Germany is multicultural, so it’s not surprising that German cuisine is also more international. In almost every town, but also in smaller villages, you can find one or the other pizzeria or kebab shop. Nevertheless – especially in rural areas – one can speak of “typical cuisine with German specialties”, which, however, changes from region to region.
In general, a lot of meat, sausage, and potatoes are eaten in Germany.
In the following, we would like to name a few typical dishes and drinks that are always associated with Germany and that are among the favorite dishes of Germans.
Typical meat dishes in Germany
Most meat dishes and sausages are based on pork, followed by poultry and beef. However, game and lamb are becoming increasingly popular. Germany owes the latter to the numerous flatmates with a migration background and to their own holidays in southern countries.
In almost every German household, schnitzel is at the top of the “meaty” menu, and it should not be missing on any restaurant menu. In principle, a schnitzel is a thinly sliced, boneless piece of meat that is made more tender by pounding and then processed. French fries or potato salad – rarely potatoes – are mainly chosen as a side dish.
Germans prefer different types of schnitzel; best known across the country are:
- Wiener Schnitzel, also called “Parisian Schnitzel” in many places. The “real” Wiener Schnitzel consists of veal and is breaded. However, it is not uncommon for a breaded pork schnitzel to be incorrectly referred to as a “Wiener Schnitzel”.
- Jägerschnitzel, fried pork schnitzel with a mushroom sauce
- Gypsy schnitzel, fried pork schnitzel with a paprika sauce
- Turkey schnitzel, a breaded, often natural schnitzel made from turkey meat
The following schnitzel variants have their origin in France, but are popular and well-known in Germany:
- Cordon bleu, a breaded schnitzel that is previously filled with ham and cheese
- Schnitzel Alsatian style, a schnitzel with onions, bacon and crème fraîche baked in an ovenproof dish
Regionally known schnitzel types
- Hamburger schnitzel, a schnitzel with a fried egg and sometimes fried onions
- Holsteiner Schnitzel, veal schnitzel with smoked salmon, anchovy fillet, oil sardines, and capers. You can also eat fried potatoes, pickles, and beetroot.
- Münchner Schnitzel, a type of Viennese schnitzel, where it is coated with sweet mustard and horseradish before breading
- Spreewald schnitzel is breaded and, after roasting, coated with horseradish, topped with a pickle, and baked with cheese
- Hawaii schnitzel, topped with a pineapple and gratinated with cheese
- Berliner Schnitzel is a schnitzel only in name, rather it is a breaded cow udder
Pork legs, as the specialty is known in Bavaria as pork knuckle is called in High German, is popular in many parts of Germany. It is grilled, boiled, fried, or sometimes even breaded. This typical German specialty is also known under the names Eisbein, Haspel, or Haxe. Sauerkraut – or red cabbage – and dumplings are often used as side dishes.
Sauerbraten is also available in different recipe forms. As a rule, it is beef that is marinated in vinegar for several days. Then it has to stew for several hours. Traditionally there are potato dumplings or boiled potatoes and red cabbage. In Saxony, Franconia, and Swabian, the sweet and sour sauerbraten tends to be sour, whereas the Rhenish sauerbraten tastes more “sweet”, thanks to the raisins or the baked fruit in the sauce. The Rheinische Sauerbraten used to be made from horse meat.
The Königsberger Klopse come from the former East Prussia. These are meatballs cooked in salted water and served in a light roux with capers. The meatballs are made from mixed minced meat with onions, anchovies, soaked pieces of white bread, eggs, and various spices. The best way to go with it is to eat boiled potatoes. In some places salted herring is used instead of anchovy, then the dish is called “Heringsklopse”.
Thin, mostly beef slices are topped with pickles, bacon, and a piece of white bread. Then the ingredients are rolled up and held together with string, wooden skewers, or special roulade holders, seared and slowly cooked. There is also a dark sauce. Special variants are cabbage rolls, also called cabbage rolls. Here, blanched savoy cabbage or white cabbage leaves are topped with minced meat and wrapped.
The German sausage
German cuisine and sausages, regardless of the form and recipe, belong together. Here are a few typical sausages:
Typical German specialties are the meat sausages. They are available as a wreath or as thin, long Frankfurt or Vienna sausages. Here in Austria, it is known as boiled sausage. The meat sausage, which is eaten cold or warm, is accompanied by mustard, bread, or potato salad.
