Tuesday, June 25, 2013

When the potatoes come out

Just about every day, I come across some Flemish word or expression that tickles my fancy. These range from the curious to the hilarious, and I often think about putting them in a blog post. But as with all my blog post ideas, only about 10% ever make into the blog...

But this one was too good not to share with you.

The other day, my husband suddenly announced, apropos of nothing, "The potatoes are coming out!"

I considered this revelation for a moment, wondering what the proper response might be, so he repeated, "The potatoes are coming out!" To which I replied, "Am I supposed to know what that means? Is it code for something? Or is it one of your funny Flemish expressions?"

As it turned out, it was the latter. My husband, like many Dutch-speaking Belgians, loves to translate native phrases directly into English, with results that are usually quite cryptic, if not comical.

My husband proudly lifted his leg and waved his foot at me. I immediately "got it"--his big toe, peeking out of a hole in his sock, actually did resemble a tiny little potato.

So there you have it: The next time your toe bursts through the hole in your sock, you can announce the event with the Flemish expression, "De aardappelen komen uit!" The potatoes are coming out--not from the ground, but from your sock.


  1. After checking with members of East Flanders, West Flanders, Limburg and Vlaams Brabant, I was unable to find anyone that had ever heard the expression 'De aardappelen komen uit' with regards to toes escaping socks! I'm going to continue my search, however I have a sneaking suspicion that your Vlaming may very well be quite unique!

  2. I also checked with another friend from north Limburg, and she'd never heard of it either. But she assured me that a lot of these "uitdrukkingen" are very local, so it could be something from the little village where my husband grew up near Riemst.

  3. de aardappelen komen uit??? never heard that expression before. Cute one though

  4. Bahahaha, never heard of it, but that doesn't say much. I like the sound of it!

  5. In flemisch brabant we use it a lot in dialect: "de patatten komen uit". So it´s over here too. It´s quite an old saying. My grandfather said it all the time. I'm from Leuven btw.