Things I might never learn

There are some things that are very unintuitive and hard to learn in another language.  Maybe the things that are difficult to learn are individual – maybe not.  I’ll have to ask around.

For me something that I probably will never learn are names of bird and fish.  With fish, my main problem is with the critters one eats.  I know what a shark looks like, I even know the Spanish word for shark.  I can also handle salmon and tuna with bravado –  but as soon it gets much more specific I have to pass.  I eat Mahi Mahi and striped bass, talapia, sole and haddock without any idea what these things are and how they are called in German.  Same for birds – but there I know the few ones one eats – but the rest: forget it.

Let's make it even more complicated and throw in some French, pic: peevishmama.com

On a day to day basis this isn’t a real issue – I am not a bird watcher so who cares what that little fluffy looking birdie over there is called.  Where it really matters and I fall woefully short is when it comes to different kinds of meat.  Here I am with my husbands ultimate Austrian cookbook in hand in the meat section at the supermarket puzzling whether I should get a Porterhouse steak, or a skirt steak, which one is better and which one translates most accurately into what the recipe calls for.

Unfortunately, the people working at the local supermarket are no help.  I learned that the hard way when one day I waltzed in and after some searching asked where the veal was.  The  guy working the meat counter looked at me with a puzzled expression “veal, veal …. hmm …. that’s baby cow, right?”

So I keep puzzling and buying the wrong stuff and inventing recipes around the wrong piece of meat.  Helps my creativity.  Got to look at the bright side, right?  That’s a very American thing to do.

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