Thomas Berhard's "sweet soup"

In his memoir Gathering Evidence (originally published as five separate books), Thomas Bernhard describes being a young student at an Austrian boarding school in the early days of Nazism. Although unaware of it at the time, the school was actually "a home for maladjusted children." Bernhard's "maladjustment" was chronic bed-wetting.

The food-related part of this passage is brief, but bracketed as it is by details of the enforced Hitler salute, and the public humiliation of little boys who wet their beds, not to mention the weird, subtextual resonance between Berhard's bed sheet with its "large yellow stain" (which was daily displayed in the school cafeteria) and the ritual hoisting of the swastika flag, the three small sentences regarding "sweet soup" jump out, pointing, as they do (even within this toxic context), to simple appetites, innocence and pleasure. Translated from the German by David McLintock:

The day began with the raising of the swastika flag, which flew in the courtyard until dark. We had to parade round the flagstaff, raise our hands in the Hitler salute, and shout "Heil Hitler" when the flag had been hoisted. At nightfall the flag was lowered again, and again we had to raise our hands and give the Hitler salute. Once it had been raised, we had to form threes and march off. . . . It was my misfortune to be revealed as a bed-wetter on the very first night. The method of treatment used on me in Saalfeld was to display my sheet with the large yellow stain in the breakfast-room and announce that it was mine. But this was not the only way in which the bed-wetter was punished: he did not get any of the so-called "sweet soup" like the others—he got no breakfast at all. This "sweet soup" was a mixture of milk, flour, and cocoa served in soup plates, and I adored it. The more often I was denied it—and that was almost every day—the more I longed for it. I suffered this deprivation throughout my stay at Saalfeld because I could not be cured of my bed-wetting. . . . Nobody wanted to sit next to a bed-wetter; nobody wanted to have anything to do with a bed-wetter; and, naturally, nobody wanted to sleep in the same room as a bed-wetter. I was suddenly more isolated than ever before. . . . It is no longer possible today to imagine how profoundly desperate I was. On an empty stomach I shouted "Heil Hitler" as the flag was lowered and took part in the marching . . . I had entered a new hell. But I had one companion in my suffering. His name was Quehenberger, a name I shall not forget as long as I live. This was a boy suffering from rickets, with deformed hands and legs. He was thin as a rake. He was the most pitiful figure imaginable, and it was pathetic to see him shouting "Heil Hitler" and marching through the Thuringian Forest. Every night he had a far worse accident than I did: he was doubly incontinent. I can remember exactly how dreadful it was: in the washroom downstairs, where the cellars were, Quehenberger had his soiled sheet wrapped round his head...
quite possible my favorite photo on the internet:
Thomas Bernhard eating an ice-cream cone

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