"The spoon sweet."

Translation:Το γλυκό του κουταλιού.

September 12, 2016

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I was sure this was some kind of error too ('the spoon's sweet'?)! But apparently not. Well now I know something new about Greek, Balkan, Russian and Middle Eastern hospitality customs! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoon_sweets


I came to complain. Glad this was the top comment


Isn't it interesting learning about how people live. After my last post here I went out a bought a jar of grape spoon sweets and served it to friends. They enjoyed the memories it brought.


Ha! Brilliant. Myself, I didn't have a spoonful of sugar, though I did listen to the song...


Indeed! In Ireland and the UK, it's quite normal to say 'a spoonful (of)'; I don''t know what they say in the U.S. There's even a well-known song, from a very popular 60s film, on this very topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLkp_Dx6VdI


Although the Greek is "the sweet of the spoon"—backwards.


Now, I'll be singing it all day. I did love that movie and this song in particular. Thank you for the link. And yes we say "a spoonful" as well as "a spoon" in Amer. Eng.


Indeed we have those things in Russia, but I could never in my life have guessed they are called "spoon sweets". Certainly nobody calls them this here.


Amazing learn something new every day


Actually, I'm Russian and I've just learned something new about our culture from your link :) Funny


Glad to have been of help. Anything we learn, from whatever source enriches us.


This item makes no sense in English - viz., 'the spoon sweet' isn't correct English. I'm not sure what it's supposed to mean.


It is strange indeed but true. It's called γλυκό του κουταλιού.which is literally sweet of the spoon but called spoon sweets in English. Just think "jam" which is served on a small spoon on a tiny plate with a glass of cold water beside it. It's rather out of fashion now but our γιαγιάδες (grannies) used to make it. You eat the sweet, make a wish to the host and hostess and drink the water. Hope you're enjoying the Greek course. We're her for any queries.


This still exists in Albania, at least in the areas closer to Greece (Κορυτσά or Korça to be precise), mostly with fruits like cherries, figs, grapes, or even watermelon. We just call it "liko" but it's still offered on a spoon with coffee and water. Thank you so much for making this course possible. It's been a blast discovering all these cultural and linguistic similarities.


Thank you for your kind words and for sharing the information about the "liko" I really wonder if the word comes from the Greek ΄γλυκο'. Yes, it is wonderful seeing how close people really are and heart warming.


I think you're right about the Greek origins. If not from γλυκο then perhaps the Ancient Greek γλυκυς. Depending on where they're from, sometimes you hear people say "gliko", which sounds nearly identical to the Greek pronunciation. It makes me wonder whether Ancient Greeks were such impressive hosts that it inspired Albanians to learn how to make their own γλυκο to return the favor.


That's one of the benefits of learning languages it creates an interest in so many diverse areas. From sweets to ancient history. Pretty broad spectrum and so much in between.


το γλυκυ λεγόμενον φάρμακον (the medicine called "gluko") was translated into Latin as glicia in the 6th Century. (Alexander Trallianus). In this case (Latin book II chapter 37), it was a recipe for heartburn made with a lot of honey, a little vinegar, radish, and fennel; and the dose is, of course, a spoon full (well, actually two spoons full). I've seen the term glicia in a few other Latin texts, so a form like "gliko" could be from ancient Greek via Latin, or could be directly from Greek. Fascinating, anyway, as I had no idea what "glicia" meant when I first encountered it, and you won't find it in any Latin dictionaries.


Apologies for mistakes in the ancient Greek. I'm not even sure it would be possible to type correct ancient diacritics on the web.


Wow. I had never, ever come across either the term or the practice of spoon sweets. But still, it seems to be a Greek thing, right? I've never observed (or heard of) it in Ireland or the UK - I mean, the serving of the jam on the spoon, making a wish, etc. So it looks like we're kind of both correct: 'the spoon sweet' isn't correct English, no, but it's the (correct or literal) translation of a real Greek practice, yes. But yes, I'm liking (!) the Greek course. I'm living in Athens, so the course is proving useful in a practical way.


I'm very glad to hear you're pleased with the course. We're still very new and the terrain is rather bumpy but we're working at getting out all the rocks. Ah, so you live in Athens. Of course, you haven't come across spoon sweets which as I said are out of style. The name, however, is correct not just a translation. You'll find it in on google with photos. Since you'll have a chance to use the Greek first hand do get back to us with comments. We'd appreciate it. Have a great evening. Καληνύχτα!.


I bought γλυκό του κουταλιού in a bakery in Μαρκοπουλό - 25 km from Athens, about 10 years ago. And the monks in the monastery in Κερατέα offered us some when we visited ! I want to add that I'm very pleased with the greek course as well. I travel to Greece for over 40 years and speek greek to order food etc. I want now to be more fluent and learn some grammar. Thank you Jaye for all the kind words and useful comments!


