Great question, Luke!
Of course we have pizza in Russia! We have Pizza Khaht, and Pizza Express, and in Moscow we have Dzhack’s (Jack’s), which delivers pizza to your house. I have yet to see a cabbage and potato pizza, but I don’t get out beyond the Ural Mountains much, so it is possible that some warped individuals out in the hinterland have attempted this and I just don’t know about it.
When I first moved to Russia in the early 1990s, in my wake came all the fast food behemoths: McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Khat, and even, for a brief moment, Dunkin’ Doughnuts, which didn’t last long, and a bagel place that lasted even less time. But the majors were here to stay. This caused some concern amongst the disgruntled conservative crowd of Slavophiles who felt that Russian culture was being drowned in tomato ketchup, and so two fast food legends: “Russkoye Bistro,” or Russian Bistro and “Kroshka Kartoshka,” which roughly translates as “adorable little jacket potato.” Russkoye Bistro sold Russian traditional peasant food such as potato and cabbage “pirozhki,” or “pee-roh-gee” as you may have heard them (incorrectly) referred to, borscht, schi (cabbage soup), buckwheat groats with meatballs and other delicacies. Kroshka Kartoshka, which began life in vans, spent its adolescence in flimsy kiosk, and has matured into actual stores, sells baked potatoes with peculiarly Russian toppings: Bulgarian peppers, herring, pickled mushrooms, and for the true potato lovers: more potatoes mixed with mayonnaise.
It is interesting to note that both Russian Bistro and Adorable Little Jacket Potato have liquor licenses and sell beer and vodka. This may account in some measure for their longevity in the Russian market, and their competitive market share viz-a-viz McDonald’s and KFC.Daisy in Cheltenham, UK asks
: What language do they speak in Siberia?
Dear Daisy: Russian.Nancy from Pittsfield, MA wants to know
: What does a typical teenager do after school – in Moscow? In St. Petersburg?
Nancy, great question!
The teen-agers I know in Moscow and St. Petersburg spend all their time after school being policed in their studies by their tough cookie grandmothers, when they are not being drilled in supplementary studies by hired tutors in things like French or quantum mathematics. Many Russian teenagers are out learning to play tennis, but I suspect the majority are updating their Facebook (VKontakte.ru - Russian Facebook) profiles, blogging on ZhZh (Live Journal), or smoking cigarettes on park benches around the city centers. Many Russian teenagers in Moscow and St. Petersburg are attending schools in Switzerland or the UK, and therefore will be playing cricket or golf prior to smoking cigarettes on park benches.
Russian teenagers, write in and tell Nancy and me just what it is you do do after school! We want to know!
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