Консервный нож

by Don  

Last summer I lived in Russia in my own apartment for the first time, so I learned all sorts of new skills... how to pay for the phone, how to pay for the internet, how to add money to my World of Warcraft account... Anyhoo, not too surprisingly, I also cooked. I love to cook. The mix of vegetables and meat and spices... it's simply a joy. But the Russians and the Tatars are really not into spices, so I ended up eventually buying консервы “canned food.” I brought it home, and to my shock, my otherwise well-outfitted kitchen had no can opener. To my greater shock, I realized that I didn't even know the Russian word for can opener. Such ignorance was insupportable! Particularly since it would lead to my personal hunger.

I traipsed over to the nearest department store, waltzed into the kitchen section and said to the clerk:

Мне нужен такой инструмент, которым открываем консервы. Как это называется по-русски? I need the kind of tool that you open canned food with. What is that called in Russian?

He looked at me as if I were a retard, the retardedest of retards, and said:

Консервый нож. A canned-food knife.

Ah. Excellent. I am now somewhat less retarded. Of course, although the phrase word-for-word means “canned-food knife”, the proper translation is simply “can opener”.

Hm... what kind of sentences can we come up with for that lexical item...

Петя открыл банку с персиками консервным ножом. Peter opened a can of peaches with a can opener.
Чёрт, я не могу банку открыть без консервного ножа. Где же он? Damn, I can't open the can without the can opener. Where in the world is it?
— Где инструкция по консервному ножу?
— Ты, что, не умеешь пользоваться консервным ножом?
“Where is the instruction sheet for the can opener?”
“What, you don't know how to use a can opener?”

Those were all kind of boring. Have to come up with something more amusing. Here goes...

— На день рождения Паша подарил своей девушке консервный нож, и она его бросила. “Pasha gave his girlfriend a can opener for her birthday, and she dumped him.”
— Какой он глупец! Такие подарки нельзя девушкам дарить. “What an idiot! You can't give that kind of gift to a girl.”
— Нет, Паша — мужик весьма тонкий, ты его не понимаешь. Он хотел с ней расстаться без всяких скандалов. “No, Pasha is a really subtle guy. You don't understand him. He wanted to leave her without making a scene.”
— Вот это да! Мне стоит поучиться у него. “Wow, I should take lessons from him.”

1 comment

Comment from: Melissa [Visitor]

What a hilarious post! I had a similar experience, only I needed a corkscrew. I asked pretty much the same question you did, and got pretty much the same response, with the added tidbit that I probably didn’t want any of their corkscrews, because “ну, они игрушки какие-то.” (They had resin fruit-figurines on top!)

04/15/11 @ 22:26

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