Every now and again I get a note from a stranger who bumped into something I’ve posted on the Internet that they have taken exception to or, much more rarely, been inspired by and they drop me a line.
And my Dear Old Mum always told me that if someone takes the time to write to you it’s only fair that you should reply. But I’m kind of busy with real world issues at the moment and I’ve been putting the latest receipts to one side to be dealt with when I was kind of less busy.
Well, I’m still busy but I’ve been sitting on a few emails for almost two months now. Plus, all the pre release publicity (and publicity stunts) for the new Borat movie have reminded me of one email in particular that I haven’t yet responded to.
smiling because he comes from a country with some of
the largest fuel and mineral reserves in the world. And if
he's smiling now he's going to be pissing himself in a
few years time. He also happens to be Muslim.
Aren't we clever
The email is about Kvas
Kvas is the national soft drink of Russia and, I suspect, quite a few other FSU republics.
It’s primary ingredient is stale bread soaked in water which is then fermented in old plastic Fanta bottles and flavoured with whatever comes to hand – raisins, tree bark, horseradish … let your imagination run wild!
I’ve described Kvas in far from flattering terms a couple of times on the web.
In my defence, my first Kvas experience took place as part of a bizarre afternoon spent on the banks of the River Don which culminated in a group of very, very drunk people (including me) dancing in the woods to the sound of Cossack folk music blasting out from a car stereo; each of us holding half a tomato in our hands.
You would have had to be there to understand.
dancing began - Note Kvas in foreground.
And, yes, that chap on the far right is a Kazakh
The fact that Kvas is sometimes sold on roadsides from what appear to be ex-Red Army fuel bowsers doesn’t do its reputation as the drink of sophisticates any favours either
Anyway, I got this email from a guy called Vlad a couple of months ago
I thought you were kind of harsh on Kvass.
Before you dismiss my opinion and perceive my liking of Kvass as more evidence for your theory that only Russians like Kvass, you should understand that I had only lived in Russia in my childhood, up until I was 11 years old, at which point my family moved to Canada, and have been living here since then. I am now in my twenties, and am completely integrated into western culture. I have several Canadians friends whom I have offered Kvass, and I have never gotten a bad reaction from it.
As you say yourself, there are several ways of making Kvass, so perhaps your experiences with it are only negative due to a coincidence of drinking a version of kvass made from a shitty recipe? I've never tried kvass made with beets, as my family has always made it out of bread alone, and the street-vender kvass in Russia is made from bread alone as a standard. However, the stuff with beets in it does sound disgusting.
What I like about kvass is the contrast between in its taste which is mild, and yet its very strong and distinct at the same time. The semi-carbonation is a nice touch as well.
Give kvass another shot, or try a couple of different types. I'm not trying to say that your opinion is somehow wrong, but I just think that if locals here in Canada like it, your very strong words against kvass seem a little disproportional.
Vlad, I’m sorry I didn’t write back to you sooner. I apologise if what passes for my sense of humour caused any offence and, yes, I will give Kvas another try – this time without being drunk to the point of nausea first and most definitely without the half tomato.