Saturday, November 05, 2005

Lesson 9 - Food

How do you feel about food? Я люблю поесть! (I love to eat!) most people will say.

 Whether you love it or hate it, we deal with food and talk about food every single day. That reminds me, I have to throw together PLOV (rice-based national dish of Uzbekistan) for tonight ( right back.

(Natalia making noise in her kitchen)

First, let me give you a list of some popular food items in Russian:

Хлеб - bread
Соль - salt
Сахар - sugar
Яйца - eggs

- caviar

Масло - butter
Молоко - milk
Кефир - kefir (a sour-tasting drink made from cow's milk fermented with certain bacteria.)
Сок - juice
Овощи - vegetables
Фрукты - fruit
Сыр - cheese
Мясо - meat

Рыба - fish

Колбаса - sausage
Шоколад - chocolate
Торт - cake

Вода - water

Пиво - beer
Шампанское - champaign
Водка - vodka
Чай - tea

Кофе - coffee

Just to name a few. Now, some dishes in Russian:

Салат - salad

Плов - plov (Uzbek-style Rice Pilaf)
Суп - soup
Горячее - main course
Беф-строганов - Beef Stroganoff
Солянка - Russian Spicy Meat Soup

Борщ - Ukranian Beet Soup

Винегрет - Russian “Pink” Salad Vinaigrette
Пельмени - Beef dumplings
Грибы Фаршированные - Stuffed Mushrooms
Баклажанная икра - Chopped eggplant simmered with tomatoes, carrots, pepper and onion.
Селедка под шубой - Chilled slices of vinegar-marinated herring, served with sliced onions, turnip salad, boiled potatoes with a touch of butter and fresh dill.
Блины - Crepes

Шашлык - Kebab

Голубцы - Cabbage leaves stuffed with meat+rice mixture
Фаршированный Перец - Stuffed Greeen Peppers

Below is the dialog from today's lesson. Let's try to make an order at one of the Russian restaurants. It's lunch time and you are a client, клиент (speaking in masculine gender in this dialog) at one of the nicer Russian resaturants.

By now I am sure you will be able to greet your server (официант) properly in Russian. You would say 'Добрый день', 'Здравствуйте', but never 'Привет' or 'Здорово'....Leave the latter for your friends and family.

Your официант would probably ask you if you'd want a starter.

Официант: Что вы хотите на закуску?
Server: What would you like for a starter?

Клиент: Порцию фаршированных грибов, пожалуйста.
Client: A serving of stuffed mushrooms, please.

Официант: Отлично. Что закажeте из горячего?
Server: Great. What would you like for your main course?

Клиент: Я возьму борщ со сметаной. А винегрет у вас есть?
Client: I'll take some borsch with sourcream. Do you have vinaigrette on the menu?

Официант: Конечно есть. У нас отличный винегрет!
Server: Of course we do. We serve one great-tasting vinaigarette!

Клиент: Тогда возьму тарелочку и винегрета.
Client: Then I'll take a plate of vinaigrette as well.

Официант: Так, а на второе что будем? Позвольте порекомендовать Вам голубцы.
Server: OK. What would you have for your second course? May I recommend Golubtzi to you?

Клиент: Голубцы так голубцы. Давненько я их не едал.
Client: Golubtzi it will be. Haven't eaten them in a long time.

Официант: Очень хорошо. Что будете пить? У нас есть чай, кофе, пиво, шампанское, водка.
Server: Very well. What are we going to drink? We have tea, coffee, beer, champaign, vodka.

Клиент: Ну для спиртного еще рановато, да и компания нужна. Принесите мне просто кофейку.Client: It's a bit too early for alchohol, and one has to have company for that. Why don't you just bring me coffee.

Официант: Сделаем так, как скажете! Через парочку минут принесу закуску.
Server: Will do as you ask. I'll bring your starter in a couple of minutes.

Клиент: Спасибо.
Client: Thanks.

After your meal, if you are inclined to do so, you can leave a tip (чаевые), which is between 18-20% of your bill. Leaving a tip is still only customary at upscale restaurants in Russia as my sources tell me.

Today, I'm gonna play a song from a Russian comedy called "Кавказская Пленница" ("The Prisoner of Caucasus"). The song is titled "A Song about Bears". It's a funny song about polar bears who spin the axis of the Earth so that the life would go on. :) And how do they do that? They rub their backs against the axis!

