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Part of the spread at the German honorary’s tra­di­tional Tuesday feast. Nolan Ryan | Col­legian

Imagine a dinner table filled with sausage, cur­ry­wurst, and cheese spreads, sur­rounded by a number of stu­dents having con­ver­sa­tions with one another in their foreign lan­guage of study: in this case, German. This is what happens every other Tuesday as German-speaking stu­dents gather together for a night of feasting and great con­ver­sation in German at “Dien­stagss­chmaus.” Junior Finnegan Cleary, pres­ident of German hon­orary Delta Phi Alpha, hosts this meal twice a month at his apartment.

“Our goal is to connect older stu­dents and pro­fessors with younger stu­dents who are starting to learn the lan­guage or have an interest in majoring or minoring,” Cleary said. “Typ­i­cally, we’ll have a dinner and speak in German while we eat. This was our first semester with this event. It was my hope to create an event that would bind our hon­orary together with stu­dents and pro­fessors.”

According to Cleary, Nina Weiland, an exchange student from Saarland, came up with the name “Dien­stagss­chmaus.”

“The name ‘Dien­stagss­chmaus’ is a classic German com­posite bringing together Dienstag (Tuesday) and Schmaus (Feast),” explained Asso­ciate Pro­fessor of German Fred Yaniga, faculty advisor to the hon­orary.

Yaniga said German dinners are not as elab­orate as the daytime meals. They typ­i­cally consist of bread and sand­wiches, as well as cheese and veg­etables.

“Finn has done a nice job preparing sausages and Spätzele (German noodles) and other typ­i­cally German meals,” he said.

Yaniga said the meals have pro­vided lots of laughter and another way for German stu­dents to speak “Deutsch” with one another. The best part about the meals, he said, is that they have been a way to connect German stu­dents of all four classes with each other and the German pro­fessors. He said Finn Cleary and other officers in the hon­orary have done an amazing job of cooking special German food for the events.

“I was amazed by how fresh and light most of our meals were. The standard American con­ception of German food encom­passes the classics: sausage, mustard, large glasses of beer. While those are present in Germany, there is a greater variety to the food and gusto for local spe­cialties,” Cleary said. “Most of the food I had while in the country was pre­pared fresh, from local ingre­dients, with minimal nitrates or preser­v­a­tives. Our hon­orary wanted to help provide that expe­rience to stu­dents here at Hillsdale.”

Dien­stagss­chmaus even has received private dona­tions.

“The ‘Dien­stagss­chmaus’ has been made pos­sible by a gen­erous donation from Lucas Wegmann, a great sup­porter of our college and a friend of the German department,” said Yaniga. He said he hopes that Dien­stagss­chmaus that will con­tinue to be a tra­dition for the German department in the future.

German culture has a unique history of food, beyond that with which most Amer­icans are familiar. As in all cul­tures, food is an important part for indi­viduals to connect with each other. Meals are often ways for people to bond while enjoying good food.

“Food is an effective way to connect Amer­icans with German culture,” he said. “It acts as a medium for trans­mitting values about the way Germans think about con­sumption which can be more sen­sitive than here in the States.”

A unique aspect of German food is its lack of preser­v­a­tives, which is con­trolled by laws in Germany, according to Cleary. “The most famous of these kinds of laws would be the Rein­heits­gebot, the law con­cerning what can and cannot be brewed in beer,” he said. “While the law dates back to early 16th century Bavaria, it con­tinues today in a somewhat altered form. The phi­losophy behind this rests on German cel­e­bra­tions of tra­dition, effi­ciency, and mod­ern­ization.”

Freshman Patrick Farrell visited Dien­stagss­chmaus and said he espe­cially enjoyed Cleary’s cur­ry­wurst. “They say the best way to learn a new lan­guage is to expose yourself to it as much as pos­sible, and that’s exactly what Dien­stagss­chmaus does,” he said. “It’s fun to be able to engage yourself in con­ver­sation with friends while also sharp­ening your German skills.”

Freshman German stu­dents such as Farrell are able to see firsthand the ben­efits of being in DPA. “I would say that Dien­stagss­chmaus made me more inter­ested in the Delta Phi Alpha hon­orary,” Farrell said. “The hon­orary does a great job in putting on events like Dien­stagss­chmaus, so if I were to con­tinue on [with German], I would surely pursue joining Delta Phi Alpha.”