We are sitting outside a restaurant/cafe/bar on the edge of the village square of Cheget.
I say square but it is more “square” by function than “square” by shape, insofar that it is an un-surfaced, dusty, potholed open space around which various commercial buildings in varied states of repair sit. These buildings are almost exclusively hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars. We are luxuriating in cool Russian beers which we are drinking in isolation and in deference to our Muslim companions. I think we are drinking Terek, which is OK, but is really no different from any other average cold lager beer encountered anywhere else in the world.
As the danger passes we remain gripped by the menu, which is cheerfully presented and unusually written in English. For breakfast you can have “Rise Porridge”, which (in the guise of rice porridge) I can attest to as actually being very nice and wholesome. On the salad menu is among others “salad fondness”, and for a first course you can dine on “Ear of Salmon”. I yearn for “Toe of Trout”, “Breast of Bream” or “Tongue of Tilapia” but regrettably these choices do not appear. Both Salmon and Trout do however figure in the section entitled “Dishes on the Grill (Kebabs)” as does “The liver in fat.” However under the section marked “Garnishes”, together with boiled potatoes, rice, and buckwheat is the intriguing dish “Roast the potatoes for a rural.” Perhaps it is the beer kicking in but we cannot fathom what this may mean.
That evening we ask Vladimir what he thinks the true translation of this dish may be. What, we ask, would be his translation of whatever Russian description was at the root of this strange mistranslation? He misunderstands the question and describes the dish, which (as I remember) is fried slices of potato. But I am still intrigued as to what the correct translation of “Roast the potatoes for a rural” ought to be.