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Word of the Week: Studentenfutter

If you’re craving a healthy snack, what do you go for? Studentenfutter, perhaps? The German word Studentenfutter means “students’ feed”, but describes what we typically refer to as trail mix. And it has an interesting story dating back to the 1600s.

The word Studenten means “students” and Futter means “feed”, but students aren’t the only ones to eat this delicious, healthy snack, which usually consists of raisins, nuts and dried fruit. Back in the 17th century, however, students were more likely to consume trail mix than regular Germans – and here’s why:

When Studentenfutter first arose, it consisted primarily of raisins and almonds, which were very expensive at the time and only accessible to those who were in good financial standing. Students enrolled at German universities typically came from affluent families and could therefore afford to buy almonds. Additionally, an urban legend claimed that

Studentenfutter helped cure hangovers and alcohol intoxication, making it a particularly attractive snack to partying university students. As a result, trail mix was popular at schools and thus came to be known as “students’ feed.”

Over time, additional ingredients were added to Studentenfutter, such as cashews, peanuts, walnuts and hazelnuts. Today, you might even find chocolate and various types of dried fruit in a bag of trail mix. And it’s no longer just a snack for wealthy students, but something for everyone to enjoy.

By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany

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