хлеб с салом

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by slavicist89, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. slavicist89 Member

    English - England
    Hello everybody, I have a query about a concept which I suspect is specific to Russian culture, and it comes from Pavel Kaplevich's online article about how Russian culture is represented throughout the rest of the world: 'Мы как были хлебом с салом для всего мира, так и остались'. The article mentions that it is Pushkin who first compared Russia with this phrase, whatever it means. I am interested to know what this phrase 'хлеб и сало' signifies in Russian culture; is it some sort of idiom? Does it have anything in common with the English idiom 'bread and butter', i.e. 'central', or 'fundamental'? Thanks in advance!
  2. cheburashka Gena Senior Member

    Я сегодня раз пять хлеб с салом ел. Пойду еще съем.
  3. gvozd Senior Member

    No, he meant that Russians, in the eyes of the whole world, are people of low culture, sort of barbarians. We are the nation of paradoxes. We have great literature, art, and so forth, but we often neglect etiquette and look like wild beasts. Maybe because we constantly fight. We fought a lot with other countries, we fight for better living in modern Russia. We live in an extremely rich land, but the population is poor, generally.
  4. Garbuz Senior Member

    Perhaps 'hillbilly' would be a close equivalent.
  5. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    Hi, Gvozd. I personally don't think it means that here, but rather it closer to "bread and butter" -- something essential. (most likely most of the common people in the times of Pushkin ate bread and bacon (sort of) than bread and butter). I would think it means here more something essential. Pushkin loved Russian folk culture, and it is really not that barbaric, after all, compared to other cultures. It has a lot of customs, tales, songs, principles based on folk tradition and the Russian Orthodox Christian tradition (I would think quite developed for a rural tradition). I would have to read more of the article to know exactly what this author meant, but this is closer to what Pushkin meant, in my opinion. It could also mean that the world views Russian culture, as mostly a folk tradition, although that would be strange.
  6. Valvs Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
    I am with Gvozd on that one. I've checked that article by Kaplevich's, and I am pretty sure that Gvozd hit the nail right on the head :)
  7. cheburashka Gena Senior Member

    Сказал так, как будто это что-то плохое. А примеры есть? доказательства?

    С медведями.

    Вы бы поменьше читали всяких новых газет и почаще смотрите 1-ый канал.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  8. Garbuz Senior Member

    В какой, какой канал?
  9. e2-e4 X Senior Member

    Just a note… Culture, of course, is not barbaric, but its neglect is.

    Turning back to the language, the construction "мы как были …, так и остались" is very often used to mean something negatively constant, something that cannot in any way be changed, unfortunately; its direct meaning is that something didn't change despite the course of something else, and, unless someone believes in a certain conspiracy theory, which is very unlikely for an intelligent person, he or she will not use the expression to mean a vague positive thing about a whole nation.
  10. Maroseika Moderator

    I think idea of Pushkin (and Kaplevich) is different than what has been mentioned here above. For the whole world Russia always was nothing more than a supplier of grain and fat (or oil and gas nowadays):

    Все, чем для прихоти обильной
    Торгует Лондон щепетильный
    И по Балтическим волнам
    За лес и сало возит нам...

    As for the modern Russian language, fat (сало) is rather associated with Ukraine, not Russia.
  11. Garbuz Senior Member

  12. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    Yes, you might be right. Pushkin was most likely referring to the agricultural aspect of the country in this poem. He was definitely not referring to the barbarism of the folk Russian culture.
  13. gvozd Senior Member

    Where did I say about the barbarism of the folk Russian culture? I meant that there is a paradox: Russia is a country of great famous culture, but its people are usually considered to be harsh, drunken, ill-mannered etc.
  14. igusarov

    igusarov Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
    I don't think that "хлеб с салом" is a widely used idiom.

    To me, these words in this context mean something along the lines of "plain", "unsophisticated", "uncomplicated". Perhaps, one may push this interpretation further to say "simple" and "undeveloped". The construction "как были так и остались" means "and we have not improved since that time", which implies that the concept he was talking about is negative.

    Think of a bread and butter as the antithesis of a complicated gourmet cuisine.
  15. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    Yes you are right. Bread and butter is something simple and essential, in a way similar to хлеб с салом. What Pushkin meant, however, is that Russia was viewed mainly as the source of meat (pork) and wood.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  16. mumblazer

    mumblazer Member

    I think it is essential that the author used the word сало (lard) here, which makes it completely different from "bread and butter" stuff. "Bread and butter" is a legitimate part of a European breakfast or lunch, whereas lard is considered unhealthy, disgusting food and is simply thrown away by cooks - in all the rest of the world, except Russia and, famously, Ukraine! The underlying idea is: we still can't catch with the rest of Europe and in Europe's eyes Russia remains, well, not quite a European nation. (Note: lard is delicious when it's salty and cooked Ukranian style. When it's cold outside, eating lard may help you feel warm, as it is a very nutritious food. When it's warm or hot in Russia, people are put off lard too.)
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  17. Avanpost Member

    Honestly, I don't think that the expression 'Мы как были хлебом с салом для всего мира, так и остались.' makes any sense. For me, it's a bad confusing metaphor. You had better not take this expression into your head.

