Our Travels

April 5, 2008

more "what are we eating"?

Sorry this one is a little scatter brained, I wrote it over a few sessions. I kept getting distracted.

Met Eric at the Embassy for lunch the other day at their cafeteria which is ran by Ukrainians. We picked out a few things; I picked out a salad that looked like mushrooms and red peppers. Hmmm... The texture of the mushrooms isn't right. Is it a meat? Although it's not sinewy like most meat...Is it an organ? Are we eating cold liver? Kind of taste like it might be but, not quite sure. We chalked it up as eating "authentic Ukrainian" food. All in all it didn't taste too bad. Yesterday I ended up going to both the commissary at the embassy and to a Ukrainian store. The commissary is convenient, I can read what it is I'm buying and the workers speak pretty good English. It's kind of pricey though and has a limited selection as the store is very small. I walked into a small Ukrainian store on the street corner, soviet style, and immediately saw a large bucket of dead fish floating in what appeared to be dirty water or fish guts (combo of the two perhaps?) Gross! Anyway I managed to get my point across that I wanted the bucket of honey and some apple juice. At least it looked like honey... When we first arrived we had dinner with our sponsors, the menu was mostly in English (big plus). We tried borscht (beet soup), which was actually pretty good and I had cabbage rolls with some sort of meat inside, also pretty tasty. We noticed on the menu that there were lots of entrees that had tongue in them. Yikes! Today I went to "Megamart" with our neighbor. I found the experience to be stressful! :( sigh... Imagine going into a store and not being able to read a darn thing. I stared and stared at packages trying to figure out what might be inside. I guess here they only like canned peas and canned corn because that’s all there was.
Eric took Sierra this morning to a puppy play group at the embassy. Keenan and I tried to go to a kids play group but the location must have changed or something. There were 2 other mommies outside the apartment building but we couldn't figure out how to get in. The door was broken and the call system was beyond our knowledge. After waiting for about 15 minutes I decided to take Keenan home for his nap.

After I got back from Megamart, Eric and I loaded Keenan up and went down to the mall. For the second time since I've been here I got yelled at by a Ukrainian woman. The first time the lady yelled at me because her dog was off leash and tried to attack mine. Today a lady yelled at me because she thought I damaged a garbage can that was for sale in the store. She blocked me from leaving the store and tried to make me buy it. Finally somebody must have told her to forget it. I just kept saying in Russian "I don't understand" and "no grivna's". We then made our way to the food court and went into another cafeteria style salad bar. Eric came back with a plate of food and replied that he really didn't know at all what he was eating. There was something that tasted extremely tuna-ey, something that he thinks was pickled cabbage and some bland tasting meat covered in a fried egg. His drink looked like apple juice but tasted like campfire. I decided to play it safe and got rice, cabbage rolls and real apple juice.


jsully21 said...

Do you think it is better if you don't know what you are eating????:)

Jami said...

Oh, I would think it's way better not to know what you are eating...it's like hotdogs. 10 million Ukrainians can't be wrong! That would be so frustrating to go shopping and not find what you wanted. Even if you could read the labels, it's still probably not stuff you would be familiar with. I'll bet after a month or two, you'll be a pro at figuring some of it out. Stiff upper lip little sis.

Deb said...

I think it is better to eat it and then find out what it was. When I was in the Philippines I ate dog (wasn't bad) and ground up innards of some critter disguised in a casserole. (Maybe that is why most men don't trust casseroles.) If I had known before hand what it was I probably would have been more hesitant to eat it. Experience the food & culture. Love, Mom

Fav'rite Aunty said...

nuts to your mother's advice, jess! I say never eat it if you don't know what it is! i lost a LOT of weight while I was over there because I'm far too fussy of an eater. I ended up living on custard (we lived in a rural town and our next-door neighbor had a milk cow, whose milk I of course absolutely would not drink but which worked GREAT for one of my all-time favorite foods -- custard with rice (which you can also get over there). I also kept a stock of Milky Way candy bars hid -- the only American candy bar I could find. Their tea is great -- hot and strong. I liked their meat pies and cabbage rolls. And like you noticed, they have a tendency to put tuna in the oddest and most inappropriate dishes -- NOT my favorite thing at all, altho I like tuna in its place (tuna sandwich, period). reading this blog especially takes me RIGHT BACK!