Across the Enemy Line
On the way back from St. Petersburg yesterday, I decided I wanted to make Khachapuri for dinner -- a literal boat load of all things that are NOT good for your waistline like cheese, bread, and butter.
Khachapuri is a common dish found in Georgian cuisine. The first time I had Georgian food was when I visited Moscow. Oddly, it was my first meal in Russia and it's not even Russian. After that dinner, I felt robbed of a few years of my life for not knowing this cuisine sooner. The meal was exciting both in terms of flavours and the way it looked. When something is foreign to me, it gives me an exhilarating feeling. It was love at first bite.
So when I got a chance to visit St. Petersburg. I made it a point to have at least one Georgian meal.
I invited a Muscovite and a St. Petersburg's native out for dinner at a small, 10 table Georgian restaurant called Ket Cafe.
Although, we mostly discussed all things Russian during dinner, I just had to ask a question that had been nagging me all night - "So what's the deal with Georgian food in Russia?"
The Peter's native responded. "At one point, you couldn't find Georgian food here. It was banned in Russia" (because of all the tension between the two countries).
"So how come it has made a comeback and is so popular here now?" I knew the answer was obvious, but I asked anyway. The man looked at me like I had two heads and answered "well because it is good!" Of course, it is.
A meal at Ket Cafe left my stomach full and my mind wondering...is food the only thing that can transcend or even ease tensions? Food maybe the only thing that has no concept of enemy lines; allowing people to put their differences aside and enjoy a good meal, at least while at the dining table.
I would like to believe this is so.