I may have gotten turned around somewhere on the details, but a very long time ago, my mother introduced me to ghee
, which I understand to be clarified butter with all of the water boiled out of it, leaving behind a golden liquid that I love to cook with.
Ghee tends to be a pretty pricey item in most health food stores (a 16 oz jar runs for about $10 in Durango, and it's about $12, if memory serves, at the recently opened market here in Pagosa), but if you don't mind standing over a stove for about 20 minutes, you can make about that much for the price of a pound of butter (and the energy it takes to melt it and boil out the water).
The basic procedure consists in melting the butter over moderate heat and then watching it—listening to it, actually—until it stops bubbling. The cessation of bubbling means the water in the mixture has boiled away, at which point I turn off the heat and let the process continue for a minute or two. If you cooked the butter over medium heat, you do not risk burning the product by finishing it off this way.
Typically, all of the solids will have migrated to the bottom of the pot, but I use a small piece of cheesecloth to filter out the few remaning solids that refused to sink. First, however, I pour the liquefied ghee
into a quart Pyrex measuring cup and prepare the ghee
container (a wide-mouthed screw-top jar) by running hot water over the outside surface. Then I pour the ghee
through the cheesecloth into the jar, screw on the cap, and let it sit for a little while before putting it in the fridge.
The wide-top of the jar helps in digging out the product for use in cooking, and the ghee
itself gives a nice taste to the food you prepare with it.* * *
One of the things that perennially drive me nuts about Russian is the language's seeming insistence on using formulations of the form:
Питер больше чем в два раза меньше чем Москва
[St. Petersburg] is more than two times smaller than Moscow
The engineer in me protests. It's the word "times" that does me in, I think. The word screams
"multiplication" at me, but multiplying anything by a number greater than one doesn't result in a number that's smaller
than what you started with.
A few moments of reflection make clear what is intended. Something that is "two times smaller" is "half the size"; "three times smaller" is "one-third the size." In a recent translation, however, I ran across something that was "1.5 times smaller," which—using the pattern of inverting the number, i.e., 2 becomes 1/2, etc.—is the same as 1/1.5, or "two thirds the size."
The example above contains an additional nuance: it says one city is "more than
two times smaller," implying (for the sake of argument) "more than two and less than three," and ultimately, if you run the thought process to the end, you arrive at the following:
[St. Petersburg] is less than half the size of Moscow.
I will admit to a certain amount of laziness in the past, in going along with the "x
times smaller" wording in English. In the future, unless I risk adding some kind of ambiguity into my translation, I think I will pursue the more native style of English expression.