The bratwurst, also known to us in Austria, is a – mostly scalded – sausage that is intended for roasting/grilling. The meat is mostly covered by a pig’s intestine or an artificial intestine. A distinction is made between fine bratwurst – white sausage -, medium-sized and coarse bratwurst, which is also known as grilled sausage.
In Germany, sausages are mainly offered as pork or beef sausage. Numerous takeaways specialize in sausages, which are offered either in a sliced roll or with French fries. A popular variant is currywurst. The fried sausage is cut into slices, served in a curry sauce, and sprinkled with curry powder.
Special German specialties are the Nürnberger Rostbratwurst and the Thuringian Rostbratwurst. The Nürnberger consists of pork and is refined with salt and marjoram. Thuringians – also made from pork, but sometimes also from veal and beef sausage – get their typical taste from the spices marjoram, caraway, and garlic.
Cold cuts are different, thinly cut slices of different types of sausage that you buy at the butcher or at the sausage and meat counter of the supermarket as a topping on bread. As a rule, the cold cuts are made up of yellow sausage, Lyons, and beer ham, sometimes also of long-life sausage such as salami or cervelatwurst. A distinction is made between cold cuts made from pork and poultry sausage.
More German sausage specialties
- The tea sausage has nothing to do with “tea”. It is a smoked sausage spread exclusively in Germany. The best known is Rügenwalder tea sausage.
- The liver sausage is a sausage whose ingredient is, among other things, the liver. It is available as a spreadable sausage, but also as a sliced or firm grilled sausage. Liver sausages can be coarse or fine and in different flavors. The best known are the Palatinate and Thuringian liver sausages.
- The slaughter platter is a platter filled with different types of sausage and meat, which ideally comes fresh on the table for house slaughter. Traditionally, blood and liver sausages – both eaten hot – as well as kettle meat – also called corrugated meat – are part of it. Corrugated meat is cooked belly and head meat. Everything is pork.
The potato probably came to Germany from South America in the middle of the 17th century and has since crept more and more into the hearts of Germans. In hardly any other country are so many potatoes grown and eaten as in Germany. There are tens of varieties, and almost every region has its own specialty potato.
You eat jacket potatoes, potatoes boiled in their skin, or boiled potatoes, peeled potatoes cooked in salted water. The potatoes are processed into mashed potatoes, potato casseroles, potato dumplings, potato pancakes, potato salad, french fries, and chips, for example. There is also potato sausage and potato rolls or rolls.
Typical fish dishes in Germany
In addition to imported fish from abroad – such as pangasius – and breaded fish fingers, there are a few typical fish dishes that do justice to the theme of “German cuisine”.
In Germany, fish is mainly eaten near the North and Baltic Seas. The typical fish species that are ideally offered fresh from their own or the neighboring waters are primarily herring, cod, mackerel, cod, plaice, turbot, or flounder. They are boiled, grilled, or smoked. Garnet, or crabs, are mainly found on the North Sea coast. It is typical that they often have to be trained yourself.
Special German freshwater fish include trout and char, sometimes also catfish and pikeperch. Carp is often on the menu in Franconia. The preparation of these freshwater fish is very different. In Bavaria, there are whitefish that are caught in the waters there, or whitefish from Lake Constance, both from the salmon family. Whitefish and whitefish are preferably smoked or fried.
The following fish specialties are really typical German specialties:
- Rollmops, a piece of herring pickled in vinegar and salt that is rolled up with a pickle in the middle
- Bismarck herring, a herring fillet pickled in a marinade of onions, vinegar, mustard seeds, oil, and bay leaves, which has a typically sour taste. One likes to eat it with fried potatoes, onions, and pickles. However, it is also available as a topping in a Bismarck bun.
- Fried herring, a fried herring marinated afterward, with a typical brown color
- Kiel sprats, small, herring-like sea fish that are smoked and eaten whole with their tail, head and innards.
The Americans like to call the Germans the “Krauts”. Why? Quite simply: When you think of food and drink in Germany, you think of (sour) cabbage, which is one of the typical German specialties. Sauerkraut is nothing more than white cabbage – called white cabbage in some places – that is preserved by lactic acid fermentation. Sauerkraut can be eaten cold and raw or cooked and warm. German specialties are ribs, pork knuckle, and fried blood and liver sausage.
