Thursday, November 09, 2006

Czech delicacies

Personally, I blame the intense discussion about knedlik (Czech potato dumplings) that proceeded these events for filling my mind with the most unlikely thoughts. I mean, there was some guy rattling on about how knedlik were like fine wine, or beer, to choose a more apt cultural metaphor. The taste had to be cultivated, but once acquired, the desire for potato dumplings would hold you in its deathly grasp for all time. No more would a victim, or their goulash meal accompaniments, be the same.

Fortunately for the fate of my dining future, I'm not one of the goulash-guzzling fraternity, but I was wholly absorbed as the gentleman described in halting terms his slow recovery from the knedlik-eating pit in which he had dwelt for so long.

Then, a discussion of my goulash-dodging tendancies steered the conversation into the calmer waters of mushroom-picking. This, the couple described as a traditional Czech sport, "like hunting, but not so violent." Throughout the year, it's possible to see people tripping through the city streets with baskets filled with freshly-foraged fungi (look, kids, alliteration!). Wicker baskets, even. People even take special mushroom-hunting holidays (more alliteration!).

So I had food fantastic on the brain when I headed off to exercise my feeble Czech language skills and deal with my share of the meal bill. To pay for my fried aubergine salad with warm stinky garlic and balkan cheese spread (mmmmmm...), I announced to the (fluent-English-speaking) waitress in my best "stress-on-the-first-syllable-banged-out-on-the-desk" Czech that I had eaten "smaženy lístek". Sounds good, you might think.

Except that Czech for aubergine is "lílek". Last night, dear reader, I proudly announced to the waitress and half the patrons of the restaurant that I had eaten fried menu.


Sallyacious said...

I once ordered a newspaper on ice in a Spanish cantina. I bet your fried menu was a good deal tastier.

Ginny said...

very funny! Still, I think a second to me using the wrong German word for "excited" and telling half the school that I was very aroused to be their language assistant that term!

Anonymous said...

Now I want knedlik. (Not that I ever had them before, mind you, but addictive potato dumplings - what's not to love?)

EvilAuntiePeril said...

newspaper on ice... mmm... wood pulp... nice one, sallyacious.

gins, ahh.... German. Language of so many pitfalls for the unwary anglophone. Like the whole "ich bin heiss/mir ist heiss", issue. Think my own personal worst linguistic foot-in-mouth evah! has happened in German.

Beth - for knedlik, see today's post. I'm hungry.