Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ukrainian Roulette

I mentioned earlier that my cousin's wife if Soviet born and speaks both Ukrainian and Russian. Unfortunatelly there are times when I end up eating out without her.

Usually what happens is that I end up in a smallish restaurant where the menu is presented to me to make my selection. The options there are the following: Ukrainian/Russian only, or an English menu with very fancy names (Baba Yaga Salad was one) with absolutely no description. If I'm lucky, the dishes are grouped in some way or another, if not, they are in random order. Then I smile and point to something on the menu and then pray that it will be edible. The trouble continues with me having no idea what blessing say on my food--Jews have several--so I tend to just skip that all together with a G-d help me!

So far most of the dishes I picked in this Ukrainian Roulette were ranging from okay to great. But today I had the worst ever experience with practically uncooked sauer kraut and what looked like a pig's jellied foot. Now, my Hungarian friends, yes, I'm known to have eaten körömpörkölt without much trouble, but this was plain weird. It had a very odd texture, too, something that is a major issue for this former preemie after 27 years, still. It also tasted somewhat disharmonic. Like dishsoap with sauerkraut and plainly cooked pig foot.

Tonight I have to balance the awful foot with something nice: ice cream and mushroom soup!


  1. Now that reminded me of my trip to Bulgaria for a linguistics summer university course. As you know, I speak some Russian which is quite close to Bulgarian, so I didn't have much trouble ordering what I wanted (and nor did the lucky ones who went out to eat with me LOL), but most of the westerners were totally lost when it came to menus, or basically any situation where they had to communicate with locals. Long story short, I spent a lot of time listening to the adventures(and trying not lough loud at)guys who ended up ordering things like tripe-soup :)

  2. You are so funny! Are you saying you were a preeme 27 years ago?? Why don't you do what I enjoy doing at Chinese restaurants sometimes? Ask the wait staff "What would you order?" I don't like westernized "Chinese" food. Now, Squid Chinese Style, fungus and shrimp...YUM!! My kids and grandkids love it, too!

    I like your free-form blessing. Why not??

  3. Michal, if the stuff would speak English, I'd ask them! And then it still might not be something I'd like to eat...

    I was a micro preemie, half of twins. You wouldn't guess it now.

  4. Oh, yuck...I also had the misfortune to have to eat in Ukraine at a restaurant (a very long time ago) and one thing that I remember is that they didn't have what we call nowadays "vegetables salad", when I ordered it they brought me one whole tomato and one green pepper...Go figure...

  5. I had that kind of a tomato salad in one of rthe places: i got two whole tomatoes, some spring onions, spices and oil. :-D DIY salad!

  6. Hi there! I am so thrilled that you visited my blog. I'm guessing there are not many men connected to the IF world through Stirrup Queens. You are absolutely right in your comment on my post that the same people in an uproar over biracial couples being denied a marriage license would still vote to ban gay marriage. I hope that's not always the case.

  7. You are very brave ordering when you aren't sure what you are eating. I have a very touchy stomach so I have to be really careful or can end up with big problems. I have been fortunate in Haiti that mostly I have had Haitian rice and beans and I am okay with them.

  8. Kathy,

    I had to make a serious decision of suspending eating kosher while in Kiyv. There is just no way.

    Luckily I'm an omnivore as long as the texture doesn't make me gag.



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