I need a Russian Larousse Gastronomique
November 23, 2012 9:57 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend any good all-around Russian-English or Russian-French culinary dictionaries, online or in print?

I am trying to decipher some recipes in Maksim Syrnikov's Русская домашняя кухня, and they are kicking my ass.

Specifically, the general purpose dictionaries I own are fine for vegetable and animal names, and really crappy for cuts of meat, or collective nouns of vegetables: I figured out from context that he meant a "bunch of parsley" or "cloves of garlic", but all I can tell from some of the meat phrases is that there was a shank or a shoulder involved.

I have found the following resources so far, but they are far from exhaustive, and seem to cover more ingredients than methods of cooking. As you might surmise from the use of wayback machine, most of these are not recently maintained, as well...

cuts of beef, cuts of beef

cuts of veal

cuts of lamb
, cuts of mutton, cuts of lamb

cuts of pork

Russian food dictionary (does not cover meat)

other food dictionary, somewhat arbitrary choices
posted by ivan ivanych samovar to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Good question. I am pretty good at figuring out recipes in both languages, from reading hundreds and dozens of blogs and websites and cookbooks like novels, so you can always memail me if you like.
posted by tatiana131 at 10:31 PM on November 23, 2012

oh heavens, Tatiana, I hope it doesn't come to that for everything! I will let you know if it does, though. I've already got a scribbled page or so of WTF? vocabulary for a single recipe, which doesn't bode well.

I think part of my kerfufflement is amazement that a) some kind of glossary like that doesn't exist already online for English or (that I can find) French.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 12:16 AM on November 24, 2012

Can you share an example of this WTF vocab? Unless it's a book of outré or historical recipes, I wouldn't expect to find obscure gastronomical terms in a cookbook.
posted by Nomyte at 12:32 AM on November 24, 2012

Yeah, I would suggest putting the terms you're having trouble with here and letting the MeFi userbase have a crack at them; it doesn't seem likely you'll find the specialized dictionary you're hoping for.
posted by languagehat at 10:36 AM on November 24, 2012

Bozhemoi, this is in danger of becoming a Mefi Project™.

I'll chuck some of the befuddlers up here when the baby has her nap. A lot of meat words; of course I had to choose the aspic recipe to dive into the book.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 11:44 AM on November 24, 2012

Try these two glossaries, from ProZ (website for translators): Cooking / culinary and Food & dairy.
posted by bentley at 12:16 PM on November 24, 2012

hrm, is there a way to alphabetize it in Cyrillic, bentley? it looks like a good resource, except for its awful interface.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 1:29 PM on November 24, 2012

I only looked at the first link, but what an idiosyncratic collection! "Отборная устрица из провинции"! "Салатик под водочку"!
posted by Nomyte at 3:24 PM on November 24, 2012

Yeah and looking at the first link, many aren't helpful at all - writing out solianka isn't telling anyone anything. A non-native speaker would need an explanation that it's a soup made from salty components such as smoked meats, pickes and olives that is a popular hangover cure, for instance.
posted by tatiana131 at 5:42 PM on November 24, 2012

And of course, according to Syrnikov, even that solianka definition doesn't cover everything (seriously, some people think it's a casserole? that's almost obscene)

if you squint really hard, you can see the solianka definitions covering the first two paragraphs of this article
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 9:08 PM on November 24, 2012

Okay, here's what I have so far that is in the befuddlement category. Just in the ingredient list for one recipe.

1. студень and холодец both are defined as aspic in my dictionary. What, if any difference, is there? (Also, why have I never seen any spoonerism-style холодец/молодец wordplay? How sheltered am I?)

2. Russian/Soviet/post-Soviet cuts of meat: I know that French (and some British) cuts of meat are wildly different from those used in America. In the lovely charts of meat above, how accurate are the Russian names for cuts of meat, and how accurately do the names correspond to the actual cuts? (i.e., are the phrases used for meat, and are the charts merely a fantasy of the American/Australian meatcutting industry)

3. "2 говяжых путовых сустава (задние голяшка)" I have rendered as "2 beef [something] joints (rear [something]"

4. "1 средний корень петрушки" - 1 medium parsley root seems like the wrong translation. 1 bunch of parsley?

