Journal: News & Comment

Friday, July 27, 2001
# 1:43:00 PM:

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What's yours?

A question that floats around in life, asking itself periodically, is "What's the best meal you've ever eaten?"

1985, when Gorbachev's perestroika had not yet taken root. I was fifteen and on a school trip to Russia. We flew from Vancouver to London, stayed there a few days, then on to Moscow, by train to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg again), by plane back to Moscow, then to London again. (There was a day-trip across the Channel to France in there too, probably before the flight to Moscow.)

Russia was in flux -- something was palpably changing, but the old revolutionary slogans still adorned buildings and billboards. The trip was astounding. The food, however, was definitely still of the Marxist-Leninist era: often bland and low quality. Not what a bunch of teenagers from Canada craved.

When we returned to London, we sought out some Real Food. One of my classmates -- who had broken his leg shortly before the trip and spent the entire voyage skipping around on crutches -- somehow knew of a Dutch pancake (a.k.a. pannekoek) house somewhere in the city. The rest of us followed him as he hopped, seemingly for hours, until he found it.

I ate one of the enormous pannekoeks with ham and cheese melted on top. And two milkshakes. Two. A very western imperialist pig-dog bourgoisie experience, actually.

That was my best meal.


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