Hunger is the best cook

28-05-2005

Welcome to the ABC of Czech, where this season we are looking at vocabulary connected to Czech food and cuisine. We'll be talking about Czech idioms related to food.

Let's start with sayings about hunger - hlad. If you are very hungry, in Czech that means you are hungry like a wolf - mám hlad jako vlk. If you're hungry, everything tastes ten times better because hlad je nejlep¹í kuchaø - hunger is the best cook (or hunger is the best sauce, as the English saying goes).

But one has to earn one's food because bez práce nejsou koláèe - there aren't cakes without labour and there is no such land in the world where peèení holubi lítají do huby - roast pigeons fly straight into your mouth.

Some people have to work very hard to earn their living and Czechs call such jobs tvrdý chléb - hard bread, or tvrdý chlebíèek - which means the same but only uses the diminutive form of the word. Bread is such an important staple food that you can never become tired of it and Czechs say: chléb se nikdy nepøejí - one can never overeat when eating bread.

Also, our ancestors knew very well that sharing good food is an important bonding experience in relationships. And that's why Czechs say láska prochází ¾aludkem - love passes through the stomach. If your stomach can take anything, people can say you have kachní ¾aludek - the stomach of a duck, as ducks are believed to be able to digest almost everything. If, on the contrary, you are feeling queasy, you can say mám ¾aludek jako na vodì - my stomach feels like on water, meaning unstable and weak.

And to end on a more positive note, a popular idiom says jak k jídlu, tak k dílu - literally, as with food, so to work. It means that if you are a hearty eater, you should also work hard, and vice versa.

And that's about all we have time for today, but we'll be back again with more expressions related to Czech food and cuisine. Till then, dobrou chu» - bon appetit!

28-05-2005