5. "черный перец горошком" - black pepper by means of a pea? peppercorn? a pea-sized amount of black pepper?

Thanks everyone for all the help so far; if I make it as far as getting this recipe translated, I'll stick up a link to it.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 10:27 PM on November 24, 2012

1. студень and холодец are synonims, and regional names for essentially the same thing. Russian wiki clarifies that студень is generally made from beef components only (such as head, feet, brains) and while холодец can contail pork trotters, ears, tails for the gelatin they contain. In practice they're pretty interchangeable names.

2. They seem pretty accurate, but more detailed than you'd find in the average lexicon of a cokbook/blog. Most of the time the cuts of meat used are reasonably basic - pork neck in Russian becomes pork shoulder here. If you have any idea what the recipe typically looks like it's pretty easy to figure out if you should use a fattier cut of meat or leaner. I'd say safely use the charts unless you find a cut that's not there.

3. 2 beef shanks is what you're looking for - essentially bones with lots of cartilage, so that through boiling you can extract the gelatin for aspic, and achieve great mouthfeel of the broth. Veal shanks would be great too, as would aforementioned pork trotters.

4. parsley root is a real thing - some types of parsley are grown as root vegetables and are common in many cuisines. Looks like a pale turnip. You may have a hard time finding it, in which case I'd just skip it. (My family recipe for холодец does not contain parsley root so I don't think it's an absolute must).

5. Black peppercorns is what you're after.

Good luck, if you need more halp, feel free to ask - I enjoy this kind of stuff.
posted by tatiana131 at 1:02 AM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I should clarify that shanks would be the easies to find types of bones, not necessarily exactly голяшки. I'd ask your butcher for knuckles, shin bones, etc. for aspic and he'll know what you mean. The shanks proper typically contain bone marrow which would be muddying the waters for the dish.
posted by tatiana131 at 1:11 AM on November 25, 2012

Russian mother-in-law says that студень и холодец. Are pretty much the same as far as she's concerned, but she would see студень as perhaps just the jelly and холодец as the dish, complete with bits floating in it.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 4:29 AM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

And some diagrams of various cuts of meat, just in case it's helpful.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 5:12 AM on November 25, 2012

ah, aspic the ingredient vs. aspic the dish. that's a good enough hard-and-fast definition for now.

parsley root, ye gods, and I thought celeriac was obscure enough for North America. is there any rough equivalent you can think of, flavorwise, that I could substitute? I have a feeling that I will be memailing you just a few more questions over the next few days...
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 11:08 AM on November 25, 2012

Oddly enough, celeriac and parsnips are thought to be substitutes, but honestly, I'd skip it. We don't use carrots either, so I'm a purist when it comes to aspics. Just meat in garlicky jelly served with a sharp mustard is the best.
posted by tatiana131 at 5:52 PM on November 25, 2012

I was translating this recipe for my cousin the chef, and she was somewhat disappointed that the heaping ladleful of chopped white things in the photo was parsley root, and not garlic.

I suspect the two of you would get along quite well.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 7:23 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I guess I'm late to the translation party! It looks like tatiana131 has the topic covered. I agree that холодец refers to the dish and студень is just a word for something jellied. Parsley root has a mild, kind of… toasted?… flavor. It's like celeriac and parsnips, but without the aromatic piney undertone. I would almost be inclined to recommend water chestnut as a substitute (found canned in supermarkets and Asian grocery stores).
posted by Nomyte at 10:41 AM on November 26, 2012

I might even try to grow parsley root next year. I'd never even heard of it as a root vegetable before!
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 7:49 PM on November 26, 2012

I see it at Whole Foods (and, here on the east coast, at Wegmans) with some regularity. It's not entirely obscure.
posted by Nomyte at 9:06 PM on November 26, 2012

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