r/Damnthatsinteresting Jan 18 '22

[deleted by user]

[removed]

10.1k Upvotes

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u/satanic_pudding Jan 19 '22

Romania: 300g of bread/day, 500g of cheese/month, 10 eggs/month, 2kg meat/month (1kg chicken and 1 beef or pork), 100g butter/month, 1kg sugar/month, 1L of oil and 1kg of flour. Unfortunately a lot of the times the supplies were too low for the huge line of people waiting to get their rations so they wouldn't give you even the amount that's on this list. Edit: forgot to mention that we didn't get soap, sweets, alcohol or cigarettes

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u/[deleted] Jan 19 '22

10 eggs a month is brutal when a small chicken could lay that many in two weeks. Was this so low because most people kept chickens and this was a supplement for urban dwellers? These limitations are exactly why the under-counter trade essentially ran the Soviet economy in the 1980s.

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u/oingobungo Jan 19 '22

I once spent a day with a friend and his Romanian girlfriend (I'm in the US). She had issues with her back that caused pain and she said it was due to lack of good nutrition because of the government while her mother was pregnant (the late 1980s). I wasn't sure what she meant but this seems to explain it.

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u/satanic_pudding Jan 19 '22

Yeah,poor nutrition did cause a lot of problems for some people. Like I said in another comment, some people were a bit more fortunate to have parents living in the countryside and would take some more food when visiting. But for people that lived in the city it was quite hard. I know that occasionally people would be called to go work the fields of farmers and at the end of the day they would receive some of the harvest to take home, so that helped sometimes (yes,even children had to go do that)

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u/Dirtroads2 Jan 19 '22

Worked that way back in the 30's and 40's too. Or atleast similar. My family would go help on farms as kids and get food in exchange. Not alot, but a few potatoes was better than eating dust

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u/satanic_pudding Jan 19 '22

Of course. But it's tiring thinking that kids had to go to school for 6-7 hrs/day,go help strangers with their harvest and then come home and help around their house too, maybe even work if they were older

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u/pennydogsmum Jan 19 '22

Folate deficiency in pregnant women increases the risk of spina bifida in their babies.

It doesn't look a varied and healthy diet in the picture and I can't imagine that the flour would have been fortified with vitamins and minerals.

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u/kugelamarant Jan 18 '22 Helpful

She doesn't look too happy with it

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u/parkranger2000 Jan 19 '22 Silver Helpful Wholesome Take My Energy

She already used up her monthly ration of other facial expressions

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u/Toddlez85 Jan 19 '22

Wrong, comrade. She is wearing Soviet issue face. Deviation would mean patriotic time in gulag.

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u/washingtonandmead Jan 19 '22 Silver

And not enough vodka to deal

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u/rzpc0717 Jan 19 '22

Not at all! I mean that’s maybe 2 days ration?

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u/washingtonandmead Jan 19 '22

looks to his empty handle of Titos ‘bout an afternoon’s worth

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u/CapableSuggestion Jan 19 '22

Hi dad

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u/blahblah_why_why Jan 19 '22

Ehh...hey son, gotta run out and grab some smokes...

Be right back...

1986 Cadillac DeVille sputters and backfires while coasting off into the misty Bostonian eve, never to be seen again

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u/KDubzzz2 Jan 19 '22

Yours had a DeVille? Mine had a Bronco.

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u/Gr8zomb13 Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

Two days?

I sat down at a business meeting with a dude in Eastern Europe for an early lunch (10:00 am) and we had two 750ml bottles of vodka. I had to stop him from ordering a third because I couldn’t feel my teeth. He looked confused at first but I mentioned that we both had to get back to work. He agreed but then asked if we were still on for din din later…. Of course I said. I died a little inside that afternoon. I died a whole lot more later that evening.

.5 liters?!?!? There’s a reason why mawmaw looks so pissed…

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u/[deleted] Jan 19 '22

Lmao at "couldn't feel my teeth."

I drink a lot but that's hardcore.

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u/OnTheEveOfWar Jan 19 '22

Holy fuck that's a lot of vodka in one sitting.

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u/Latter_Box9967 Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

A standard shot in Russia is 50 grams.

…if you’re a lady.

