It’s a long time since I wrote anything about Belarus (even though I once wrote a chapter for a book on my trip there). And as it’s yet to feature on my Friday’s Featured Food series, I thought it was time to recollect that day I tried Belarussian Porridge in the drab city of Bobruisk. Intriguing…
The porridge arrives on my breakfast table next to my orange juice and my cup of tea. I was expecting normal porridge. But then again “what is normal?”. Was that porridge I had as a child growing up in Northern Ireland the normal stuff? That was just my opinion wasn’t it? For the record I used to eat Quaker Oats porridge growing up. Most of the year, once a day, in the morning , especially in cold winters.
However I kind of neglected porridge when I started travelling and indeed I hadn’t had it for many years the day I arrived ridiculously into the city of Bobruisk. Bobruisk is one of the most obscure places I have ever been. A city in eastern Belarus, not far from the site of the horrible Chernobyl disaster (which occurred just across the border into the Ukraine). I ended up staying by the Berezina River in the Hotel Tourist in Bobruisk. There were no backpackers or hostels in Bobruisk back in 2007 when I visited. There may be now.
Anyway I got a crazy train from Minsk out to Bobruisk for a football match and after hitching a cheap ride to the hotel (story for another day) I chilled out. Next morning it was down to the dining room for breakfast. When porridge arrived it had these random “sweets” in it. I scoffed the lot in next to no time as I was just hungry after the latest bit of travel (had been in Russia and China before Belarus). But the porridge was horrible!!
I had been having breakfast with the entire Northern Ireland ladies football team and their backroom staff including David Currie (from the IFA) and Alfie Wylie (head coach) so it wasn’t like a lonely breakfast experience. The room was full and everyone agreed the porridge was disgusting. Somehow we all ate it. Next morning it was back to cornflakes for me and jam on toast. In the end the football match turned out to be a 5-0 defeat to Belarus. Maybe, just maybe it was the yucky porridge that did it.
I haven’t been back to Belarus since (just done Armenia, Georgia, Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan though) and still wonder if the locals actually like this stuff. Happy eating my friends, Belarussian porridge is one of the worst dishes I’ve ever had.
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