Voices from Russia

Thursday, 21 May 2015

21 May 2015. Animal Funnies… Unbearable Public Transport in Czechia (Bad Pun, But What the Hey)

00 polar bear in trolley bus. Czechia. 21.05.15


“Hi, dears! Could you direct me to the nearest klobáseria? I gots me a POWERFUL hunger and me wants MEAT. A litre or two of pivo wouldn’t hurt a body either”… a klobáseria sells klobása and párky (a frankfurter-like sausage always sold in pairs… good eats!), amongst other good prole street grub. It’s a stand on the street where you can get great stuff to eat as you walk about town (to get the taste, think of a Polish kiełbasa or a German bratwurst, they’re the closest, especially the former). Hoo boy, I’m gettin’ hungry just writing about this…

By the way, the Neoliberal “conservative” Free Marketers tried to close down the klobáserias as they weren’t plastic enough or sanitised enough for their oh-so-refined tastes (besides, the sight of ordinary folk hunching over and ENJOYING their food was too much for them)… it was taking business away from their American-style fast-food franchises (they’re NOT against government intervention if it’s in their favour)! To say the least, the common folks in Praha let their wishes be known… “We want to chow down on klobása on the main square, and you’re NOT closing down our klobáserias!” The commies and socialists led the fight FOR the mom n’ pop stands; they fought back against the megabucks multinational corporate fat-cat attempt at a fast-food putsch. Ronald McDonald and the American Way LOST. Václavák (Wenceslaus Square) is safe for klobása… thanks to the Reds! Take joy in the “little things”… they’re as much God-given as the “serious” ones… perhaps, even more so… oh, don’t trust the “respectable”… EVER…

To put it another way, it was a fight between the likes of Rod Dreher and the likes of me, and I won! There IS justice in the world at times…



Tuesday, 4 November 2014

4 November 2014. Now, For Something ENTIRELY Different… Hey, Hey, Hey, It’s National Sausage Week!

00 Plymouth PA kielbasa

Kiełbasa (that be the Polack spelling) in Plymouth PA… that’s pronounced “kah-bah-see” in PA, New York, and New Jersey


beer and kapusta

Here be “galoomkies” and kapusta with pivo… all normal people have this alongside their kolbasa (that be the Russkie spelling)


00 Pelmeni. Russian food. 26.06.13

Here be pelmeni (that be little Russkie “pirogies”) with sour cream… another good thing to have with one’s kolbász (that be the Hunkie spelling)


Put my vote in for smoked garlic kolbasa… plenty of it, with kapusta and pivo. Now, that’s American Slavonia on a plate! Y’ know, “galoomkies”, “pirogies”, the White Eagle Club, Rova Farms, the Magyar Othon, the Nassau Ave Meat Market, the M & I, the International Bar, Happy Louie and Heavy Chicago, listening to the “polka show” on the radio, having the Kulich basket blessed on Easter… the whole banana. That’s a milieu that I’m proud to have grown up in! Be sure to make enough for seconds, please…


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

12 August 2014. A Photo Essay… There be GOOD EATS in the Russian Army!

00 russian army cooks 01. 12.08.14

They’re cookin’ up goulash, borshch, and kasha… the soldiers say that the enemy could tell their positions by the yummy smell (it spreads for metres around).


00 russian army cooks 02. 12.08.14

A KP-30 field kitchen cooks meals for 30 guys.


00 russian army cooks 03. 12.08.14

“I’m not a chef! I’m a COOK!” thundered Senior Cook-Instructor Vitaly Razamazov. For 15 years, he’s fed the crew of the Guards cruiser Varyag. He made his famous pea soup, stewed meat with kasha, and compote.


00 russian army cooks 04. 12.08.14

Submariners get special rations, which include red wine and caviar. All ships on extended deployment receive additional allotments of kolbasa and meat.


00 russian army cooks 05. 12.08.14

It only took five minutes! The cook decorated this vinagret with rosettes of carrot and pickles.


