Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Foodies Legends

DON’T LET RUSSIAN SOLDIERS WAIT TOO MUCH!

The word “Bistrot” has different etymologies, one of those goes back to Napoleon

The word appears at the beginning of the 1800s and the French origin comes from the expression “Bistroquet.” Back in time, that word was used to define winemakers or merchant assistants.

Another origin goes back to 1814, and it is more curious.

Napoleon arrived in Moscow, but he was beaten by Field Marshal Kutuzov thanks to his wait-and-see policy and the endless spaces of “Mother Russia.” Tsar Alexander I’s troops, along with Prussian and Austrian soldiers, were fighting back and arrived in Paris in 1814.

Napoleon wasn’t there, and he left the command to his brother Joseph, who was not able to keep the city.

The Russians entered Paris on March the 31st 1814, and their proverbial thirst had to be stopped. The troops started to spill out into taverns, cafes, and dives: they asked to be served “bystro,” fast.

Soldiers were usually in a rush either because they feared to be surprised from officers (see the alcoholic ban), or maybe because french landlords, to take revenge on them, were extremely slow to serve them.

Legend says that the Russian word “Bystro” has arrived at us becoming Bistrot but the real story of this place has been lost during the century, as well as the Italian osterie or the English pubs.

 

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Pierluigi Capriotti
My name is Pierluigi Capriotti to be exact. Despite a degree in Architecture I'm a journalist. I write following temporary monomania and others that are chronic such reading, soccer, travels and food. When I write I use many asides – because I have the impression there is always something more to say. Because in those asides I talk about my passions. So that everybody will notice them but with nonchalance. I've never had a high regard for wisdom. And, thanks God, this helped me to leave for the foodiestrip journey with a spiritual-creative mathematician, an IT engineer who plays the Star Wars soundtrack with the coffee stirrers and a businessnerd. One way ticket. No return.