Sunday, April 20, 2008

"быстро! vous plait"

Meat after all, yes. But this word souds familiar for all russian speakers. Even for those frome the first level: "Where did I heard this?"

Bistro as a concept was developed in Paris. Bistros are restaurants defined mostly by the foods they serve. The word "bistro" may come, , if we believe the urban legend, from the Russian быстро (bystro) which means quick. According to an urban legend, it entered the French language during the Russian occupation of Paris in 1815. Cossacks who wanted to be served quickly would shout "bistro!".

Is this true? Larousse Gastronomique, the world's ultimate culinary encyclopedia, states that the word bistro did not appear in the French language until 1884, nearly seventy years after the Russians had left. The most likely origin is doubtless an abbreviation of the word bistrouille, a French slang word for a mixture of coffee and cheap brandy once served at such places. So writes, whose autority in this subject I can not discuss.

(Image: "At the Bistro," Jean Beraud)


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Ronan said...

very interesting! I'm an Irishman presently in Mogilev, Belarus, contemplating opening a bistro. This point will go down very well with the locals!!