I suppose it doesn’t take much of a grasp on semiotics to realize that culture will, come hell or high water, weasel its way into language, thus spawning idioms, but I’m here to tell you anyway. For instance, what springs to mind when you think of America? Maybe I’m coming out of left field, but if I were to take a swing at it, I’d say baseball. (See what I did there? Seriously, there’s a wikipedia page about this). German is a whole ‘nother ballgame: when you think of the Vaterland, do you think of, say, this?:
If so, you’re not way off base (alright, done with this) because happily, beer and wurst has had the baseball effect on the German language. Take, for example:
An ihm ist Hopfen und Malz verloren
Hops and malt are lost on him = he doesn’t have a clue
Das ist nicht mein Bier
That’s not my beer = that’s not my cup of tea
Es ist mir Wurst
It’s sausage to me = it’s all the same to me
Seinen Senf dazugeben
To give his mustard = to put in his two cents
Jetzt geht’s um die Wurst
It’s about the sausage now = it’s do or die
In der Kürze liegt die Würze
Rick Steves translates this phrase this way: “In the shortness lies the tastiness” regarding the miniature Nuremberg sausages, but that’s an awkward translation, because really, who talks that way? If you’re going to translate a colloquialism, translate it colloquially… so clearly: ”Boy howdy, these wee sausages pack a punch.” (Incidentally, I also saw this phrase screen printed on a pair of men’s underwear in a tacky souvenir shop, which turned me off of the German language forever).
and the favorite of German professors everywhere:
Spiel nicht die beleidigte Leberwurst
Don’t play the offended liver sausage: don’t get your panties in a twist like I just did about a Rick Steves translation of a sausage saying.
Which leads us, ultimately, to this question at the intersection of food and baseball:
If the moon was made of spare ribs, wouldja eat it?