« Previous | Main | Next »

I want to move to Belarus!

Post categories:

Abigail Abigail | 11:27 UK time, Thursday, 9 December 2010

Dear Veronika,

Thanks for your extremely well-written guide to your country and its food. And what fantastic photos! You've made me want to cook draniki and rollerskate in front of the Executive Committee. You've used some very good words and phrases, and I'd like to share these with everyone, and offer some help.

Food post
Your food post made me feel very hungry! I'd like to try making draniki. Can you give us a recipe for them? If you do, maybe lots of us will try them, and soon people all over the world will be eating Belarusian food!

I have a question. You say that machanka is a "unique sauce from meat and relish" What do you mean by relish?

You use the word culinary in your post, which is an excellent word. For those who don't know, culinary is an adjective, meaning 'to do with food,' even though it doesnt sound at all like the word 'food.' This happens a lot in English, where we have an English noun, paired up with a Latin adjective, or an adjective from Greek.

liver - hepatic
church - ecclesiastical
year - annual
brother - fraternal

Often the Latin adjective is more formal, and less-well known than the noun. The words culinary and annual are a little formal, but they are well-known and widely-used. You don't need to worry about them.

But some words from Latin or Greek are confusing for English people, who don't always understand them.

When we have no English adjective (eg like 'churchy', instead of ecclesiastical) then we can use the noun itself, instead of an adjective. So we could say 'church traditions' instead of 'ecclesiastical traditions' and we could say 'food traditions' instead of 'culinary traditions.'

Cooking pots - I was interested to hear that now people cook on modern cookers, so you'd be surprised to see an old-fashioned cooking pot. By the way, that's what we call these in English - a pot. A jug is normally something with a handle on one side, and a little 'lip' on the other, for pouring liquids. Like these two - a little blue jug and a measuring jug from my kitchen:

Plastic measuring jug and pottery milk jug

All about Slutsk
Here's another great phrase - you said "I used to be driven by my brother." Used to... is a very useful phrase and again, lots of people don't use it. It doesn't really sound like what it means. As you know, Veronika, if you used to do something, it means you often did it in the past. Your brother used to drive you - so we know he did it lots of times and we also know he doesn't do it anymore.

You are very good at formal, written English. Sometimes it's good to use a more informal, conversational style. You say "should I wish to see my parents" and this is too formal. It would be better to say 'If I want to see my parents.'

You showed us a photo of an ancient stone: "all that can remember you about" the ancient past of Slutsk. Here you need to use the word 'remind'. I remember, because the stone reminds me.

One more question: "There is also a bright Roman-Catholic church in the town." What did you mean by 'bright'?

The Slutsk Belts look very interesting - I agree with Pary, it would be good to hear more about local crafts.

In the village
"A change from the daily routine that makes you perceive time differently." What a beautiful phrase - again you really know how to make a complicated sentence in English! And one of the really good things about that sentence is just the little word make - it's a small word, but not everyone knows how to use it. We use it all the time in English.

'Red and green makes me think of Christmas'
'Seeing them dance made me want to try it'
'The red carpet makes the room look small'

So the word 'make' means 'to cause it to be.' And it's very useful. So thanks to Veronika for showing us that word.

And I found the pictures of the countryside very beautiful, I feel like I can really imagine the place. It's a shame that so many people are leaving the village. It makes me want to move into one of those cottages, next to your grandfather. But I suppose I would also miss the internet... :-)

Once again, looking forward to more posts!
All the best



  • Comment number 1.

    Dear Abigail,
    Nice to see (or read:)you again!
    The recipe has been posted ;) I wish you good luck with making draniki, enjoy!
    And now about English.. Relish was given in my dictionary as sth. like..'spicery', another word for it was 'seasoning'.
    By the way, i've found a recipe of machanka, though i've never tried to do it myself)

    here it is:
    Machanka (serves 4)
    Ingredients: 500g pork, 300ml beef stock, 40g butter, 1 onion, 25g flour, 200ml sour cream, spices and salt to taste
    1. Brown the pork until crisp, add the stock and season.
    2. Cook on the hob for 20 minutes.
    3. In a separate saucepan, sauté the flour for a couple of minutes. Add 2 spoonfuls of stock and stir. Add sour cream and season and cook over a low heat for 5 to 10 minutes.
    4. Fry the onion and add to the pork.
    5. Pour the mixture into an oven dish and add the sour cream.
    6. Cook at 350F for 20 minutes.
    it is recommended there to serve it in the pot, with draniki for dipping :))) So, may be this weekend i'll do draniki and machanka together with all the world :))))

    well, back to English again. I got the difference between 'pot' and 'jug', thank you very much for the explanation. The little blue jug, by the way, is so cute:)

    as to me and my brother, seems it was a little mistake from my side. Though lately i had a lot of free time, went home too often and he didn't drive me, he still does it some times. So, probably, I'd better say 'i am used to be driven' or 'i got used to be driven', wouldn't I?

    And saying 'bright' i meant both red color (it is brighter than on the pic:)and that it is quite noticeable at the district, where it is situated..

    Once again, thank you very much for your helpful posts! and you are always welcome too Slutsk and the village nearby ;)

  • Comment number 2.

    Thank you for the two recipes, I will try them!
    I'm glad your brother still drives you, but it might make the sentence more complicated! You could say 'I'm used to my brother driving me,' which means you're accustomed to it. Or simply say 'he drives me sometimes' (the present tense version of 'he used to drive me').
    And about the 'bright' church - we could say 'a brightly-coloured church' because it's bright red. To mean that it's also prominent, we would need a seperate word of phrase - 'it's a local landmark' (everyone knows it, and can use it to find their way around) or 'it stands out' (meaning you see it straight away, it's very obvious). Do you have a word in your language, which means both bright and prominent?

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Abigail ,
    Hope all troubles of snow has ended up already and you are enjoying your mild weather . This year in Iran we have n't had snow fall and it 's really strange . I remember last year we had lots of raining specially in the end of winter and as a consequence gardeners and farmers had a fruitful year and we ordinary people enjoyed different types of fruits with a bit less prices. About next years God help us.. . We do need to keep our finger crossed for enough snow and raining . By the way I liked the way you gave some help to dear veronica which was helpful to us , too . I 'm waiting to your next posts .
    Have a nice Sunday

  • Comment number 4.

    Yes the weather has been much more 'normal' for a while. I hope you have the weather you need this winter for your vegetables and crops.

    Thanks for your kind words about the blog. I'm glad you've found it useful.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi, Abigail!
    You mentioned a word "jug" in your post.
    May you explain what is the difference between "a jug" and "a jar"?
    Also, it's very interesting, that it has a lip. We call these parts of pots or jugs in Russian "a nose", like a part of face, but different one.
    Thank you for your lessons,
    Ilya from Russia.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.