Were you a picky eater when you were young? Did you refuse to finish your meals, or sit in front of your plate for hours? Germans would have called you a Suppenkasper!
Literally translated, the word Suppenkasper means “Soup Kasper”, and it refers to a finicky eater – someone who doesn’t finish his or her food. For many parents, this can be frustrating.
But why call their child a Suppenkasper? The term originates from the classic children’s book “Der Struwwelpeter” (published in 1845 by Heinrich Hoffmann). The book features a healthy young boy named Kasper, who sits at the dinner table and refuses to eat his soup (Suppe). As the story goes, Kasper is determined not to eat his soup, and after five days of withering away, he dies of starvation.
The story is meant to teach kids a lesson: always clean your plate, or else! Today, the story might seem rather harsh and intimidating, and some would argue that there’s better ways to teach your kids to finish their food. But regardless, the term Suppenkasper is still a popular term to describe finicky eaters. Do you have a Suppenkasper at your table?
By Nicole Glass, German Embassy