05 November 2005

Inside Moscow

It has been 13 years since the Soviet Union added the moniker former. However, I am still asked by acquaintances outside Russia about our ability to get hold of things. As if we spend half our lives in food queues. For the longest time we were unable to get hold of "english" sausages. This problem has been solved by our friend Rostov John. Proper, as opposed to American-type, bacon is still a problem, as is Marmite. As you can see what I miss here is cultural, not shortage-created - god forbid in this city which worships consumerism.

Bread however, good bread has always been a scarce resource. Local bread has a certain similarity to the northern German variety, hard and not great for a bacon sarnie - something to do with flour varieties. There is also a hangover from Soviet days when the rumour was put out that fresh bread was bad for you. My (english) father-in-law was told the same thing during post-war (WWII) rationing. The idea being that you finished the last bread before starting in on the fresh stuff. Hard and semi-stale bread is not a great mix.

Life has just got marginally better. This post is accompanied by a cup of espresso, freshly-brewed at home, and a chocolate croissant from the new French Bakery. Not quite as good as the real butter variety I consumed in New York last week but pretty damn good all the same.

Time for another.....

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2 comments:

Daniel Nerezov said...

Good heavens, that does take me back ;-)

They'd say mould was actually good for you, for some quasi scientific reasons, and I'll probably end up telling my kids the same thing.

The other thing I remember is Moscow pollution. During the winter, you'd see snow coupled with a rather course top-layer of black dirt. It's probably gotten worse over the years.

The explanation, of course, for all the dirt and poor visibilty was the unimaginably fertile soil around the city which filled the skies with this "good kind" of dirt, dust, gunk and other assorted niceties.

Moscow is certainly a place best left for prose and poets.

Vodka Fairy said...

Not so easy to shed off stereotypes created over decades ... and shades of black and white reality is what we all seek on this rather grey planet!
:-)
btw lovely blog ... will come back for more

05 November 2005

Inside Moscow

It has been 13 years since the Soviet Union added the moniker former. However, I am still asked by acquaintances outside Russia about our ability to get hold of things. As if we spend half our lives in food queues. For the longest time we were unable to get hold of "english" sausages. This problem has been solved by our friend Rostov John. Proper, as opposed to American-type, bacon is still a problem, as is Marmite. As you can see what I miss here is cultural, not shortage-created - god forbid in this city which worships consumerism.

Bread however, good bread has always been a scarce resource. Local bread has a certain similarity to the northern German variety, hard and not great for a bacon sarnie - something to do with flour varieties. There is also a hangover from Soviet days when the rumour was put out that fresh bread was bad for you. My (english) father-in-law was told the same thing during post-war (WWII) rationing. The idea being that you finished the last bread before starting in on the fresh stuff. Hard and semi-stale bread is not a great mix.

Life has just got marginally better. This post is accompanied by a cup of espresso, freshly-brewed at home, and a chocolate croissant from the new French Bakery. Not quite as good as the real butter variety I consumed in New York last week but pretty damn good all the same.

Time for another.....

Technorati Tags:

2 comments:

Daniel Nerezov said...

Good heavens, that does take me back ;-)

They'd say mould was actually good for you, for some quasi scientific reasons, and I'll probably end up telling my kids the same thing.

The other thing I remember is Moscow pollution. During the winter, you'd see snow coupled with a rather course top-layer of black dirt. It's probably gotten worse over the years.

The explanation, of course, for all the dirt and poor visibilty was the unimaginably fertile soil around the city which filled the skies with this "good kind" of dirt, dust, gunk and other assorted niceties.

Moscow is certainly a place best left for prose and poets.

Vodka Fairy said...

Not so easy to shed off stereotypes created over decades ... and shades of black and white reality is what we all seek on this rather grey planet!
:-)
btw lovely blog ... will come back for more