What image, dear Reader, comes to mind when you hear the word Toast? A toasted slice of bread? With some butter, jam, or peanut butter on it?

In German, the word can indeed evoke this very image -- except for the peanut butter.

Yet it can also refer to a toasted sandwich: two buttered slices of bread filled with ham and cheese that are put into a sandwich toaster.

This traditional Toast is called Schinken-Kaese-Toast (ham-cheese toast) and uses:

Toastbrot, i.e., white bread that is sliced, soft, and square;

Toastschinken, i.e., ham that is usually made of pork and square as well;

and Toastkaese, i.e., cheese that melts especially well and is you guessed it also square.

Toasts are considered snacks and are accompanied by ketchup. They are eaten either with fingers or silverware and come without sides, not even fries or chips. As a little sidenote: chips are not considered a side in the German-speaking world.

Rather, they are enjoyed like popcorn in movie theaters or when watching TV.

As mentioned above, Schinken-Kaese-Toast is your typical Toast. Other kinds of Toast are, for example:

Kaese-Toast: like Schinken-Kaese-Toast but without ham;

Toast Hawaii: a slice of bread with ham, cheese, and pineapple, topped off with cranberry sauce or a cherry;

Herrentoast: a slice of bread with steak, button mushrooms, cheese, and fried egg;

Damentoast: a slice of bread with turkey steak, cheese, peach, and cranberry sauce;

Bauerntoast: dark bread with a crunchy crust, bacon, onions, hot peppers, cheese, and fried egg.

Of course, these recipes vary. For instance, it is really tasty to put black pepper and curry powder in your Kaesetoast; Damentoast might include mushrooms; and Herrentoast might come with Rahmsauce (cream sauce).

There are really no limitations to being creative and turning your Toast into something you love!

Dr. Daniela Ribitsch originally comes from Graz, Austria. She has lived in the United States since 2009 and teaches German at Lycoming College in Williamsport. She can be reached at