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The term Strammer Max (literally "upright Max" or "tight Max") originated in the 1920s in Saxon slang, where it initially referred to an erection, the male name "Max" being often used as a slang word for penis (similar to the English "Dick" or "Willy"). The term was adopted into Berlin street slang and applied to a dish that was supposed to be especially strengthening to the sexual prowess of the person eating it.
The original Strammer Max is a slice of bread, sometimes fried in butter, covered with ham and fried egg. The ham may also be pan-fried; it is also possible to replace the ham with a slice of roast beef, in which case the dish is sometimes called Strammer Otto. Cheese and tomato are sometimes used, but these are later additions to the original recipe.
Outside of the Berlin region, the term is also used for several other dishes. Regional variations of the term are not set in stone, and it is not always possible to tell in advance what dish will be served after ordering Strammer Max in a restaurant.
- In Bavaria, a Strammer Max is usually a slice of Leberkäse accompanied by fried egg and potato salad.
- In the Netherlands, the equivalent dish is known as an uitsmijter, which is also the Dutch word for bouncer.
- Engelbrecht, Karin. "Uitsmijter (Dutch Fried Egg & Ham Breakfast)". About.com. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
- Heinz Küpper, Illustriertes Lexikon der deutschen Umgangssprache (Stuttgart 1982), Vol. 5
- Wörterbuch der obersächsischen Mundarten (Leipzig 1994), Vol. 3