Advent Calendar 19 – “What remains”

Written By: Emanuel Updated: April 12, 2021

W… what… what happened? What is that… Where are we? WHEN are we??


Oh my gaaawd… looks like door 18 was a time portal taking us to day 19.
Wow… this calendar is getting crazier and crazier.
Now you might be like “Wait a minute… I feel like Emanuel is just trying to hide that he skipped one day.”
Well, yes, I did skip a day. Is that a crime now?!?!
But seriously…  I am SUPER busy at the moment. A few weeks ago, kind of on a hunch, I took this job as a restaurant manager. Not for long, it’s more of a project for a friend to get things organized at that chaotic place. But yeah, the last two weeks were intense and I’ve done several late night shifts already. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining :). It’s just … yesterday night I really needed a break and just go out for a few drinks (Raki, this time). And today, the weather was so amazing that I spent the day outside.

Anyway, today we’ll talk a bit about what remains when the cake and cookies are eaten. No, I’m not talking about love handles. I am talking about 


You might have guessed it. Krümel is the German word for crumbs. Der Krümel is one crumb and die Krümel are the crumbs.
Now, Krümel is actually not the closest relative of crumb. That would be die Krume.
But Krume is a rather specific word in German. It has two meanings and the easiest way is to just do an image search. Just click the link. It’s 110%  safe for work….

Google Image Search for “die Krume”

Tadah. Quite random, right :).
One meaning is the inside part of bread, the other is “crumbly soil of a field”…. or something like that. I honestly don’t even know how to use that one. Unless you’re a baker or a farmer, Krume is really not useful.

Now, der Krümel is basically a small, cute version of Krume and it is the classic annoying crumbs. Let’s look at a few examples.

  • Ahhh… im Bett sind überall Krümel. Ich krieg gleich einen Anfall.
  • Argh… the bed is full of crumbs. I’m about to flip my shit.
  • Ein Toaster ohne Krümelschublade ist wie ein Mensch ohne Rektum.
  • A toaster without a crumb collector (lit.: crumb drawer) is like a human without a rectum.

There’s also a verb krümeln, but unlike the English to crumble it’s only used in sense of food.

  • “Stört dich das, wenn ich ein paar Plätzchen im Bett esse?
    “Nee, aber krümel’ bitte nicht alles voll.”
  • “Do you mind, if I eat some Christmas cookies in bed?”
    “No, but please don’t leave crumbs all over the place.”
  • Die Kekse sind lecker, aber die krümeln voll krass.
  • The cookies are tasty but they “produce loads of crumbs“.

Now, especially in Advent season with all the cake and cookies, Krümel is a good word to know. But what makes it even better are the idioms and expressions with Krümel. First up, there’s der Krümelkacker. Taken literally, it is someone who is pooping crumbles and it is basically a word for nitpicker. I’ll leave it up to you to make a connection :)

  • Du bist voll der Krümelkacker.
  • You’re such a nitpicker.

Next, there’s the verb sich verkrümeln and that is a colloquial term for going away. Like… leaving a party or leaving from work. It’s probably based on the idea of dispersing oneself which might be the reason why it has a little tiny bit of a sneaky feel to it.

  • Ich glaub, ich verkrümel mich.
  • I think, I’ll leave.

And last but not least we have this expression.

  • Wenn der Kuchen spricht, haben die Krümel Pause.
  • When the boss talks the minions have to shut it.

Taken literally, it translates to “When the cake is speaking, the crumbs have a break.”  and what it really means is this:

  • When the boss talks the minions have to shut it.

No idea how people came up with this but it’s kind of funny and it has a certain punch to it. It sounds quite patronizing though, so just use it in a joking manner.
And that’s it for today.
What about you? Have you heard of any of these expressions before? Are there nice idioms with Krümel in your language? Let me know in the comments and of course, let me know if you have questions.
Hope you enjoyed it, have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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