A Cheesy Story

Dear Readers:

Today I have a fairly cheesy story for you.  Recall that Western countries (Europe and the U.S. mostly – I call them “Westies” for short) are waging a vicious economic war against Russia.  (No time to go into all of that, you can google other sources to get the background.)  All part of the geo-strategic Great Game, which is waged on several fronts simultaneously.

In starving Leningrad: A skinny man holds his daily bread ration.

Now, the Russian people have proved, throughout history, that they can weather pretty much any attack or suffering inflicted on them by a sworn enemy.  Recall that during the German attack and siege of Leningrad 1941-1942, Russian civilians trapped in the city survived on 500 grams of bread per day.  Meat was scarce, and there was no talk of artisan cheeses.  Children were lucky if they could get a sip of milk.  And yet the Russian people survived, and even emerged victorious, kicking Nazi ass all the way back to Berlin.

The moral of the story:  Anyone who thinks that Russians will come crawling back to their natural “masters” just for a bite of parmesan or the delicious aroma of Spanish prosciutto … simply don’t know who real Russians are.

Let’s Get Real

Having said that…  Okay, let us fully stipulate that Italian parmesan is the best parmesan in the world; and that Spanish prosciutto is the best prosciutto in the world.  There is no point in denying this, or trying to pretend that home-grown substitutes are just as good.  The point is that Russians can survive on substitutes.  Hell, Americans have survived for decades on fake cheese — some kind of weird, orange-colored plastic substance — and they’re still alive.  Well… rapidly turning into Walking Dead en masse, but still… mostly alive.

Okay, having stipulated that real food is better than fake food, and that imported luxury food of the highest quality is something that is desirable for any nation to be able to afford, we turn to the fact that several months went by, since the start of the “embargo”, that Russian supermarkets have not been stocking several previously-popular brands of European parmesan cheese, nor Spanish prosciutto – in Russian called хамон (“khamon”).  And that Russians have survived without these luxury foodstuffs.

But why just survive when you can thrive?

A Lawyer and a Poet Walk Into a Supermarket…

Antonella Mularoni

Returning to the VZGLIAD story, the lede is that businessmen from two nations, Russia and the tiny Republic of San Marino, plan to sign a series of contracts on March 18.  Which is actually today.  The contract will be signed — maybe has been signed already — at the economic forum of the CIS countries.  San Marino is represented by the Minister of Territorial Development and International Economic Collaboration, a woman named Antonella Mularoni.  Her wiki bio is scarce:  She was born in 1961, is a politician and served as judge for the European Court of Human Rights.  She graduated with a law degree from Bologna University.  Which may have been an early indication of her ensuing interest in delicious Italian pork products.  It is said of Antonella that she is a straight-talking gal who will not tolerate baloney.  Nor can she abide fake food pretending to have “real Italian” flavor in it.

Chex Mix with REAL Italian PARMESAN FLAVOR – Yay!

The Russian side of this negotiation is represented by a man named Vladimir Lishchuk.  Who turns out to be some kind of Renaissance man:  a writer and a poet, as well as a businessman!  According to his bio, Lishchuk was born in 1955, in the Kaliningrad area, in a family of army officers.  By education, Lishchuk is an engineer and economist, who also studied in a military academy.  In 1997 he  became a successful businessman and ended up owning a chain of supermarkets in the Moscow area.  (Hence, also his interest in pork and cheese products.)  In the other part of his life, Lishchuk is a poet and song-writer.  He is a member of the Writers Union of Russia and also of Academy of Russian Literature.  He has won awards for his works, including the Order of Peter the Great (Second Degree), Alexander Nevsky (Second Degree), and many others too.  Here is a clip of his popular patriotic song called “I am a Russian”:

Let’s Make a Deal

In his current capacity, Lishchuk is representing a Russian commercial organization called the National Association of wholesale and distribution centers (NAORTS)  – in Russian Национальной ассоциации оптово-распределительных центров (НАОРЦ).  Of which the ever-talented Lishchuk is the Executive Director. 

Spanish prosciutto

According to Lishchuk, the deal with San Marino will allow for Russia to import many products currently under embargo.  Including parmesan and prosciutto.  It’s sort of a loophole to the embargo, because the European goods will pass through San Marino first, on their way to Russia.  Lishchuk emphasizes, that these products are artisan and specialty in nature, they are not used by the wider consumer market in Russia, just enjoyed by a relatively small number of connoisseurs.  Nonetheless this is a step in the right direction.  Of breaking the unfair embargo.

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14 Responses to A Cheesy Story

  1. Cortes says:

    An interesting deal in prospect. Thank you for highlighting it.

    A couple of points for you:

    First, prosciutto is the Italian cured ham. The Spanish is “jamon ” which appears to be the same as “khamon “.

    Second, and way more important, is focussing on people’s food intake. The brainwashing through advertising propaganda of “western ” populations into consumption of disgusting extruded abominations is probably not just detrimental to the chance of maintaining a healthy body mass index but also to the average person’s mental wellbeing. The Lyall Watson book reviewed

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2004/oct/23/featuresreviews.guardianreview2
    again and again stresses the value of increasing the number of different things we eat as a key element in the evolutionary success of both man and pig, that the old saw “you are what you eat” really is true.

