Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pork for Dinner


This was taken the day he fell.  Poor little guy!

(Rob writing): In our little village, there are exactly two restaurants, or “cafeterias,” as our translator calls them. Only one of them is within a reasonable walking distance, so on any evening we decide to go out to eat, we don’t have to argue over where we’re going. Back home, Dad and the kids want Mexican or McDonald’s, Mom wants Chinese (which she never, ever gets). Over here, we don’t have to worry about any of that.

Despite the tiny number of restaurants, they are both nearly always empty. We have seen other customers order drinks, but we have never yet seen another customer order food. And we think we know why, beyond the more obvious economic reasons: The menus are, shall we say, limited.

For meat, there are two choices, pork and pork. One is a pork shish kabob, a succulent, marinated kabob of choicest pork. The other is a fat-fried, breaded chop from the shallower end of the pork pool. It is thin, greasy and gristly. One step lower, and Alpo would be interested. The price, however, is half. When we order shish kabob, $20 feeds two. When we order chops, it’s only $10.

Next option, potatoes or pasta. I always order potatoes, and I always order them the same way, but each time they’re a bit different. One night “fried potatoes” means hash browns, the next night sliced, the next night French fries. They’re always good, though, so no complaints. They even come with a dab of ketchup, though nowhere near enough to keep our son Elijah happy.

Finally, there is a salad. Julia loves it, but I can’t eat it. It consists entirely of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, with a bit of oil dashed over it all. I eat plenty of salad at home, but on my own terms. To me, salad has more to do with the dressing than all of the green stuff. If I must swallow a cucumber, a tomato or, heaven forbid, an onion, I must at least have some lettuce and dressing to dilute and mask the taste. I like to quote the Texas cattlemen on this subject: “Vegetables ain’t food, vegetables is what food eats.”

The lack of variety is pushing my wife to the breaking point. In this I have the advantage, because I could happily eat the same thing every night. Quantity is the issue for me, not quality. I feel a sense of smug justification as I remind her of what I tell her constantly at home: Good food doesn’t get old. I never get tired of my favorite foods. She, on the other hand, has started to fantasize about foods that are half a world beyond her reach. I’m going to have a job keeping her out of the nut house if she doesn’t get a grip on herself.


  1. I told Dean that when we travel...if we ever travel...we are bringing 4 jars of Nutella. I cannot live without something sweet at least once a day, sweet and chocolate, and they don't have sweet stuff there! Their 'sweet' is our "bitter", so I'm stowing four jars of that stuff. Want me to send you some? The last time I went to that side of the world, we ate a lot of mystery meat. It worried me. Oh, and there is a name for that Salad Julia likes. In Bulgaria it's pronounced Shopska. I don't know what it is in Serbia, but I saw it there, and I loved it too! And I'm sure I'm not the first to say this, but Aaron looks wise beyond his years.

  2. That is just HYSTERICAL bro!!!!!!!!!
    Think I'd starve there-it all sounds terrible to me!
    Love you,

  3. Think Kyiv! TGI Fridays is just around the corner. :)

  4. Oh no! When I was in Kiev, there were SO many yummy food options! I still drool thinking of their salads at one place--I think it was called "The Aroma" or something like that . . . big glass bowls (like serving size for veggies or something!) full of suculent lettuces, hard boiled eggs, veggies and other things, with fabulous dressing! I'm so sorry your choices are so limited . . . HANG ON--Kiev will be your next stop, right?! ;-)

  5. People are funny about food...

    You have such a handsome boy there!

  6. That's funny Rob :)

    Poor Julia, I tend to be more like her. My husband is like you, so maybe it's a gender thing....

    The picture of Aaron is striking. I love his eyes.

    Thinking of you both,


  7. So, I guess no bacon and eggs when you get home...ha! I went to the "grocery" store here (FoxMart) and it was like a little Walmart and we got some different foods there, but nothing taste near as good as it looks. Hopefully only 7 more days of pork and you will be home. Aaron is cuter with every picture you post. We are still living in limbo land and waiting on our interpol clearance. Good luck and love the posts!


  8. you are both just amazing. praying for you to be home eating yummy food very soon :)


Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!


Save up to 95% on Homeschool Curriculum at the 2018 Build Your Bundle Sale