Sunday, January 20, 2008

Found Grechnevaya Kasha

A few months ago, I wrote a post about looking for grechnevaya kasha, or roasted buckwheat porridge. Well, I found some during my trip to the Bay Area-- in Safeway Supermarket, in the international food section underneath the Israeli flag beside the matzo. They were only selling one brand of kasha-- Wolff's. Their website is pretty modest, but has loads of information including recipes and tips for cooking.

I got the meduim granulation, which is midway between fine and coarse. This granulation is usually steamed and eaten like rice or bulgur (that yellow circle on the box says "instead of rice"), which is exactly what I plan to do with the kasha. A 13-ounce box (369 g) costs $3.85 (around P150), if I remember correctly-- much more expensive than brown rice which costs P50/kilo-- and I got two boxes. Well, I think it's worth it for a little taste of Russia and Central Asia.

To say that the Russians like kasha is an understatement (or so I hear). They have a saying: щи да каша-- пища наша. It literally translates as, "Shchi (cabbage soup) and kasha-- our food." Now, that may not sound like much, but in Russian it is pronounced as, "Shchi da kasha-- pishcha nasha," which rhymes well. If you're looking for some profound meaning behind this saying, well, there's none. It's just a rhyme about their staple food, something kids can easily memorise and in the process form a national identity.

A Filipino equivalent could be something like, "Adobo't kanin-- ating pagkain." Other suggestions?


Kathleen said...

I like Adobo't Kanin!

Anonymous said...

If i recall correctly it means something like "Whoever wins or loses, we will still be eating kasha". It's really a quite defeatist saying.

In English it could be compared to "Whoever wins, we lose".

E. Cross Saltire said...

thanks, doubleday!