German cuisine also has other types of cabbage and cabbage ready. There is the red cabbage, as it is called in northern Germany, and which is called red cabbage in the middle and south-west of Germany. In southern Germany, it is known as red cabbage. It is often an accompaniment to dumplings. Kale, rarely known as brown cabbage, is mainly found in northern Germany in winter. Kale with pee, i.e. with smoked grützwurst, is a traditional dish there.
Bread and “small loaves”
While the French celebrate their baguette, the Germans prefer dark, firm bread. The variety of types of bread in German bakeries is beyond imagination. Different types of grain are used for baking, such as wheat, rye, or spelled. There are whole grain or mixed bread, round or oblong loaves, with ingredients such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds, onions, nuts, etc.
Outside the German borders, the pumpernickel or black bread, which is subject to special production, is considered typical German bread.
Unlike bread, some of the types of rolls are light and soft – but not all. Here, too – like in no other country – there is a huge number of different varieties. The conventional ones are wheat, multigrain, whole grain, pumpkin seed, sesame, and rye rolls. But also caraway, milk, potato, milk, poppy seed, raisin or cheese rolls are on German shelves alongside numerous other varieties.
Bread rolls, the “small loaves”, are given different names. In Bavaria and Thuringia, they are called rolls, Berliners and Brandenburgers call them Schrippen, on Hiddensee they are Bömmel, and in other parts of Germany, they are called Weck.
Sweets for those with a sweet tooth
Of course, people not only love hearty foods but also sweets when it comes to food and drink in Germany.
- Red fruit jelly: Different red fruits are processed with sugar, fruit juice, and cornstarch to make a delicious dessert that is eaten with cream or vanilla sauce.
- Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte: It is a typical cake specialty known far beyond European borders, with which one associates Germany and especially the “Black Forest”. The most important ingredients are kirsch, chocolate biscuit bases, cream, and chocolate flakes.
- Berliner: It has many different names such as donuts or pancakes. It is a sweet, filled or unfilled, round to oval pastry that is particularly popular on New Year’s Eve and Carnival time. Traditionally, these yeast dough biscuits are fried in fat and then filled with jam or plum jam, and more recently with vanilla cream, egg liqueur, or various other delicacies.
- Americans: This round pastry has thick icing on one side. The American gets its typical aroma from ammonium hydrogen carbonate, which makes the dough lose.
- Rum ball: The round praline consists of fat, sugar, rum, chocolate, and cocoa, as well as almonds or nuts, and is finally rolled in chocolate sprinkles.
- Dominoes: The small cube, consisting of several layers of gingerbread, persipan, marzipan, and fruit jelly, is then covered with chocolate.
- Stollen: The Dresden Stollen is known far beyond the borders of Europe. Stollen season is mainly around Christmas time. It is a cake in bread form, which mostly contains sultanas, lemon peel, orange peel, marzipan, almonds, and raisins. Stollen has a long shelf life, making it the ideal souvenir to bring with you. In addition to the traditional stollen, different variants such as poppy seed stollen, nut stollen, butter stollen, or quark stollen have established themselves.
- Bee sting: This sheet cake consists of thin yeast dough that is topped with vanilla cream, or fat cream as well as sugar and almonds.
- Streusel cake: This yeast sheet cake is available with or without a topping. Toppings made from rhubarb, apple, or vanilla cream are popular, with the top “cover” consisting of sprinkles made from sugar, fat, and flour.
What do the Germans drink?
There are some regional mineral waters in Germany; however, one also drinks a lot of fruit juices, cola, and lemonades. Beer and wine are often associated with Germany abroad. However, there are also some local spirits.
A liter of beer in the Hofbräuhaus
Germans drink beer. That’s not prejudiced, it’s true! Germany is a country with many larger and smaller breweries and an extremely high beer consumption. The most diverse types of beer are drunk here, some regionally, some across Germany. The main varieties:
- Pils: The most widely drunk and most brewed beer in Germany is a bottom-fermented beer with a bitter taste. The basic recipe consists of light malt, water, bottom-fermented yeast, and aromatic hops.
- Export: The bottom-fermented full beer is available in light or dark.