Где-то на белом свете
Там где всегда мороз
Трутся спиной медведи
О земную ось

Мимо плывут столетья
Спят подо льдом моря
Трутся об ось медведи
Вертится земля

Ля ля ля ля ля ля ля
Вертится быстрей земля
Ля ля ля ля ля ля ля
Вертится быстрей земля

Трутся они стараясь
Вертят земную ось
Чтобы влюблённым раньше
Встретиться пришлось

Чтобы однажды утром
Раньше на год иль два
Кто - то сказал кому - то
Главные слова

Ля ля ля ля ля ля ля
Главные сказал слова
Ля ля ля ля ля ля ля
Главные сказал слова

Вслед за весенним ливнем
Раньше прийдёт рассвет
И для двоих счастливых
Много - много лет

Будут сверкать зарницы
Будут ручьи звенеть
Будет туман клубиться
Белый как медведь

Ля ля ля ля ля ля ля
Вертится быстрей земля
Ля ля ля ля ля ля ля
Вертится земля

Где-то на белом свете
Там где всегда мороз
Трутся спиной медведи
О земную ось

Мимо плывут столетья
Спят подо льдом моря
Трутся об ось медведи
Вертится земля

Ля ля ля ля ля ля ля
Вертится быстрей земля
Ля ля ля ля ля ля ля
Вертится быстрей земля

Ля ля ля ля ля ля ля
Вертится быстрей земля
Ля ля ля ля ля ля ля
Вертится быстрей земля


Anonymous said...

Fantastic Lesson Natalia - balshoye spaseeba. Congrats on the sucess of your podcast on iTunes, you deserve it for all the energy you have put into this.



Natalia said...

Пожалуйста, Zac. I had lots of fun putting this one together!

Anonymous said...

Great podcast ! I wish this had been available 5 years ago when I was learning Russian the hard way :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Natalia,

If your listeners really need the transliteration of the words in Cyrillic, they can type them into this free online translator:

There is a check box underneath the top window called "translit" that, when checked, will return exactly what they've been asking you for!

Hope this is helpful!


Anonymous said...


I just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying your show. Though I've been studying Russian for the past three months, I only found out about your show this past week, and during that time, it has helped my vocabulary and pronunciation so much!

Thank you for taking the time to produce "A Spoonful of Russian." I am greatly looking forward to the next episode.

from Little Rock, Arkansas

Anonymous said...


Я хотел бы сказать, что мне очень нравится ваши подкасти! Я учил русский язык в колледж (another cognate!) в 1980, и я только что начал учить русский снова. Ваши уроки очень полезны! Большое спасибо, Натальия!

(Grammar is my weak point, so I hope I didn't make too many mistakes!)


Natalia said...

Jason and Bill, thank you for your comments. I wish you success in your Russian studies! And Bill, you did better than you think:)

Horse N. Buggy said...

Your photo of Caviar reminds me of the first time I ate it. I was in Moscow having tea in someone's apartment. Growing up in the States, I had only seen black caviar, not this red/orange stuff. I spread some of what I thought was a sweet fruity jam on my bread. Of course, I didn't taste anything like that! It was all I could do to swallow the caviar. Since I didn't want to be rude, I ate the whole piece of bread, but it was difficult for me.

By the way, I think it would be cute to change "bite" to "byte" in the tagline of your podcast. Bite or byte, you're doing a great job either way!

Anonymous said...

Hello, Natalia,

I was looking for the lyricks of the song which you use in this lesson, and I was surprised to find them on an English page. I read the lesson and was really impressed. That is the way any language should be taught. But being a native speaker of Russian I'd remark that "Давненько я их не едал" could sound rather strange in that situation, it seems too informal. But all the rest is great!

Chu said...

Здравствуйте Наталя!

Seems like I got to know of this podcast channel a little late! (2 years later? Man, what have I been doing?)

Anyway, GREAT work; I love that each podcast is short, but packed with just the right amount of information for us to absorb and not just drown in! :D I do have one request though - I know that among Russians, it's common to leave out the 'ё' and just type 'е' in its place, but could you please type 'ё' for us in your transcripts and notes? It'd make figuring out the pronunciation easier (as well as the spelling, since we're non-native speakers here). I vaguely remember you mentioning that you use a Powerbook, if that's the case and you're using the traditional Russian keyboard, it's the "\" key (:

Keep up the awesome job!

Hamish Liddell said...

Your podcast is very enjoyable to listen to, Natalia, especially your episode about food. Actually, I listen to it again and again so that I can pronounce it correctly. Looks like I'm going to eat some plov first while listening to other episodes.

Natalia said...

Hamish, you're welcome:)