Monday, April 11, 2011

Simple Household Items in Chinese Part Two: A Mnemonic Tour Of My Kitchen

In a further attempt to introduce you to words for items you might commonly see in your home (also see Simple Household Items Part One: Livingroom), I'd like to now take you on a weird and wonderful tour of "my kitchen".  You may see some things that will confuse or surprise you, perhaps leeching into the most brainy brain-like parts of your cerebellum.  That is, in fact, my goal.  Let's begin.

As you enter my kitchen, you'll first notice that my cabinets look as though they're made out of chocolate.  In fact, they look so good that you're going to want to chew on them (cabinet = "wǎnchú" 碗橱 pronounced like want without the "t" plus chew).  You'll want to chew on my wǎnchú (碗橱), but please don't as I've just had them installed not too long ago and I'd prefer not to go through all of that again - it was traumatizing.

Next you'll notice my stainless steel refrigerator which sings opera.  Yes, you read that correctly.  If you ask him nicely enough, my fridge may sing a big song (refrigerator = bīngxiāng 冰箱 “bing shee ahng”) for you.  Just don’t encourage him too much or he’ll sing for hours and hours and you’ll be stuck there watching a bīngxiāng (冰箱) sing opera.  Poorly.

While you’re listening to my bīngxiāng (冰箱) sing his big song, you’ll have ample time to notice my matching freezer which brays like a donkey.  The sound isn’t actually coming from the freezer himself, but from a donkey which was surgically implanted in his iron lung when he was just a lad.  My freezer has a “lung donkey” (freezer = lěngdòngguì 冷冻柜 “lung dahng gway”).  You should check your own lěngdòngguì (冷冻柜) to see whether he or she might also have a lung donkey.  Lung donkeys require specific care and when they reside in a freezer they need plenty of blankets and the occasional bonfire to stay warm.

If you aren’t too distracted by my braying lěngdòngguì (冷冻柜) and my singing bīngxiāng (冰箱), you might take notice of my sink, which is full of holes.  Most sinks have one or two drains, but mine was used by the Allied Forces during World War II for artillery practice, so it bears a striking resemblance to a piece of Swiss cheese (sink = shuǐchí 水池 “schway chee”).  Some call it leaky, but it suits my needs - though doing dishes in my shuǐchí (水池) is admittedly draining.

If you’re a secure person, you may also want to check out my stove which has a passion for insulting and mocking me.  It frequently calls me a loser (stove = lúzǐ 炉子 “loo zuh”).  My lúzǐ (炉子) often makes me cry and has sent me straight to therapy on more than one occasion.  She doesn’t get the better of me any more though, as I have started throwing insults right back at her.  She’s hot headed, and gassy - so insulting her is less of a challenge and more of an exercise in Kindergarten level communications.  

After my lúzǐ (炉子) has made you feel like a loser, you should look to my stove to help you take your mind off of your insecurities.  My oven will gladly distract you with a bovine themed serenade.  Yes, my oven loves a good cow song (oven = kǎoxiāng 烤箱 “cow shong”).  It all began when we left some country music playing in the kitchen while gone for a week on vacation.  Since then, the oven has had a strange love for cows and sings about them at every opportunity.  It’s gotten so bad that she won’t even cook us a London Broil anymore.  We’re beginning to suspect that she may soon become a vegetarian, which may be a problem at our next Thanksgiving turkey dinner.  For now, we just join in any time our kǎoxiāng (烤箱) strikes up a nice cow song, hoping to get on her good side - or at least get her to bake us a nice casserole.

To wind up our kitchen tour, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my stylish kitchen counter.  To say that he is fashionable would be accurate, but not in the way you might think.  My kitchen counter loves to wear ties.  Specifically, he loves to wear a nice grey tie (counter = guìtái 柜台 “gway tie”).  This is shocking because from what I hear, most counters prefer orange, red, or even blue paisley ties, but my guìtái (柜台) loves a sleek business-like grey tie.  I once saw a counter wearing a pink tie - can you imagine? Pink! My guìtái (柜台) and I had a good laugh about it when I showed him the pictures.  

So there you have it - a mnemonic tour of my kitchen.  Stay tuned for my next mnemonic tour when I tell you about my cowboy toilet (toilet = cèsuǒ 厕所 “seh swoh” sounds like “says whoa!”).

Did you like this post?  Then you might also like Mnemonics Made Me Do It: Animal Words In Chinese Via Visual Memory Cues

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Image courtesy of Nick Bastian via Flickr is licensed via CC.


  1. Lol what a fun post! You're such a talented writer (and teacher :).

  2. Thanks Anne! Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. So many zingers in this one. "... Poorly." Love it!