Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Their Languages Were Different, but the Food Needed No Translation

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Their Languages Were Different, but the Food Needed No Translation

Article excerpt

How fragrances trigger memories! Mint reminds me of long-ago summer picnics by a waterfall. Eau de Cologne triggers the memory of my mother dressing for a dinner party. I smell a burning bread crumb and recall the head of the family engrossed in conversation and therefore overdoing the toastmaking of which he was in charge.

A whiff of spaghetti sauce cooking down at Al Ducci's the other day took me back to an incident when I once spent a week in a friend's home with only a newly arrived Polish woman named Helena.

Her total English vocabulary at the time consisted of "good morning," "good night," "please," "bread," "dinner," and "OK." She had a Polish-English dictionary so worn that it had been covered with brown wrapping paper.

I pointed to words like "thank" and "you." She showed me their Polish equivalents and pronounced them. She liked it when I was able to say "please" and "good night" in her tongue. We did a lot of gesticulating. (Try to explain daylight saving time someday to a person who speaks no English. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.