Categories: Food, Alcohol, Beverages, Candy, Flesh, Salmon, Fruit, Berries, Herbs & spices, Garlic, Milk products, Soup, Utensils, Vegetables
You probably know that chocolate is шоколад in Russian and that potato is картошка. So what if you wanted to say ‘chocolate potato’? In English you simply put the two nouns together in a row. In Russian you can't normally put two nouns together like that and have the first one modify the second. Instead you have to put the first one into adjective form. The adjective from шоколад is шоколадный, so chocolate potato comes out шоколадная картошка.
Now if you are an American, you are probably asking yourself, “Why the heck would I want to say ‘chocolate potato’ in English, much less in Russian?” Oh, my poor ignorant American friend. You need to go to Russia and try the pastry they call шоколадная картошка. You will think you have died and gone to heaven. I encountered my first ones the other day. It was in a little convenience store.
“Are those chocolate?” I asked.
“They are mumble mumble potato mumble,” she replied.
Potato, huh? They kind of look like yeti testicles covered in brown bread crumbs, but what the hell, I'll give 'em a try.
Home. I chomp. OMG! These are a chocolate potato candy! I swoon, I can't stop salivating.
|Я съел десять штук шоколадных картошек.||I ate ten chocolate potatoes.|
|Дайте, пожалуйста, шоколадную картошку, три штуки.||Chocolate potatoes, please, three of them.|
|— Не ешь шоколадную картошку, а то у тебя будут прыщики.
— Это полнейший бред. Шоколад лечит прыщики.
|“Don't eat any chocolate potatoes or you'll get pimples.”
“That's complete bunk. Chocolate cures pimples.”
|— Из чего делают шоколадную картошку?
— Из яиц, сахара, шоколадного печенья, масла, молока и какао.
|“How do you make chocolate potatoes?”
“With eggs, sugar, chocolate cookies, butter, milk and cocoa powder.”
It turns out that they have no potato in them at all, so in fact they are not chocolate potato candy. They are just deliriously delicious pastries.
Here's a picture of my stove here in Казань.
It's a gаs stove. A gas stove is a good stove. An electric stove is a bad stove. You can NOT properly warm a tortilla on an electric stove. Oh sure, you can sort of warm it up, but it just isn't the same. I'm an Arizona boy, and I can tell you this for sure. Of course, I'm in Russia and there aren't any tortillas here. But a gas stove is still a good stove. But before today I didn't know the word for a stove's burner, which is конфорка. It's fairly regular and has the fill vowel you would expect in a word ending in -ка.
Very often people pronounce the word комфорка, though it's considered a mistake. Myself, I don't consider it a mistake since the word was borrowed from Dutch komfoor. Still, you mustn't spell it that way.
|Я включил переднюю левую конфорку и поставил на неё кастрюлю.||I turned on the front left burner and set a pot there.|
|На задней левой конфорке стояла сковородка с котлетами.||A frying pan with meat patties was on the back left burner.|
|Включи конфорку и поставь чайник.||Turn on the burner and put the tea kettle on.|
|Когда я зажёг конфорку, из неё пошло такое пламя, что у меня обгорели брови.||When I turned on the stove, a flame shot out of the burner and I burned my eyebrows.|
|Выключи конфорку.||Turn the burner off.
Turn off the burner.
A word from English that has invaded Russian over the last umpteen years is фреш. It seems to have a couple of meanings. McDonald's in Russia seems to think they can call something фреш if the just throw a leaf of lettuce on it. Thus we have the Двойной Фреш Макмаффин™ Double Fresh McMuffin™
and the Фреш Ролл™ Fresh Roll™
That's a pretty cheesy use of the word fresh in my view.