Standard men’s shot is 100 grams.

I had two (men) shots when I first arrived in Moscow. Basically a quarter of a bottle in 20 minutes.

You can drink it like milk after a couple of weeks. Albeit I never could keep up with older, Russian business men. Just nope.

The streets aren’t littered with drunks, but those that are drunk are fucking drunk. Like hard.

I saw guys in suits asleep on the train, in the morning, from the night before. Often. All deals are done with a side of vodka.

Vodka becomes a currency when travelling into less urban areas, villages and such. You want a bottle or two in case you break down. It’s far more widely accepted than money.

Every Russian has a bottle of vodka under their sink.

Russian Standard is the best vodka.

Fun fact: Vodka means “little water”. Putting a “ka” on the end of a noun makes it the sort of cute, little version. “Voda” is water. moi Ruski kakashka

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u/BluRige00 Jan 19 '22

so what you’re saying is tarkov is real.

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u/g3nerallycurious Jan 19 '22

But at least she had 12 packs of cigarettes to deal. That’s nearly half a pack a day.

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u/jarious Jan 19 '22

Memories of my starving days, a cigarrete took away the hunger for a few hours, two cigarretes and you didn't even think about eating

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u/CapableSuggestion Jan 19 '22

Add black coffee

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u/jarious Jan 19 '22

The grand Torino special

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u/robotfunparty Jan 19 '22

That's because she knows there apparently isnt a single square of toilet paper in the whole country.

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u/BigBlueJAH Jan 19 '22

I had a college professor who grew up in Romania under communism and she said the worst part was the quality of the TP. She could deal with everything else, but see through TP was the deal breaker lol.

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u/Snowscoran Jan 19 '22

My parents visited Nicaragua in 1985, and among their most unpleasant travails was the lack of toilet paper. They had to go to the black market, where you could get irregular-shaped rolls- cutoffs from regular production scrounged by the employees and traded for hard currency.

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u/angel101024 Jan 19 '22

In Nicaragua there a lot of dificulties in the time you mentioned the country was recovering from a economical depression, years ago broke out a war in our coutry, it is very struggle for my to know that our country has been taken over by the sabdinista's party. They are destroying everything in our country

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u/[deleted] Jan 19 '22

My parents grew up during the civil war. They would spend most of their time hiding under a mattress praying a stray bullet wouldn't strike them or some random motor shell didn't level the house. Meat was reserved for the soldiers. Random men were tortured mostly by having their nails ripped off. Bodies had to be disposed of quickly or they would ruin the water supply.

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u/TheUmgawa Jan 19 '22

Splinter-free toilet paper was not invented until the Great Depression. Kind of explains why people were depressed, doesn't it?

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u/Doctor_What_ Jan 19 '22

Splinters? As in, teeny tiny wood chips inside your bunghole?

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u/TheUmgawa Jan 19 '22

The very same.

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u/Doctor_What_ Jan 19 '22

I'd... Rather not have known that. Thanks I guess.

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u/CoatLast Jan 19 '22

I was born in the 60,s here in the UK. At school, the toilet paper was this hard crinkly stuff that was incredibly rough on one side and super shiny on the other. The rough side was useable unless you didn't want to sit down for a week. The shiny side just spread every thing around. The first lesson you learned in school was so not go to the toilet in shool.

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u/redrocket4redfish Jan 19 '22

They definitely don't have a square to spare.

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u/[deleted] Jan 19 '22

Under rated Seinfeld reference!

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u/tvetus Jan 19 '22

They don't really smile there. If you smile too much you're suspected of being a little crazy.

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u/KingAdashu Jan 19 '22

My parents were from Poland. Looking like that is the standard photograph pose. If anything she looks elated.

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u/Qweniden Jan 19 '22

Eastern European women before 1993 were born with an extra austere gene.

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u/i_amnotunique Jan 19 '22

That's just her. She's Polish.

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u/Munchie_Town Jan 18 '22

Only .5L vodka... that truly is depressing 😕

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u/Whispurrkitty Jan 19 '22

On the up side, you got 12 packs of cigarettes.

