Category: "Folk medicine"

Сметана

June 7th, 2010 — posted by Don

Some foods you just can't do without. In the States it's almost inconceivable not to have turkey and mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving, or hamburgers at a picnic, or apple pie for dessert. If those foods aren't part of your life, by cracky, then you just aren't a real American and your status as a patriot is open to question. Among those foods that are inherently Russian, among those foods without which you cannot even conceive of a Russian upbringing and without which you cannot have a Russian soul is… сметана sour cream. The noun is a perfectly regular second declension noun:

Sg
Nomсметана
Accсметану
Genсметаны
Preсметане
Dat
Insсметаной

American sour cream is not like Russian sour cream. American sour cream is adulterated with thickening agents to make it firm. If you remove the sour cream from its container, it actually retains the shape of the container… for a while at least.

Russian sour cream flows gently and smoothly, creamy and delicious, just like universal love flowing from the cosmic mind. Fresh and almost without preservatives, you eat Russian sour cream right away, not because you are afraid it will go bad, but because it is so wonderful you would never not eat it all. And like universal love, the Russians pour it over over everything: soups, pancakes, meat dishes, fruits, vegetables… Сметана can even be a dish unto itself. The cafeteria at Moscow State University used to sell glasses full of sour cream for direct consumption, some with sugar added, some without, and people just bought a glassful and ate it with a spoon.

Дочка, купи, пожалуйста, сметану на ужин. Daughter, please buy sour cream for dinner.
Русские любят заправлять борщ сметаной. Russians like to garnish their borscht with sour cream.
Самая свежая сметана бывает на рынке. The freshest sour cream is usually at the farmers' market.

And of course, let's not forget the medicinal powers of sour cream, especially in treating sunburn:

Помните о том, что главное на солнце – это умеренное пребывание, не лежите на пляже с утра до вечера. Но если вы обгорели, смажьте обожжённые места сметаной. (adapted from this source) Remember that the important thing is to spend only a reasonable amount of time in the sun. Don't lie on the beach from morning to evening. But if you do get a sunburn, daub the burned spots with sour cream.

Простуда

May 13th, 2010 — posted by Tatiana

Weakness, cough and stuffed nose - we all have experienced these symptoms of the common cold. It ruins your plans and makes it so hard to get out of bed in the morning. Unfortunately, I feel very closely connected to today’s word right now. XX( I cannot wait to get over it!

In Russian, the common cold is called простуда. It is a noun of feminine gender.

— Ты не знаешь, что с Мишей случилось? Он опять не пришёл на урок.
— Наверное борется с очередной простудой.
“Do you know what happened to Misha? He was once again absent in class.”
“He is probably fighting another cold.”
Из-за моей простуды я уже четвёртый день не встаю с постели. Because of my cold I haven't got out of bed for four days now.
Что вы мне можете рассказать о своей простуде? Какие у вас симптомы? What can you tell me about your cold? What are your symptoms?

The adjective formed from простуда is простуженный.

— Как же ты лекцию читать будешь таким простуженным голосом?
— Ничего страшного, не в первый раз.
“How are you going to lecture with such a husky voice?”
“No big deal. It won’t be the first time.”

There are different methods of treating a cold. I can think of a few now that I remember from my childhood. I think the worst one had to do with garlic and onions. First, naturally, you had to eat a lot of garlic and then hold your head above a pot with fresh cut onions and breathe it in. After that the cold would most likely still be there for a few days, but all self-respecting people and/or vampires would choose to stay away... &#59;D

Here's a cute cartoon that shows other methods we treat the common cold with.

Загар

April 29th, 2010 — posted by Tatiana

With approaching summer and rising temperatures, all the thick layers of warm clothing will soon be coming off. Along with them, the naked truth will come out: what these few cold sunless months have done to your skin. That is what some lucky people worry about, the ones who are actually able to tan. I, personally, cannot do so. I gave up a long time ago and made peace with my sad white existence. I live in Arizona, where the sun shines most of the year, so you might think my skin would cooperate… You’d be wrong.

In Russian tan is called загар. It is a noun of male gender. Its diminutive form is загарчик. However, загарчик is usually used as a joke, to describe bad or even unfortunate tan cases.

Ты видела Катин загарчик? Одна сторона красная, другая - белая! Она на пляже на боку заснула. "Did you see Katya’s tan? One side is red and the other is white! She fell asleep on her side on the beach."
— У тебя очень красивый загар. Ты в солярий ходила?
— Нет, я только что из отпуска вернулась.
“You have a beautiful tan. Did you go to the tanning salon?"
“No, I just came back from my vacation.”
— Что-то ты слишком бледная, что такое?
— Всё нормально. Это ты меня просто без загара не видел.
“You are too pale, is anything wrong?”
“Everything is fine. It’s just you haven’t seen me without tan.”

The adjective formed from загар is загoрелый.

Витя такой загорелый с Гавайев вернулся, прямо не узнать! "Vitya came back from Hawaii so tanned; I barely recognized him!"
И почему я не могу такой же загoрелой быть, как Оля? Мне бы пошло! "Why can’t I be as tanned as Olya? It would look good on me!"

Unfortunately, sometimes we want that perfect tan so much that we forget what a few extra minutes in the sun can do to our skin. However, if you have overdone it, I know the best way to treat it! Brace yourself: it’s sour cream! All of my American friends make fun of my folksy methods; but the truth is that it really works! Just apply fresh sour cream on your sunburned skin and leave it for a few minutes. Not only does it feel refreshing and calms down the burning sensation but it also helps the burns subside faster. The trick is to apply it as soon as possible. Ever since I can remember, my family has used sour cream to treat the sunburns. So, I hope you all will be careful and won’t get sunburned. However, if it happens, you should try this method. Trust me, you won’t regret it!