You are likely very familiar with the expression “apples and oranges” as an analogy for attempting to compare two disparate items. In a meeting recently I heard a new version of that expression that I had to share with you.
A Russian version?
It was spoken during a 2 ½ hour phone conference meeting by one of the Russian meeting participants and she said that the subject matter was like comparing “apples and ham”. My first thought was “did she say what I think she just said?” when I received an instant message from a coworkers also participating in the meeting asking that same question.
Initially it was too funny for words but as I thought about it later, comparing “apples and ham” better expresses the analogy of trying to draw a comparison between two items that cannot be accurately compared than the more traditional “apples and oranges”. As examples of fruit apples and oranges have some common aspects whereas apples and ham do not. “Chalk and cheese” is another variation on the theme but “apples and ham” just rolls off the tongue better and just might be the perfect addition to my repertoire of phrases.