When I saw there was a comment about spoon sweets I thought "Oh, no not another complaint."

So, you can imagine my happy surprise to find that you knew what they were, that you had had the pleasure of eating them at a monastery and that you liked the course. You are ever so welcome we want others to learn the language. And if they can come to enjoy the pleasures of visiting Greece we are even happier.

Thank you so much ... you made my day. Happy learning.


Ζήτω ο Jaye! αλλά ζήτω και ο Γεώργιος (Γεωργόπουλος)!


Thank you Jaye !


That used to exist in Bulgaria too. It's called "white sweet" and is a spoonful of a very dense white sweet in a glass of water. No one makes this anymore and I'm not sure people outside the area know about it


What you describe sounds similar to καϊμάκι in Greece - not quite the same as γλυκό του κουταλιού which is more like a thick jam or preserved fruit.


I remember eating something very similar in Greece that was called βανίλια. My brother and I would down the stuff in no time!


I was very surprised to learn about the spoon sweets. thanks for the info.


You're welcome and now if you are served one you'll be prepared.

We say:

στην υγειά σου -- To your health (one person), στην υγειά σας (plural and/or polite/formal), στην υγειά μας (to our health).

These are all good for making a toast with a drink. Oh, and also to wish someone "Use it in good health." if he's gotten something new.


Oh, I've encountered this kind of thing in ancient medical texts... an electuary. I was confused by the English translation.


What a pleasant, positive, and very informative comment. Many thanks. I'm going to read up on "electuaries". Of course, our spoon sweets don't contain medications...unless you count the large proportion of sugar. :D

As you'll see by the other comments on the page we've had a lot of negative comments which we haven't deleted so that others who doubt the legitimacy of this expression and the existence of the sweets can see that learning a language includes learning a bit about the culture it comes from.

Many thanks for your contribution.


Ok, I get it. I used to eat the stuff when I was a kid in Greece. We called it βανίλια (it was vanilla flavored), it was a thick, white paste that you filled a soup spoon with, then put in a glass of cold water. You licked the stuff patiently (very thick stuff indeed) then drank the nicely flavored water.


No, "βανίλια" is not the same. Βανίλια is vanilla flavored sugar paste. "Spoon sweets" are made from fruits. Check out some of the many links on the page.


And we always called it βανίλια, never γλυκά του κουταλιού. So the Wikipedia page should probably be altered to indicate the difference.


Βανίλια is something different. It's made only from boiled sugar syrup with vanilla flavoring...there is no fruit used. It's commonly called "υποβρύχιο" (submarine) because it's served at the bottom of a glass of water and eaten with a spoon. Whereas, γλυκό του κουταλιού is made from candied fruit or even some veggies...believe it or not tiny eggplants for example. A specialty of a great aunt.


Yes, I remember the thick syrup and overly sugary fruit that was served in a spoon with a glass of water to down them! If I remember correctly, there were even immature walnuts that you could eat whole. Apart from that, the Wikipedia page considers βανίλια as a γλυκό του κουταλιού.


Yes, you can make "spoon sweet" out of unripe walnuts. I think it's quite popular on Thasos. https://youtu.be/VdHZFqHyC6s

But no, βανίλια is not a "γλυκό του κουταλιού", despite what Wikipedia says.


That's interesting I suppose that as it is sweet and eaten with a spoon it's possible. But we usually use term for the fruit.


It seems to me that is now again fashionable, as I see it in many shops. Maybe more for tourists? But why γλυκό κουταλιού is not accepted! I hear and read it mostly that way, rather than (or instead of) γλυκό του κουταλιού. I tried with Google search, exact phrase: γλυκό κουταλιού 384.000 occurences, γλυκό του κουταλιού 363.000.


I just hit google for: "γλυκό του κουταλιού" and here's the result I got in a few seconds...About 4,400,000 results (0.50 seconds)

But we also need to take into account the many links given above from well-chosen sources. I haven't seen "γλυκό κουταλιού" but it might be a variation of the same item. Right, I tried "γλυκό κουταλιού" on google and got these results....About 3,110,000 results (0.40 seconds) with some appetising images. So, I guess we need to add that to our database. Thanks for the info.

Just picked up your report for "Το γλυκό κουταλιού" and added it to the database. Again thanks.


I guess you didn't use the exact phrase search, that is with the words into "...". In this way you find only pages containing your words in the very same order and form you wrote and nothing else in between or different. And this is very useful to check the usage of a phrase or sequence of words, excluding the examples which are not pertinent. If you don't use the quotation marks you get all pages that contain those terms or some of them in whatever order and at whatsoever distance, which - in my opinion - is not very useful for linguistic purposes.


No, I didn't use the exact phrase search. That's a very good tip and I'll do that in the future. Many thanks.


