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A Strammer Max with cheese
Strammer Max is a traditional name applied to various dishes in German cuisine.

Etymology

The term Strammer Max (literally "stiff Max" or "tight Max") originated in the 1920s in Saxonmarker slang, where it initially referred to an erection, the male name "Max" being often used as a slang word for penis (similar to the English "Dick" or "Willy"). The term was adopted into Berlinmarker street slang and applied to a dish that was supposed to be especially strengthening to the sexual prowess of the person eating it.

The original dish

The original Strammer Max is a slice of bread fried in butter and covered with ham and fried egg. The ham may also be pan-fried; it is also possible to replace the ham with a slice of roast beef, in which case the dish is sometimes called Strammer Otto. Cheese and tomato are sometimes used, but these are later additions to the original recipe.

Local variations

Outside of the Berlin region, the term is also used for several other dishes. Regional variations of the term are not set in stone, and it is not always possible to tell in advance what dish will be served after ordering Strammer Max in a restaurant.

References

  • Heinz Küpper, Illustriertes Lexikon der deutschen Umgangssprache (Stuttgart 1982), Vol. 5
  • Wörterbuch der obersächsischen Mundarten (Leipzig 1994), Vol. 3


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