But the word is incredibly widely used to mean freshly squeezed juices, which technically in Russian is said свежевыжатые соки. Lots of Russian restaurants do this now. If you want apple juice, they'll just throw an apple in a juicer for you and Bob's your uncle. If you want lemon juice, they'll throw in a lemon. For instance:
|Я встретилась с подругой в кафе, по привычке заказала фреш яблочный. (adapted from this source)||I met a friend at a cafe and ordered a fresh apple juice out of habit.|
|Одна из посетительниц кафе-бара заказала фреш из томатов, болгарского перца, сельдерея и авокадо. (source)||One of the cafe-bar's customers ordered a fresh juice made of tomatoes, bell pepper, celery and avocado.|
|Начни День Правильно! Замени Кофе Фрешем! (adapted from this source)||Start The Day Right! Replace Your Coffee With Freshly Squeezed Juice!|
|Я решила себя побаловать фрешем. (adapted from this source)||I decided to treat myself to a fresh juice.|
|Она заказала морковный ,бл#, фреш! А я хочу холодной водочки! Романтики не будет. (adapted from this source)||She ordered a goddammed carrot juice! And I want cold vodka. No loving tonight.|
You'll find фреш used a lot of other ways too. For instance, you can find a restaurant called Фреш Суши. Pears with crème fraîche can be called груши с крем-фрешем. I've even seen fresh birch sap referred to as берёзовый фреш. If you readers come across other interesting uses. Do post a comment below.
The Russian word for tea is чай. It declines like this:
You don't usually find the plural forms, but occasionally they are used to mean ‘types of tea.’ Mostly you just use the singular.
|Фу, чай уже остыл.||Yuck, the tea has already grown cold.|
|— С чем ты любишь чай?
— Я люблю чай с лимоном.
|“What do you like with your tea?”
“I like tea with lemon.”
|— Ты любишь зелёный чай?
— Мне всё равно, но мне больше нравится чёрный чай.
|“Do you like green tea?”
“I have nothing against it, but I like black tea better.”
|— Я очень интересуюсь чаем.
— В смысле, ты любишь чай пить?
— Да нет, у меня аллергия на чай. Я интересуюсь историей чая и тем, как чай стал таким популярным в России и Средней Азии.
|“I'm really interested in tea.”
“You mean you like to drink tea?”
“Oh, no, I’m allergic to tea. I'm interested in the history of tea and how it became so popular in Russia and Central Asia.”
Tea always reminds me of a classic English joke. Supposedly between Lady Astor and Winston Churchill there was constant verbal sparring:
|ЛА: Винстон, если бы я была вашей женой, я бы подсыпала яд в ваш чай.
ВЧ: Мадам, если бы Вы были моей женой, я бы сразу же его выпил.
|LA: Winston, if I were your wife, I would poison your tea.
WC: Madam, if you were my wife, I would promptly drink it.
If you were to make a list of the most classically Russian dishes, щи would be at the top. Щи is a cabbage soup. It usually includes some beef, and the meat and cabbage are cooked separately. The word only occurs in the plural, which results in this curious declension pattern:
You can't mention щи without mentioning the saying «Щи да каша — пища наша» “Cabbage soup and boiled grain is our kind of food.” People say this when they are putting ordinary food on the table to indicate that they aren't fancy-shmancy gourmands with expensive tastes. They are just good ol’ down home folks with simple desires. The American equivalent would be something like “We’re meat and potatoes folks.” Here are some sample sentences.
|— Из чего делают щи?
— Надо ли спрашивать? Из капусты, говядины, лука и картошки.
|“What do they make cabbage soup from?”
“Do you really have to ask? Cabbage, beef, onion and potatoes.”
|Фу, в моих щах плавает муха!||Yuck, there is a fly floating in my cabbage soup!|
|— Я люблю щи заправлять майонезом.
— Правда? Лучше сметаной.
|“I like to top my cabbage soup with mayonaisse.”
“Really? Sour cream is better.”
|К щам лучше подавать чёрный хлеб, а не белый.||It's better to serve black bread with cabbage soup, not white [bread].|