1. Never EVER pour oil down the drain!
This will clog up the pipes. And as we all know, plumbers are super expensive. Just put it in a glass jar and bring it to your local waste collection point. Problem solved!
2. Put a “Opferwurst” into the pot when you cook your Würstel or Rindsuppe
Yes, the literal translation of “Opferwurst” is ‘the sacrificial sausage.’ Why, you ask? Well, because this sausage is sacrificing its life to make your soup, or the other Würstel, taste better. Very brave, don’t you think?
You just slice up your Opferwurst and pop it into the boiling water before you put in the other sausages. This means that the water will suck all the tasty sausage flavour out of the first sausage, so the other sausages don’t lose any flavour when they’re thrown in.
3. If you have a fever, put on some “Essigpatscherl” (translation: vinegar-soaked socks)
Yep, sounds gross. Aaaand it is pretty gross. But what is it actually? Well, you throw some socks (or a cloth, but it’s more fun with socks) into some vinegar water (0,5l water mixed with one tablespoon of vinegar) and then put them on your feet, or wrap the cloth around your calves.
Apparently, this is antipyretic and will help with the fever.
4. Always bring something when you’re invited to someone’s home
Is this really a life hack, or is it more of a common sense thing? Anyway, our Omis told us to always have a little something for the host when invited to their place. This can be flowers, a homemade cake, or a bottle of wine – whatever small gift you think the person would like.
5. Also: Always have something at home in case somebody spontaneously visits
It always seems like all older people have a cake, or cookies on hand for their guests, right? Well, our Omas taught us that we should, too.
But realistically, none of us have time to bake on a regular basis, so just be sure to always have some store-bought stuff at home to offer to your visitors that you can pretend you made yourself. This might be some M&M’s, Mannerschnitten, or a bag full of tortilla chips – whatever you fancy. Oh, and this goes for drinks, as well. You should always have an emergency six-pack and wine at the back of your fridge.
6. Add butter to EVERYTHING!
If you’re looking to make the dish you’re cooking tasty without a doubt, just add butter, and it will turn out A-MA-ZING! Butter works wonders for making all dishes taste better. Just ask any chef…or your Oma.
7. Use “Topfenwickel” (translation: a curd cheese wrap) to help ease various pains
So the ‘Topfenwickel’ is another of these rather gross things our Omis told us to use. Apparently, a bandage filled with curd cheese is a solid cure for many injuries.
You can prepare your ‘Wickel,’ hot, or cold, depending on how much you’re suffering. Yeah, we are exaggerating here, because as our Omi used to say – ‘Nothing seems as bad as it seems and ‘bist heiratest, is alles wieda guad!’ Anyway…
If you have sunburn, for instance, you put the cold Topfen bandage on the burnt areas. The Topfen has anti-inflammatory properties and will calm your irritated skin.
If you have a cough, then put some warm Topfen on your chest. It has an expectorant and anti-inflammatory effect. Thanks for this one Omi – it actually really works!
8. If your ear is aching, just put an onion on it
Okay, we get that it’s getting grosser with each life hack in this list, but reportedly this actually helps, soooo… if your ear is aching, cut an onion up into small pieces, heat it up in a pan, put it in a cloth and hold it against your ear for about an hour (be sure to repeat this a couple of times).
The essential oils of the onion have an anti-inflammatory property that will ease your pain.
9. If you can’t deal with the smell of onions, try flax seeds!
The less gross and odour-free option of the put-onions-on-your-ear method works with flax seeds.
So, if your ear is aching, heat up some flax seeds in a pan, pop them in a cloth and hold them against your ear. This helps, too!
10. Spit on your mosquito bites
What? Yeah, saliva is apparently antibacterial and helps minimise the swelling of mosquito bites.
If you blow on it (so on the saliva that you’ve just spat onto the mosquito bite) then, you’ll get a nice cooling effect happening.
11. Have your apartment always clean in case someone visits unannounced
Okay, so this one is reeeeeally hard (because who’s got time to clean, right?). Our grandmas mastered it though and whenever we turn up at their place, it is always squeaky clean, so if they can do it, we can do it…we think.
12. If you have old bread, reuse it as Knödelbrot and Suppeneinlage
This is the Zero Waste 101 lesson from our Oma. No need to throw away your old and rock-hard bread that would cause real damage if you threw it at somebody’s head.
You can give it a second life by using it as an ingredient in your soup, or you can make dumplings out of it.
This may sound like the ultimate 21st century sustainable zero-waste hack, but was actually already practised by our beloved Omas back in the day.
13. When you go on vacation, always bring medicine with you
Our Omas would never go without their good old ‘Reiseapotheke’ (aka first-aid kit).
Always be sure to pack some Aspirin, some linctus, and a thermometer, and you’re good to go.
This way, you don’t have to buy anything in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language (or other people don’t speak English) and are well-equipped in case they don’t have your preferred meds at the dodgy pharmacy abroad (they are not dodgy at all, our Omas just believed they were).
14. Make sure to never leave the house looking like a slob
One thing our Oma always takes good care of is her appearance. No matter if she is on a day out in the city, or just buying some milk at the local grocery store – her clothes, hair, and overall appearance are always neat and looking sharp.
Because in the end, you never know who you’re going to meet.
We’re not saying you have to invest half an hour in your hairstyle each and every day, but taking care of yourself should be one of your top priorities.