My diet in Ukraine has been, as I have mentioned in other posts, overall rather organic. I admit to occasionally indulging in sweets and Coke Light. Rarer still I indulge in chips. But mostly I eat a lot of vegetables, some fruits (rarer now that fruit season is over – we are in apples and pears). I eat buckwheat, black bread, cheese, yogurt, museli. I am pretty content, overall, as I don’t have high demands for food (I have what is called a low food motivation). So in general, because I don’t particularly love to eat, it is easy to get by here without the American conveniences (though I do miss having a choice of ethnic foods).
However, one thing I had not eaten at all since I have been in Ukraine is beef. Pork, yes – too much during my first 10 weeks, almost none since. Chicken, on occasion – because I live in an oblast center, the grocery store has rotisserie chicken, and I don’t have an oven, so I have splurged on that a couple of times. But beef, well, no. Beef is in the grocery store, but out of my price range. Now, it is not like I ate a lot of beef in the States. In fact, the only time I did was when I was at my parents’ or sister’s house. But still, I had it on occasion.
Last weekend, when I was in Kyiv, I decided the time was right for a hamburger. I was staying the night with some other PCVs and the decision was made to go to a restaurant and get hamburgers – oh joy! Oh happiness! How I looked forward to that.
We got to the restaurant, sat down and waited for a while (see previous post). When the waitress came to take our order and we said “four cheeseburgers” she said “we are out of hamburgers.” Well, time to go. I left with part of the group (part stayed) and we decided to go to that bastion of Americanism in Kyiv (no, not McDonald’s, though there are a number of those in Kyiv), TGI Friday’s!
However, when we got to Friday’s, I decided that maybe it was not the right choice, to get a hamburger. They are expensive. They cost the same as they do in the US (remember, I am a volunteer on a limited monthly budget). Until the savior of the night, Sarah, said “it is my birthday tomorrow and I want to buy everyone dinner.” We said no. We said it is too much. She insisted, and we relented. (And because we were seven people, we got a free pitcher of Electric Lemonade).
So a hamburger it was – a real hamburger, in an “American” setting. How is it that was just what I needed? I ate that thing in record time, I must admit. Yum.