These comments are super helpful. Otherwise it just sounds like a horrible translation and super weird phrase to include in the lessons. I wish the Greek course had tips in the app instead of just on the website. Cultural notes on things like this would also be so cool. Maybe before starting a new level. How to use greetings properly, etc. plus idioms and points of interest like this. Thank goodness for the forums, though!


Thank you for your comments and suggestions. Duo is always looking to improve the site and your ideas will help.


Very interesting! Thanks to everyone who investigated this, it had me baffled!


Learn something new each day!!


I love it. I had no idea. Thanks for the explanations.


I have not read any , apart from the comment below , of the 70 comments . I am of pensionable age , I have not ever , even from my granny , heard of , the spoon sweet . Maybe I have had a very sheltered life ?


For the first time this year, after owning a house in Greece for over 16 years, I saw spoon sweet on a Taverna menu! Maybe the owner has been studying on duolingo?


Maybe you noticed it because you were studying on Duolingo? :P


Ignor last comment I found out what they are


In English we refer to "sweets" to generically describe the category of small sugary desserts or treats like chocolates, or hard candies. In English we wouldn't usually use it in the singular, as we would be more specific, as in "I ate a chocolate" not "I ate a sweet", but the latter would not be grammatically incorrect. So, who are we to say "spoon sweet" is not the best English translation of a Greek dessert, just because it sounds foreign to us? It is foreign, after all, from Greece!


Slightly off the topic of spoon sweets, but "I ate a sweet" is fine in British English. It's what you might say if you ate a mint, or one of those hard candies, or similar. Not a chocolate though!


The translation is not ours but what is used in English speaking countries...the US, the UK, and Australia according to the references below.


"The spoon sweet" does not occur in English - please amend


Please read the other comments on this page where aside from the knowledge of those of us who know Greece and know what this is called in English we have supplied a great deal of reliable documentation.

Spoon sweets are known in many other countries...also documented here.

Therefore, instead of saying, "'The spoon sweet' does not occur in English - please amend" say "I've learned something new."

Try googling it, reading about it. We are secure in our knowledge and we are happy to be able to share it with you.

Now how can you say that if you haven't read the comments on this page. And it's clear you haven't because you will have seen the many authoritative, reliable sources...you know like

The OXFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA of Food and Drink in America https://books.google.gr/books?isbn=0199734968

or these:

So, the expression is indeed known in the English language. And for other info check out the comments on this page.

AMAZON Buy Greek Spoon Sweet at AMAZON - Low Prices on Greek Spoon Sweet‎ Ad www.amazon.co.uk/Grocery/Shopping‎ Here just a few: I beg to differ. It is perfectly correct and is the name in English of a kind of dessert. I just googled "spoon sweet" and got 32 million pages. Try it you'll see something new.


It is well known in other European countries. I was in NEW YORK and saw them on shelves in Good Foods.

See some images of spoon sweets here: PINTEREST https://www.pinterest.com/elenaki73/greek-spoon-sweets/

And a few recipes: Cherry Spoon Sweets - MARTHA STEWARD http://www.marthastewart.com/1159849/cherry-spoon-sweets

WWW FOOD .COM http://www.food.com/recipe/orange-peel-spoon-sweet-glyko-portokalaki-4512.

GOOD FOOD https://www.goodfoodstories.com/spoon-sweets/

Others from Australia and the UK, oh and South Africa...and other English speaking countries.

Have a look you'll find many more. I think what you meant to say was you never heard it not "we never say spoon sweets". But that's ok it's good to learn new ideas.

It's really a good idea to read the comments there's lot to learn about the languages and more. I've included a few of them below but there are otheres. Please read the comment.


Good heavens! What a cultural outpouring this has produced. Just an idea - do you think "crystallised fruits" might be a helpful translation anyone? In the pictures, they look like that to me.


Thanks for your interest but no. First of all crystallized fruits are something else, and we do have those....their method of preparation is slightly different.

And second, and really seriously there is a well-established name for these in English.

You have I know seen my many, many reliable references.

If you check the images (on google) you'll note that crystallized sweets do not have syrup while spoon sweets do have syrup.


OK - I'm quite happy with that. Just trying to help all the angry English speakers who are struggling to accept a new concept with something very similar that they can follow.


Your interest and your help are recognized and appreciated. This is not the first time on Duolingo, on other courses as well, that something new has caused a stir with the public.

Some people find it hard to accept new ideas. But studying a new language can enrich us in many ways aside from the language. We get a tiny view of the culture behind that language.

I do thank you for your positive input and hope I didn't come off as too abrupt.


γλυκό του κουταλιού = spoon sweets in English. Sounds strange in any case. Not a good example.


We don't agree. It is an actual well-know Greek expression and as such, there is no reason for it to not be used. To distort the Greek language so that it conforms to what English speakers are used to would be a disservice to the learners.

The many references given here show that "spoon sweets" are known around the world even in English is further support for its use here. If you haven't heard of it until now then take it as an additional benefit of learning a new language.

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