- Wheat beer: This top-fermented beer is mainly drunk in summer or in southern Germany. It has a fruity-spicy note. The addition of wheat to brewing is typical. Wheat beer is available as Kristallweizen (filtered) or as Hefeweizen (unfiltered), whereby it has a dark or light color.
- Altbier: This top-fermented, dark, bitter-tasting beer is primarily drunk in the Lower Rhine region – primarily in Düsseldorf.
- Kölsch: The top-fermented Kölsch is brewed exclusively in Cologne and is also popular there.
- Strong beer: As the name suggests, this is a very alcoholic beer that is traditionally brewed and drunk in the winter months. The bock beers are known.
- Schwarzbier: This bottom-fermented, dark, intensely tasting beer is mainly consumed in central Germany.
- Berliner Weisse: The top-fermented draft beer, which originally comes from Berlin and the surrounding area, has a slightly sour taste. It is drunk pure as well as in different variants. “Weisse mit Strippe” is Berliner Weisse with grain or caraway schnapps. In summer, Berliner Weisse is popular with woodruff or raspberry syrup, with the addition of sparkling wine or crème de cassis.
There are officially 13 wine-growing regions in Germany; most of them produce white wine, but there is also German red wine. The vineyards on the Rhine and Moselle are particularly well known.
The largest wine-growing area is in Rheinhessen, the second largest in the Palatinate. Ahr and Württemberg are known for their excellent red wines. The Rheingau and the slopes on the Nahe mainly cultivate the Riesling grape variety. The southernmost wine-growing region is Baden, which focuses on the Pinot Noir. Franconia is known for Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, and Silvaner.
A distinction is made between four quality classes of wine: table wine, country wine, quality wine, and predicate wine. The latter is of the highest quality and accordingly also the most expensive. It is cataloged again in Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, and the rare Eiswein. German wines are also available as dry, semi-dry, sweet, and sweet wines.
Must & schnapps
A particular German specialty is apple wine, also called cider in many places. Especially in Hesse, especially around Frankfurt, people like to drink “Äppelwoi” in a much more Hessian way. It is a fruit wine made from acidic apples, which gives it its sour taste. The Hessians drink it diluted with mineral water as a sour spritz – known in Austria as a “fire brigade mix” – or stretched with orange or lemonade as a sweet spritz.
German specialties are also the “short ones”, i.e. clear or fruit brandies. These include kirsch, apple schnapps, and raspberry brandy. Eggnog is less strong but also typical of Germany.
In northern Germany, people like to drink a grog on cold days. It is a hot drink made from rum, sugar, and hot water.
In addition to Coca-Cola, various lemonades, and mineral water, people in Germany also like to drink coffee and tea. There are many different variants, most of which come from abroad, such as espresso or cappuccino. Typically German coffee is black, with or without milk and with or without sugar. There are many types of tea. Sometimes chocolate – better known as cocoa – is drunk.
Germans love mixed drinks and various cocktails, especially in summer. Typical German mixed drinks are:
- Spritzer: Wine with lemonade (sweet) or wine with mineral water (sour)
- Spezi: Cola with orange lemonade
- Radler or Alsterwasser: Beer with lemonade is called Alsterwasser in northern Germany and Radler in the rest of Germany.
A culinary short trip through Germany
Come on a culinary journey under the motto “Eating & Drinking in Germany”! We give you a short regional overview of typical German dishes and drinks for the individual regions or federal states.
East Frisians eat nutritious and hearty food. The East Frisian cuisine is characterized by fish and seafood as well as beans and kale.
- Fish rolls: rolls filled with Bismarck herring, crabs, or matjes; often with lettuce, cucumber and tartar sauce
- Kibbeling: small, fried fish fillet cubes covered with batter
- Pinkelwurst: smoked cooked sausages made from meat and groats; is often eaten with kale
- Updrögt beans: stew made from dried beans, potatoes, pee sausages, and bacon
- Kale: typical winter cabbage
- Labskaus: cured meat, potatoes, beetroot, cucumber, and onions turned through the wolf and eaten together with fried egg, herring, and pickles
- Klütje: yeast dough dumplings with sweet sauce
Hessian cuisine is difficult to define, as there are different specialties from north to south and from east to west.
