A Word For Overeating that is Difficult to Translate

A Word For Overeating that is Difficult to Translate
A Word For Overeating that is Difficult to Translate

I raised my glass of wine like a beleaguered boxer who’d been proclaimed the winner after 12 rounds of combat. Round me, 10 different folks also had their glass raised as the person on the desk’s head gave a toast. After which, as anticipated, we slammed the amber-colored wine again, and I surveyed an extended desk stacked with meals. This wasn’t the primary toast of the day. It wasn’t even the second. Sixteenth? Twenty-fifth? I’d misplaced depend.

Welcome to a supra, a standard Georgian feast. Within the Republic of Georgia, these epic meals are placed on for particular events or, in this case, no actual motive in any respect. I used to be within the mountainous Racha area within the north-western a part of the nation, and in entrance of me was a lush bounty of Georgian dishes: complete trout doused in walnut sauce; a wealthy pork-studded bean stew known as lobio; baked cheese-bread is known as khachapuri; blackberry-slathered hen; lamb stew; hen with a creamy garlic sauce known as shkmeruli; and, in typical Georgian trend, three totally different sorts of bread – in what turned out to be a five-hour consuming and consuming extravaganza on the dwelling of a pal of a pal.

There was not sufficient house for the copious quantities of meals on the lengthy, rectangular desk, so the home ladies began stacking food-loaded dishes on high of one another, typically 4 plates excessive. It’s common that in these feasts, tables will buckle over because of the burden set upon them, a hit-you-over-the-head metaphor if there ever was one.

It wasn’t simply the wine that made me really feel dazed and confused. I used to be in a critical meals coma. Or, extra particularly, I used to be experiencing shemomechama, an untranslatable Georgian phrase. Mako Kavtaradze, the founding father of the Tbilisi-based Museum of Recipes, instructed me, “For Georgians, shemomechama means if you find yourself full; however, you proceed to consume, you overdose on meals.” However extra particularly, as Meri Gubeladze, movie star chef and proprietor of perpetually packed Tbilisi restaurant Shavi Lomi stated, “It’s once you didn’t intend to eat a lot however you by chance did. Normally it’s when one thing tasted so good that you couldn’t resist. You blame it on the meals – and never the eater – for tasting so good.”

And it occurs rather more than you’d suppose. “I like this phrase,” stated Tekuna Gachechiladze, chef and proprietor of the lauded Tbilisi restaurant Culinarium Khasheria. “I don’t keep in mind the primary time I heard this phrase; however, the expertise of shemomechama happens incessantly. It normally occurs at late-night eating expertise, when, after an extended day of working within the kitchen, I, out of the blue, find yourself at a late supra, or conventional feast. And regardless that I will not be hungry in any respect, I eat and eat, and the expertise is blended in with Georgian singing, laughter, wine consuming after which voila! Shemomechama occurs.”

Gubeladze added: “You understand how a lot of meals. Georgians placed on the desk when there’s a supra… So, more often than not, you might be full fairly typically, however, then you definitely hold consuming as a result of tasty dishes seem endless.”

The phrase shemomechama and its means are inexorably linked to the supra – despite everything, reaching shemomechama at a supra is inevitable, as there’s such a bounty of edible delights, you surprise how your complete inhabitants don’t have gout.

That could be an enormous motive why this phrase developed in and around a culinary tradition like Georgia’s. “There’s a sure ‘come hither’ high quality to Georgian meals that makes it irresistible, and within the context of a feast, when so many alternative dishes are on the desk, it’s at all times tempting to eat just a bit greater than you want, as a result of meals at all times appear to really feel like a celebration there,” stated Darra Goldstein, writer of The Georgian Feast. “Bodily, it’s a sense of getting eaten sufficient (typically greater than sufficient) however not having the ability to withstand one final little chunk, so that the flavors will linger on the tongue. However, the important thing to understanding shemomechama is that the phrase alerts a scarcity of intention – it truly is as if one thing compels you to eat only a bit extra, regardless that you don’t actually imply to. It simply forms of occurs.”

Carla Capalba, the writer of Tasting Georgia, says, “One of many predominant ‘guidelines’ of the supra is that the serving platters need to be continuously replenished, and the visitor leaves a desk as abundantly full as they sat all the way down to, so to ‘by chance’ eat all of it up is a problem.”

Food and drinks are sometimes linked to a nation’s identification, particularly to distinguish itself from others – typically an overseas, occupying energy. In Georgia, there’s a robust hyperlink between meals and nationwide consciousness. Particularly on the subject of the lengthy historical past of Russian dominance within the area, which started when the Tsarist-led empire invaded Georgia in 1801 and continued using the Soviet period till 1991.

“Because the Russians, in contrast to former invaders, shared the identical faith because the Georgians, faith was now not a distinguishing issue between ‘us’ (the Georgians) and ‘them’ (the Russians),” writes anthropologist Florian Mühlfried in Sharing the Identical Blood – Tradition, and Delicacies within the Republic of Georgia, printed within the Anthropology of Meals journal. “The ‘self-othering’ of the Georgian nation needed to be based mostly on one thing else: people tradition. The supra quickly grew to become an emblem of that cultural otherness, a manifestation of ‘Georgian’ hospitality based mostly on a definite manner of consuming, consuming, and feasting. It remained a first-rate cultural marker of nationwide identification effectively into Soviet occasions, embodying resistance to changing into a Societas Sovietica. For post-Soviet Georgians, the supra appears to supply everlasting counter-assurance of cultural authenticity within the face of all-leveling globalization.”

Kevin Tuite, an anthropologist from the College of Montreal, who has closely researched tradition within the Caucasus, breaks down the semantics of the phrase: “In a way, the verb ‘eat'” – or ‘Chama’ – “turns into passive, and the topic a form of an oblique object: ‘it obtained eaten, and I used to be by some means concerned,’ kind of. Georgian has fairly several such indirect-involvement verbs, similar to shemoexarjeba (I burned using my cash with out realizing it) and shemoesriseba (it [some object in my hand] unintentionally obtained crushed).”

Mülfried, by way of e mail, added: “The principal thrust of the phrase lies in the truth that it ascribes company to the thing fairly than the topic. It’s an expression of being overwhelmed, just like how Georgians specifically love: I’m the thing, the opposite is the topic. Anyone, one thing overwhelmed me. This is usually a feeling as effectively, being overwhelmed by the hatred that might flip into violence. One thing came to visit me, and this makes me a sufferer; within the case of shemomechama, a sufferer of meals that’s tasty past resistibility.”

How, although, may such a phrase have been born out of this meal tradition? “The one conclusion I can come to is that Georgians don’t wish to take duty for their very own actions,” stated Gubeladze. We frequently blame it on 70 years of Soviet occupation, the place the state was making each resolution for you. But additionally, it’s simpler guilty shemomechama than to confess that you’re a pig!”

I undoubtedly felt like a pig by the point the supra had completed. My mates and I walked again to our visitor home in silence because the shemomechama had lengthy set in. After we obtained there, the guest-house proprietor insisted we would have liked to be fed. We pleaded together with her that we couldn’t eat any extra. However, she was adamant. In any case, in Georgia, they are saying {that a} “visitor is a present from God.”

And so, with that, we sat down at a desk within the courtyard and started a brand new feast another time; the shemomechama can be sticking around for several extra hours.

Williams Brandon
Brandon Williams is a 57-year-old semi-professional sports person who enjoys stealing candy from babies, chess, and watching YouTube videos. You can reach Brandon at [email protected]