8 Foreign Food Words English Doesn't Have

'Kummerspeck' is the German word for the weight you gain when you overeat after a failed romance. (Photo: Sweettoxic/Shutterstock)

Sometimes there's not a word that sums up a feeling or a state of being, so we have to use a phrase or a descriptive sentence. A friend asked on Facebook the other day why there's no word for "that feeling of nostalgia and wistfulness engendered by the ending of summer/beginning of the school year, and the cool mornings of fall." And then she noted that if there was, it would probably be in German.

Sometimes other languages have one word that perfectly sums up a concept, especially when it comes to food or feelings about food. Here are foreign words, compiled by Expedia, that English speakers might want to start using.


Danish word Natmad
Natmad. (Photo: Expedia )

It's become traditional at wedding receptions that end late in the evening for the bride and groom to send their guests off with a snack before they head home. We don't have a word for that, or any other food served at the end of a party. The Danish do, though.


Norwegian word utepils
utepils. (Photo: Expedia )

If we had an equivalent for the Norwegian utepils, I'd make good use of it. When describing a wine, I'll sometimes say something like, "This is the type of wine you want to drink sitting on the deck of your beach house watching the sun set over the ocean." In Norway, I would simply write, "You'll want to utepils this wine."


Finnish word kalsarikännit
kalsarikännit. (Photo: Expedia )

I love this word because it's so evocative. Sometimes, you just want to be completely alone and comfortable while sitting on your couch having a drink or two. Apparently, the Finns do this enough in their underwear that they've come up with a word for it. Make it flannel pajama pants and a T-shirt, and I've totally done this before.


Spanish word sobremesa
Sobremesa. (Photo: Expedia )

When you do this at home, it's wonderful. When you do this at a restaurant, at least an American restaurant, you may get dirty looks from your server because they either want to turn the table over or go home. However, the concept of taking the time to continue to have conversation and community with others at the table even when you're finished eating is an appealing one. The Spanish must like it, too, because they have a specific word for it.


Madárlátta in hungarian
Madárlátta. (Photo: Expedia )

This is a little unusual. Is packing a picnic but not eating the food once you're there so common in Hungary that they need a word for it? If this drawing is accurate, they don't neglect their wine, though. Perhaps this is one word we don't need an exact translation for in English because I don't think it's something we do.


Teledu word Engli
Engli. (Photo: Expedia )

My family could have used this word when my grandmother was alive. My father always bought boxes of assorted chocolates that we could eat when we woke up on Christmas morning. My grandmother used to take tiny bites out of the bottom of a piece. If she didn't like what she saw, she'd smush the chocolate coating back together and put it back in the box! In South India, those chocolates would have been engili, candy that had been defiled.


Georgia word Shemomedjamo
Shemomedjamo. (Photo: Expedia)

Maybe we don't have an exact translation for the Georgian word shemomechama, but it certainly conjures up thoughts of Thanksgiving, doesn't it? "Pass that pumpkin pie. I'll shemomechama even though my pants are about to bust open!"


german word kummerspeck

They eat their feelings in Germany, too, huh? I get it. In my lifetime, I've had grief ice cream, grief peanut butter and even grief boxes of Cap'n Crunch.

What food/eating concept would you like to find a single word for? Here's one: the act of going to the kitchen, looking for something to eat even though you're not really hungry, finding nothing that appeals, leaving the kitchen, and then returning to the kitchen just a few minutes later to start the process all over again. Does any language have a word for that?