- Ribs with cabbage: cured chops with sauerkraut
- Green sauce: cold herb sauce with sour cream and sour cream; Typical for the Frankfurt “Grie Soß” are the 7 herbs chervil, parsley, sorrel, cress, chives, Pimpinella, and borage
- Sheet cake: first of all the “Schmirchelskuche”, a yeast cake with sour cream
- Frankfurter Kranz: Buttercream cake, consisting of several bases, in the shape of a ring
- Ahle Worscht: air-dried or only lightly smoked pork sausage as a direct product of slaughter
- Handkäs with music: sour milk cheese, pickled in vinegar, oil, and onions, seasoned with pepper, salt, and caraway seeds
Even in the Rhineland there is no uniformly typical cuisine to be found.
- Halver Hahn (“Halber Hahn”): half a rye roll with cheese, pickled cucumber, and mustard, sometimes with onion rings
- Himmel un Ääd (“Heaven and Earth”): mashed potatoes and applesauce; often served with blood, fried or liver sausage
- Kulles / Döppekooche (pot cake): a kind of casserole made from grated potatoes, chopped onions, eggs, jerky meat, bacon or sausage
- Rhenish sauerbraten: originally horse meat, today mostly beef; Marinated sweet and sour, usually eaten with potato dumplings and applesauce
- Pill cake: potato pancakes
In the Rhineland, people like to celebrate and drink a lot. Beers such as Kölsch in the Cologne area and Altbier in and around Düsseldorf are particularly traditional. You can also drink local wine from the Rhine and Moselle rivers, Verpoorten egg liqueur from Bonn and Killepitsch from Düsseldorf, as well as Kabänes from Brühl, both of which are herbal liqueurs.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s cuisine is rather hearty. People like to eat stew and fish near the coast.
- Baked Chick Eel: fried smoked eel
- Braden Maischull: fried maize plaice
- Mecklenburg rib roast: pork belly filled with fruit
- Tüffel un Plum (potatoes and plums): potato soup with bacon and plums
- Poor knights: White bread slices or rolls soaked in milk, egg, and sugar and then fried in fat
- Sea buckthorn dishes such as Sea buckthorn cake, sea buckthorn jam or sea buckthorn liqueur and sea buckthorn wine
Grog, a hot drink made from rum, water, and sugar, is particularly popular here.
In Thuringia, people love meat-heavy home cooking. Typical are the Thuringian dumplings made from cooked and grated raw potatoes as well as the Thuringian Rostbratwurst, a grilled sausage made from pork, seasoned with marjoram, caraway, garlic, salt, and pepper.
The following are also worth mentioning:
- Thuringian Rostbrätel: marinated pork neck grilled on charcoal
- Potato pancakes: grated raw potatoes with egg, flour, and nutmeg processed into a dough and then baked as flat cakes in the pan
- Thuringian red sausage: a type of blood sausage
Bavarian cuisine is rustic, hearty, and not entirely dissimilar to Austrian. Dumplings and pastries, as well as lots of meat and sausage, are typical.
- Steamed noodles: large, thick yeast dumplings that are fried and steamed in a saucepan with a lid and served in different variations
- Münchner Weißwurst: fine boiled sausage that is traditionally served with a pretzel and sweet mustard
- Pichelsteiner: stew made from various types of vegetables and meat
- Liver dumpling soup: clear soup with small liver dumplings as a soup
- Pork knuckle: first cooked, then with a fat crust crispy baked pork knuckle, which is traditionally eaten with dumplings and cabbage
- Leberkäs: beef, pork, and bacon mixed with spices and baked in a square pie dish until it has a brown crust; can be eaten cold or warm
- Bread dumplings: dumplings made from old rolls that are often eaten with roasts
Beer is of course popular in Bavaria, where there are some breweries.
The fact that Berlin is a cosmopolitan city where numerous nationalities are represented naturally also rubs off on the food and drink offerings. The original Berlin cuisine, which was simple and hearty, can still be found to some extent today.
