Thursday, January 22, 2009

Beta vulgaris

Note to self: that's the Latin name for beet.

A Vigilant Reader sent me this link for the evil black radish (Raphanus niger). I especially like the bit about how they "have a strong bitter flavor and are often responsible for bloating." Shudders.

But let us clear our minds of such unpleasant thoughts.

Let's talk about chocolate.

One of the blogs I follow posted this today about a Russian chocolate brand called Alenka. I am familiar with Alenka chocolate and its lovely, very Russian-y packaging. I buy it sometimes. However, because the product name is written in italic, I had no idea what the name of the brand was until this morning when I read the article.

An aside: Don't get me started on the script or italic Cyrillic . . . letters change completely in the switch from block print to this. I can read regular Cyrillic well enough to sound things out. But when it's script . . . and you would be amazed how many menus are . . . I don't even try. But the handy chart below, although cut off, highlights the six most drastic differences.
а б в г д е ё ж з и й к л м н о п р с т у ф х ц ч ш щ ъ ы ь э ю я
а б в г д е ё ж з и й к л м н о п р с т у ф х ц ч ш щ ъ ы ь э ю я
Back to chocolate.

The beaming child's face always reminds me of Baboo as a child.

And, on my very first trip to Moscow, I saw the Alenka advertising on the outside of the main Detsky Mir store. Not knowing about the chocolate, I thought it was an ad for the Russian toy store, and, in any case, was impressed enough by the image to take a picture of it. I remember talking about the irony of how this serene image was on the building right next door to Lubyanka, the former KGB headquarters.

Then, sometime last school year, Baboo told me she needed several of these chocolate bars for a school project. She was very specific, "The ones with the baby on them."

The result came home a few weeks later in the form of a Mother's Day tribute. A very clever art project, too.


valentina said...

OH I love Baboo's card and it does look just like her with her pearly skin and blue, blue,heavenly blue eyes! I love the way she's made herself, well the baby cut out, swaddled it, into one of those little nesting Russian dolls with only her little hands revealed. I can't remember the word for them, some M word...and that little kitty cat, I think it's a kitty at her feet! How adorable!

What a fabulous mural that is and of course the irony of being next door to the KGB, the juxtaposition of the innocence and the sinister...

We are all walking on air back here in the states-- Oh Brave New World in the sense of WM S and not Huxley of course... I have been talking to my students about how they can find meaningful work for a couple of years until the economy improves--how they can join teaching corps and float for a couple of years before entering their career paths... that it can be a purposeful and growth filled digression... I even quoted the Stones. " You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you can get what you need..."

Tomorrow is supposed to be 40! Hooray for that! Right now there is about an inch of snow on the ground and I am hoping by midday it will have melted away!

Hope you are well and happy and warm in your new puffy coat!

We are all waiting to hear the full results, the performance of your film debut!

xo v

Tina in CT said...

Tamara brings that chocolate home every time she comes. I just sent some to Annie, Rachel and Tami from Tamara. I think the wrapping is so precious.

Really cute what your daughter made at school with the wrapper.

The Expatresse said...

V: you are thinking of those matryoushka or nesting dolls. That was the assignment. They all did this, but, of course, they all came out slightly different.

Yes, that is Cat-O at her feet.

kate said...

Hmmm...what did the boys make? The same? Women's Day will be here before we know it...

Jen said...

The artwork is adorable!

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