    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  18. slavicist89 Member

    English - England
    Dear all, thank you for the very interesting discussion! Gvozd, your interpretation certainly makes sense in the context, as Valvs said - thank you Maroseika for pinpointing the reference back to Pushkin, and Garbuz for the 'hillbilly' suggestion. I put 'hillbilly' into the thesaurus to find something a little less geographically limited (I believe the term is most often used to refer to someone in Southern America) and came out with 'country bumpkin', as this, perhaps, carries across the 'unsophisticated' sense as well as the agricultural element used by Pushkin? What do you think?
  19. gvozd Senior Member

    Probably it would be the best translation.
  20. Sobakus Senior Member

    I beg to differ. "Like centuries before, we're still the world's country bumpkins" doesn't even come close in sense to "Мы как были хлебом с салом для всего мира, так и остались". The primary meaning of the Russian expression was explained by Maroseika.
  21. gvozd Senior Member

    Your suggestions???
  22. Garbuz Senior Member

    I think we need to distinguish here between what Pushkin meant by this phrase and the meaning it aquires in the article by Kapilevich. I haven't read the article itself but my feeling is that Kapilevich picked up the phrase and filled it with content different from what it had in Pushkin's text. In that sense, 'country bumpkin' would probably be ok. BTW 'hillbilly' is associated with the Appalachian region in the US.
  23. gvozd Senior Member

    By the way, could you please explain in details the difference between your English phrase and the Russian one? Who is the most possible individual to give bread and lard? Archduke?
  24. cheburashka Gena Senior Member

    Ближе всего к истине подобрался Маросейка. Тепло, но не совсем. Статью чтоль почитали бы.
  25. Avanpost Member

    What we should do it for? 'Хлеб и сало' is to be eaten. Bad images and articles are to be ignored.
  26. cheburashka Gena Senior Member

    Я сегодня снова делал это. ;)
    Спотрю 1-ый канал, слушаю Радонеж.:)
  27. Garbuz Senior Member

    I've read the article. No, 'country bumpkin' wouldn't do. Should be a different image - something ugly and scary. And it's not what Pushkin meant, so Kaplevich seems to have misused the phrase. I'd suggest a bear muzzle.
  28. gvozd Senior Member

    I applaud you!:thumbsup:
  29. Garbuz Senior Member

    Что ль (ли) (пардон, конечно)
  30. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    Is it because bread and lard sandwiches are usual food breas like to stuff their face (muzzle) with?:D
  31. Garbuz Senior Member

    They are notorious for that.
  32. Maroseika Moderator

    Что-то как-то занесло нас в метафорические дебри... Давайте обратимся к первоисточнику:

    "Австрияки ... вложили миллиарды в раскрутку бренда «Моцарт». Если сейчас спросить, кто главный австриец, все в мире скажут: «Моцарт!».
    А у нас, если спросить, кто первый русский, ответят: «Путин». Ну не может первое лицо государства быть первым лицом страны! Как будто не было Чайковского, Пушкина, того же Гагарина. Мы для всего мира как были хлеб и сало, по пушкинской версии, так и остались".

    Мысль автора представляется мне вполне прозрачной: противопоставляются два подхода к рекламе своей страны: наш и "австрийский". В наше время мир знает Россию не по лучшим ее представителям, которые внесли вклад в культуру всего мира, а по главному чиновнику Путину и как поставщика сырья, так же, как раньше мир знал Россию только как поставщика хлеба (зерна) и сала. Поэтому ни перемазанная салом физиономия, ни простонародность еды тут, как мне кажется, ни при чем.
    Единственное, что перепутал автор у Пушкина - лес и хлеб.
  33. cheburashka Gena Senior Member

    Недавно был проведен опрос, на тему того, с чем у россиян ассоциируется Австрия. Оказалось что с Моцартом она ассоциируется у 4% опрошенных. Ему на пятки наступает кенгуру с 3% голосов. Теперь австрийцы продают различные сувениры с надписью "В Австрии нет кенгуру". Чет их раскрутка как-то не очень...

    Вот интересно, а, например, в немецких газетах пишут что-то вроде «Наша интеграция в мировое пространство абсолютно иллюзорна. Мы для всего мира как были пиво с сосисками, так и остались»?
  34. Garbuz Senior Member

    Боюсь, тон статьи более резкий. Вот фраза, которая, на мой взгляд, отражает мнение автора: "Тенденция одна: мы хотим выглядеть страшными, чтобы нас боялись". Речь идет здесь, явно, не о поставках сырья. И далее: "Притом сало — медвежье. Поэтому медведь на стенде — это не случайно! Сегодня он занимает в мире шестое место среди образов России". Поэтому у меня и возник образ "медвежьей морды". Не цепляйтесь за пушкинскую фразу. Автор привел ее здесь ни к месту и хотел сказать другое.
  35. Sobakus Senior Member

    Bumpkin - noun an unsophisticated or socially awkward person from the countryside (Oxford Dictionary).


    I would also like to point out that translating "duke of Aquitaine" as "аквитанский жареный фазан" would seem rather strange.

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