    James H. Kunstler at Kunstler.com really hammers home about cheez doodles and other forms of processed ordure which people in the USA shovel into their maws. The UK has its own alimentary disasters and the swelling generation of land whales will encounter difficulties of all kinds (except, of course, as Jethro Tull sang about circa 1971 in “Fat Man” “roll us both down a mountain and I’m sure the Fat Man would win”) which will be guaranteed to leave them blubbering.

    Rant endeth.

    The Watson book is terrific, incidentally.

    Like

    • yalensis says:

      Very interesting, thanks Cortes!
      At first I thought you were going to say that Watson’s book advises against eating pig. But thankfully that was not the case. I think that pork and bacon can be part of a well-balanced diet. Obviously.
      I am glad that I correctly translated Spanish “jamon” as prosciutto. I very rarely eat prosciutto myself. Not because I don’t like it, but probably because the stuff they have here is not as tasty as the real deal.
      Yes, I agree that Americans, and not just Americans, but lots of people around the world, are suffering from the effects of a poor diet. People are obese, physically weak, and have poor immune systems. A lot of this is from eating too much processed food. Or food that is not real food. It is high time that we all went back to basics and started growing real food again.

      As for America, I am sure there are lots of cities and towns where you can buy wholesome and tasty food. Unfortunately, I don’t live in one of them. The part of the country where I live is rapidly devolving into a third-world country. We still have supermarkets, but the produce is not that fresh. People say, “Oh, American stores have endless choices.” And that’s true in a way. My supermarket has a whole aisle just devoted to different brands of potato chips and other such unhealthy crap. It’s a choice between Crap A-Z. And none of it is good for you. Oh, and there is a whole aisle devoted to different brands of yogurt. Big deal. They’re all the same, and none of them are real yogurt anyhow. Although there is this other store, where you can buy kefir that tastes more or less like real Russian kefir.

      Not only is the food not that great in this part of the country, but the level of customer service has gone down too. Half the time, people are expected to bag their own groceries. They even have do-it-yourself queues where you have to scan and bag your own stuff. What an annoying chore!

      And then, this is considered a high-end supermarket. I shop there because I have money.
      The people who don’t have much money shop in these other types of cut-price stores, where there is virtually no fresh produce, and everything is sold in bulk. Packages and packages of processed foods. Things in cans and things in boxes. Some of it is okay, but most of it isn’t good for you. And, oh yeah, they have to bag their own groceries, and even the bags aren’t provided, they have to bring their own.

      This is how far things have degenerated.

      Like

      • Cortes says:

        Jesus wept, Yalensis:

        Bagging your own purchase items! What next? Droit du seigneur?

        Grow your own vegetables! Much tastier than shop bought every day of the week.

        Like

        • yalensis says:

          I know. It’s horrible. And I am a terrible bagger too.
          Which is is why I prefer this job be done by professionals!

          Grow my own vegetables — are you serious? I live in a block of flats, and I don’t even have my own patch of land.
          Having said that, I could take some initiative and visit local farmers markets. They do have them, and also side-of-the-road kiosks selling local produce.
          I know, I admit there is more that I could do to better my lot, instead of just complaining.

          Like

          • marknesop says:

            I bet you have allotments, which is a section of land near the city or town, fenced off and subdivided into plots, and where you can rent or buy your own piece of lovely black earth. Then you grow and tend your own vegetables in it, and harvest them as you see fit. Here in Victoria – where we are surrounded by small farms and have an excellent choice of fresh produce – you can be part of a market-gardening collective and dedicate your whole plot to one crop. Then all year long you share a sack of vegetables each week (during harvest season) of whatever produce your fellow communists have grown, and you give them some of yours, so you get a nice variety. It’s probably better than everyone growing a mix – although if you choose lettuce and a deer gets into it, it can wipe out your whole crop in an hour. But usually the fences are high and deer-proof.

            We also have lots of farm markets to choose from, and that’s a good option, too. Small farmers are being squeezed out by giants like Wal Mart, whose gig is to strike a deal with the farmer whereby they will make him an exclusive supplier, and buy his whole crop, guaranteed. That’s what farmers are looking for, and they are usually delighted…so far. But then they learn that Wal Mart will pay a little bit under market value. So he has a dilemma – don’t take the offer, and maybe not sell the whole crop, or take it and barely make any money. Either way, really, he makes just enough to live on. While the Walton family has more money than it could ever spend.

            Like

            • yalensis says:

              Yeah, but the Walton family still have to live in that crowded rickety house, all 50 of them together, with only 3 bedrooms and one outhouse.

              Like

            • Jen says:

              I maht be kinda slow so yuh hafta forgive me but that there rickety wooden house was ackshully kinda beeeg and it was located in Wyoming, not good ole Arkansas. Christy Walton sold it years ago.

              They’s lookin’ really healthy too and don’t wear them denim overalls anymores.

              Like

            • yalensis says:

              Is that there Billy Bob and John-Boy?
              Ah reckon they’se all grown up now!
              (And completed their transgender surgery, I reckon.)

              Like

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