Russian Is Easy: Bans for Brekkers

ban-s-rostbifom

One reason Russian has become a lot easier over the past ten or twenty years is that Russia’s creative classes have been strenuously churning their native tongue into a Russified variety of English.

Here’s a great example, as suggested to me just now by one of Mark Zuckerberg’s algorithms, which know I adore this ghastly self-hating twee monster called Rusglish.

At one of Chef Aram Mnatsakanov’s tiny empire of restaurants in Petersburg, Jérôme (don’t ask), you can order something called ban s rostbifom and ban s svininoi for brekkers.

menu

It’s not the rostbif and svinina (“roast beef” and “pork”) that caught my eye. They’ve long been part of the great and mighty Russian language.

What caught me eye was the word ban (bun). Why were “Russia’s Jamie Oliver” (not my coinage) and Co. unable to condescend to the perfectly Russian, extremely ordinary, and utterly comprehensible word bulochka (“bun”) when writing up the menu?

Because that would have sounded too common. For €6.77 a pop Mnatsakanov’s diners expect something “fancier” (as Mum would have put it) than a plain old bulochka their babushkas could have baked for them out of the kindness of their lonely hearts.

Mnatskanov’s customers don’t want kindness. They want conspicuous consumption. And they want it labeled, at least partly, in English, even if that English is as supremely common and humble as “bun” (ban). TRR

Images courtesy of Jérôme

God Is Great

Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat.

 

[At Kuzyna House on New Holland] Asian, European, Mediterranean, and even South Americans are combined in the simple food [sic] tradition. For example, starters include burrata with honey, persimmon, and truffle oil (780 rubles), and the main courses include poached salmon with a champagne and caviar cream sauce (990 rubles), marinated Korean barbecue ribs (750 rubles), and grilled chicken with green salsa (620 rubles).

[…]

The intellectual cluster [sic] A Beautiful Mind was conceived by psychotherapist Andrei Kurpatov, famous for his TV show on Channel One. Alexei Yermakov (El Copitas) is in charge of the kitchen.

Source: “December’s 22 Cafes, Bars, and Restaurants (Petersburg),” The Village, 28 December 2016

"10 Serials for the New Year's Holidays: Fontanka.ru's Choice."
“10 Serials for the New Year’s Holidays: Fontanka.ru’s Choice.”

Source: Fontanka.ru

Needless to say, all ten serials in question are either British or US serials.

Photo by the Russian Reader

Meatball Rap

Forget about Mikhail Kosenko, the “prisoners of May 6,” Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and other inmates in the country’s wretched penitentiary system, the demolition of the country’s welfare system, the devastating floods in the Far East, the destruction of Russia’s cultural and research institutes, the gutting of labor rights, the demonization of migrant workers, and all that. What really matters to the country’s most progressive class and the handsomely remunerated foreign observers who keenly catalogue its whimsical traipsings atop the corpses and prone bodies of fellow countrymen is the meatball wrap.

1150382_534586973255260_364090700_n

As we talk, Denisova brings me a vegetable stir-fry with buckwheat noodles and a glass of sea buckthorn juice laced with honey and goji berries. It hits the spot: light and healthful.