- Panaschee: fried onions and diced bacon, which are eaten with pork knuckle with sauerkraut and pea puree
- Hackepeter: seasoned, raw minced meat, which is often eaten on bread or rolls with raw onions
- Meatballs: meatballs
- Bockwurst: crispy boiled sausage, served with potato salad or with bread rolls
- Aspic: pieces of meat with vegetables placed in jelly, eaten with tartar sauce and fried potatoes
- Green eel: cooked eel with a light herb or pure dill sauce; with boiled potatoes and cucumber salad
In Berlin and the surrounding area, Berliner Weisse, a wheat beer, is drunk in different variations such as pure, with woodruff or raspberry syrup (Berliner Weisse with a shot) or with caraway brandy (Berliner Weisse with Strippe)
Culinary souvenirs & gifts from Germany
Vacationers like to take typical German specialties home as gifts. The most popular souvenirs are
- Dresdner Stollen
- Nuremberg gingerbread
- Lübeck marzipan (figures)
- Tea and coffee from Hamburg
- Licorice & Haribo
- German beer
- Sea buckthorn products
- German wine
Eating Habits – This is how you eat in Germany
The traditional German meal consists of three main meals and an afternoon coffee and cake. The daily routine is as follows:
- Breakfast: Depending on the working hours, breakfast is served after getting up, although this meal is more generous here than in many other countries. There are bread or rolls of various kinds, jam, honey and/or chocolate cream, sausage and cheese, and possibly a boiled egg on the table. Muesli is eaten in some families. The working population also has a short snack, a kind of sandwich, around 10 a.m.
- Lunch: Between noon and 1 p.m. most Germans eat a warm meal that consists of a main meal. Vegetables, meat, and often potatoes are traditionally on the table. There is sometimes dessert on Sundays and public holidays.
- Afternoon: On weekends, or for people who have time, coffee and cake are available around 3 p.m.
- Dinner: It is also called “dinner”. It is taken between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Bread and toppings such as sausage and cheese are on the menu.
Due to their diverse origins and the different working hours and habits, many Germans tend to eat irregularly and also eat international dishes.
The range of dining options outside the home ranges from the snack bar on the corner to local restaurants with typical dishes and drinks from the region, as well as Greek, Italian, Chinese and Turkish restaurants through to the starred restaurants.
While many (star) restaurants offer international dishes in addition to regional dishes, you will often find hearty home cooking in simpler restaurants and excursion restaurants.
In hardly any other country, however, you will find as many fast food stalls as in Germany. We, therefore, dare to say that “typical” food and drink in Germany also means stopping at one of these stalls. The most important (between) meals here are:
- Currywurst: finely chopped sausage in a tomato ketchup sauce with curry powder sprinkled over from the “fries stand”
- Bratwurst: … with mustard in a bread roll or with French fries also at the “Pommesbude”
- French fries: “French fries” for short, with mayo or ketchup, at the same food stand
- Fish rolls: rolls filled with herring fillet, Bismarck herring, fried fish, salmon, or crab; There is also a lettuce leaf, onions and cucumber, and tartar sauce.
- Doner kebab: Turkish and not typically German specialty, which has, however, established itself across the board in smaller snack bars or shops. They are flatbreads filled with pieces of lamb or veal from the rotisserie, to which lettuce, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, red and white cabbage, sheep’s cheese, and a garlic or yogurt sauce are added.
There are also sandwiches at petrol stations, butchers and bakeries.
Small Germany restaurant etiquette
How do you behave at the table or in a restaurant in Germany? The answer is not that difficult, since many things also apply to other countries. Here are a few rules of conduct for a restaurant visit:
- In a more “noble” restaurant, you can have the staff assign you a table, otherwise, you can head straight for a free table yourself.
- In the beginning, you order an aperitif or a sparkling wine/champagne, but it has also become common practice that you can order a small beer even in finer restaurants without being looked at crookedly. Of course, alcohol can also be avoided entirely.
- The cloth napkin is placed half-open on the lap. When you get up you put them next to the plate.
- Sometimes you get a small appetizer in the form of bread, olives, and a small spread. This is by no means for eating fully! If you don’t like it, just leave it there, but don’t verbally refuse to bring it.
- Don’t start eating until everyone at the table has had their meal. Exception: The others have to wait longer and your own food would get cold in the meantime.
- People only drink when everyone at the table has their drink.
- In a fine restaurant, poultry is eaten with a knife and fork. In a village restaurant, you can sometimes eat with your hands.
- When you have finished eating, you put your cutlery on the plate parallel to each other.