Fair warning: I had a long day at work yesterday, and this is highly unlikely to be in any way coherent.  I’m sorry in advance.

The feinschmecker was displeased.  (Please note that, despite his tendency to harass me about the quality of my masterful food, I am not, in fact, insulting this particular patron.  It just sounds like it to people who are not German, and therefore unused to everything sounding insulting, even—especially—when it’s not.)

According to him, my soup—a perfected version of my grandmother’s long-cherished recipe—was “bland,” needed more vinegar and less garlic, and lacked “pizzazz.”  I informed him, coldly, that he was in a German restaurant, where we strongly disapproved of “pizzazz” and any word that has four z’s, and that he had no experience with borscht from which to judge me.  He raised a single imperious, upper-middle-class, American eyebrow and told me that everyone in his family except his wife and parents were born in Germany or Austria; that he had tasted ten versions of German borscht and come up with an additional five; that he had the American right to say whatever he wanted (and the American inclination to use as many z’s as possible in a single word); and that he was a borscht connoisseur.

He marched to the door, opened it, triumphantly announced, “Zenzizenzizenzic!,” and stalked away.

I retreated to the kitchen and, furtively, added more vinegar.  (The borscht was already masterful, but the extra vinegar made it glorious.)

Again, forgive the very tired writer.

“Zenzizenzizenzic” is an obsolete mathematical term meaning a number to the eighth power (originally defined as representing “the square of squares squaredly” according to Wikipedia); it now exists merely as the English word with the most z’s.  It is also incredibly fun to say.

Good night,

Cara Kennaway


5 thoughts on “Day 4: Feinschmecker

  1. Ha. Fun. The very tired writer is forgiven. The very tired writer also gets points for coming up with a way to work this word smoothly into a mini-story.

  2. “You know, these store-bought Reese’s cups are really nowhere *near* as good as the ones you can buy right at the factory. Which, I imagine, is why the ones at the factory are so much more expensive,” he says, crumpling up his wrapper and tossing it at the trash can across the room. He misses.

    “Huh. I never took you for a feinschmecker,” I reply.

    “You never took me for a *what*?”

    I say nothing, merely smiling at the afternoon sunlight streaming in through the window. “When have you been to the Reese’s factory?” I ask instead. “I didn’t even know there was such a place.”

    “What, did you think the candy just magically appeared on store shelves?” he returns, elbowing me playfully. As if I would dignify that with a response. “It was the Hershey’s plant, actually, and it was when I was just a kid. Years ago. But I’m not likely to forget the peanut butter cups we got there. They were amazing.”

    I laugh, and then we sit in silence for a little while, enjoying the quiet and the sunlight and one another’s company. These are my favorite moments, I think. The moments of stillness, when we’re not trying to impress each other or talk around the walls between us. The moments when we can just… be, and pretend to ourselves for a few sweet seconds that nothing’s ever going to change.

    “We’re out of candy,” he observes.

    “So we are.”

    “I guess it’s about time I started thinking about heading home,” he says.


    But he doesn’t move. Not yet.

    We’re going to steal another minute or two first.

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