The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Dec 18, 2010

In Russia

Laurens van der Post, Afrikaner traveller extraordinaire, tootled about Russia, and reminisced in his book Journey into Russia that all Russians seemed to eat bread as if the very eating of it gives them a kind of reassurance.
Meanwhile more and more food appeared on the table, deep bowls of mutton and potato soup, fried chicken, delicious young cucumbers cut unpeeled in slices covered with sour cream, and the fiery Georgian dish, shashlyk, wood-spiced grilled cubes of mutton, which, with that young wine fresh and innocent as the spring air outside, tasted succulent. Yet good as it all was, I noticed that my Russian companion enjoyed nothing so much as the bread, ... 
They all ate far more bread than was necessary, and produced also a greater variety of breads than any other people I have ever known. I saw shops in the great cities where to cope with this craving they sold more than a hundred kinds of bread of every texture, from white to brown and midnight black, from snowy puffs of twist bread to poppyseed rolls and grey Minsk pistolets. But nothing ever equalled the black bread that was meal and reassurance in itself.


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