All post-Soviet societies should introduce a national holiday similar to Thanksgiving, I thought, skimming through the morning news, teeming with articles about food drives across the U.S. People volunteer, donate food and toys, and write in order to increase awareness of either the poor who may not afford having a happy Thanksgiving meal or the meal itself and one's right to be treated well while giving thanks.
However, introducing another day that involves eating meat may not be feasible for post-Soviet culture, which is quite addicted to meat. Also, in times of financial crisis, there are alarming signs that meat might be disappearing from kitchens in Russia, if not across the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
You should never underestimate the value of meat in that part of the world. My family enjoys eating meat for breakfast. It might of course be some quirky diet that runs in my family, which is extremely concerned about the “negative American influence” on me — I’m vegetarian.
This summer, one babushka (grandma) was genuinely shocked upon hearing that people can live without meat in the U.S. She asked me if I had ever met another person who did not eat meat. I tried to assure her in vain that the majority of my friends are either vegetarian or vegan. However, this winter that babushka might be one of the many who involuntarily goes vegetarian.
This year’s holiday season, filled as it is with vows and resolutions, has the potential to make folks in post-Soviet society realize that maybe it is time to think about substituting something for that product that is becoming too expensive. Also, it is timely to consider your vulnerabilities at this time of year.
With our personal crisis-induced troubles on the agenda, we should still be well aware of the millions of hungry people around the world, who have no Thanksgiving that makes any difference.
*Z is from a country that made up the Soviet Union, and her writing on cultural and political matters could have a backlash when she returns home from the U.S., so she writes under a pseudonym.
(Photo by David Lat of Washington, D.C. via stock.xchng.)
Commonwealth of Independent States
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