00 russian army cooks 06. 12.08.14

Now, that borshch with salo… that’s GOOD EATS!


00 russian army cooks 07. 12.08.14

Russian rations have 4,000 calories per day, the largest in the world.


00 russian army cooks 08. 12.08.14

The standard bill of fare includes over 200 items… it includes Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Georgian national foods.


00 russian army cooks 09. 12.08.14

However, the staff of life is still bread… and army bakers can still bake it under field conditions.


Of course, the troops bitch and moan about the food (all good soldiers do)… they call it “Belka and Strelka” (two Sov dogs shot into space… it’s a Russian way of saying Ken-L-Ration). Nonetheless, they chow it down, and most of it is objectively good (just like the US mess halls… they do put out high-quality stuff… just pop in on Thanksgiving and find out).


Adapted from a piece in Komsomolskaya Pravda http://msk.kp.ru/daily/26266/3144635/

Monday, 27 August 2012

Kielbasa in All Shapes and Styles


Past the judges’ table they came, tray after tray of smoked and fresh kielbasa from this year’s contestants in the Plymouth Alive Kielbasa Festival, hoping for a piece of local sausage history. A Christmas tree, town scene, winter wonderland with snowmen fishing for real fish, Olympic rings, swing set, sausage mine and guillotine scene… all crafted from smoked kielbasa… made their way past the audience and judges. The fresh kielbasa, in less whimsical arrangements, had its turn on the dance floor, as Plymouth Alive President Terry Womelsdorf put it. Then, it came time for the judging, the polka music, the questionable jokes, the giant dancing sausage, and, finally, the verdict.

The winner of the fresh kielbasa crown was Bosak’s Choice Meats, leaving with their tenth crown after a year with no trophies. Just one point separated their entry from the arrangement by Tarnowski’s Kielbasa. The winner of the smoked kielbasa contest was Komensky’s Market, last year’s fresh champion. In a competition that starts with a beauty contest before it becomes a taste test of products that haven’t changed in years, presentation can be persnickety, said the contest winners. Gail Bosak, a co-owner of Bosak’s, said, “The whole idea is when they get your platter out, the audience goes, ‘Ooh, aah,’. You want to impress, but the taste and texture never change”. Brenda Sepelyak, a co-owner of Komensky’s noted that kielbasa are judged on presentation, taste, and texture, but they’re gobbled down at the festival mostly for their taste, saying, “I heard from judges that the presentation doesn’t count for all that much. When you get a good piece of kielbasa, that’s what matters to them”.

Since the contest’s exception, Janet Franchella has held it in the back room of Franchella’s Restaurant and Pub. In a few weeks, the bar will belong to Dorothy Kollar, who wants to keep the competition in the place where it’s always been. Womelsdorf said that Plymouth Alive would love to keep the contest there, but if it keeps growing, the organisers might eventually look for a bigger venue. Outside the bar, people were walking up and down Main Street sidewalks crammed with vendors, including Fetch’s Kielbasa Shop, an inaugural champion, and a winner last year.

As he manned the grill at his store’s stand, David Fetch III said that to not finish with the crown, “It hurts you a little bit. You think about what you could have done better, maybe, what you could simplify”. However, no changes are due for the 90-year-old recipe; lest his great-grandfather roll out of his grave and demand an explanation. Fetch said they’ll be back next year, and every year, as long as they’re still rolling out the barrel and eating kielbasa in Plymouth.

25 August 2012

Bill Wellock

The Citizen’s Voice (Scranton PA)


Editor’s Note:

Plymouth PA is three loud farts from Wilkes-Barre PA…its part of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA, that is, it’s in the Wyoming Valley. To put it another way, it’s about 40 klicks (@25 miles) from Scranton PA, it’ll take you about 45 minutes to drive there. There… that should do it for all you kolbasa lovers out there.

See ya there next year…


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