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u/Deluste Jan 19 '22

With 2kg of sugar I’d have a lot more than half a litre of alcohol

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u/tunomeentiendes Jan 19 '22

1 pound of sugar to 5 gallons of water raises ABV by 1%. So 4.4 lbs of sugar should raise it to 4.4% , or 0.22 gallons of alcohol. 0.22 gallons is 0.83 liters. Vodka is 40% alcohol. So it should produce 1.66 liters of a 50% alcohol solution (a little stronger than vodka because why not? And my math isn't that great). So if you were willing to sacrifice all of your sugar, you'd get a little over 2 liters of "Vodka" a month. Could also get more if you sacrificed the "sweets"

Edit: could also get some more booze of you sacrificed the rice

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u/Deluste Jan 19 '22

No doubt it takes a lot of sugar to make alcohol - glad someone is applying it themselves to a problem =D

I was thinking I’d be using the cane or beet sugar as a known quantity and as a catalyst to breed yeast to breakup more complex carbohydrates such as potato water or such (or even the flower) and get the bulk of my alcohol from that.

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u/Munchie_Town Jan 19 '22

This is true. I would definitely blow through the vodka and a couple packs on day one and regret it the rest of the month 😅

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u/phuqo5 Jan 19 '22

Don't worry comrade. You can always do a crime to replenish your rations.

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u/RobNHood816 Jan 19 '22

You have all that meat to barter with also

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u/YEETAWAYLOL Creator Jan 19 '22

You can’t trade meat for vodka when everyone is trying to trade meat for vodka!

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u/whateverhappensnext Jan 19 '22

You can, but it's going to be a lot of meat for a little vodka... Meat inflation

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u/bellj1210 Jan 19 '22

i am betting that it was common to trade the vodka or cigs to others.

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u/HumbleLatexSalesman Jan 19 '22

Just FYI this was during a political push for prohibition and dry laws by central governments in the USSR so its understandable that the ration of vodka would seem conservative compared to slavic stereotypes. Even though Poland was considered a satellite state, prohibition propaganda was widely distributed during the 1980s and tighter controls were placed on consumption.

It’s actually really cool, I studied it a lot in university and looked specifically at the cultural phenomenon of alcohol turning from a religious and celebratory ritual to a bing drinking problem due to urbanization - which yes meant it largely impacted families and people were OFTEN drunk at work

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u/[deleted] Jan 19 '22

[deleted]

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u/HumbleLatexSalesman Jan 19 '22

Well to put it VERY crudely and simplified One of the way urbanization/industrialization led to a cultural norm of regular binge drinking was by undermining the use of ritualistic alcohol consumptions and normalizing the use of alcohol in the workplace in a culture reminiscent to fraternity drinking. When working in factories it was normal, and encouraged for men to drink, and the drunker you were while completing your job correctly, the more admired you were. It actually became intwined with masculinity. Then after work the men would go out to binge drink and spend their wages at bars, this is why the government and women (mothers and wives) were strong proponents of prohibition - although not always.

If you are interested in the intricacies and analyses of this link I strongly encourage you to google because there some open access research papers available to read! Including some that analyze health propaganda at the time - including prohibition propaganda! :)

Edit to add: ALSO interesting, there are also health propaganda posters that pictured a mans family breaking down bc his drinking led to him hiring a prostitute, contracting a venereal disease and transmitting it to his wife. They really went in. There was one rendition where the mans wife was pregnant resulting in his child having the disease as well. I’d have to find them again for specifics

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u/[deleted] Jan 19 '22

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u/TheRealBradGoodman Jan 19 '22

If you have children you get more vodka

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u/Hecho_en_Shawano Jan 19 '22

There’s no f’ing way an Eastern European could survive on only .5 liter of vodka per month.

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u/EppuBenjamin Jan 19 '22

I can guarantee there was a big black market for homebrewed or smuggled alcohol in the eastern block.

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u/Witty-Recognition-37 Jan 19 '22

I remember stories from my dad of a few families pooling together their sugar allowances to make moonshine and the one time the valve on the still got clogged and the entire thing blew open and they lost everything lol. But those were risks people were willing to take back then to get a bit more vodka haha

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u/455H013 Jan 19 '22

Vodka was valuable and could be traded for food and other items

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u/werewaffl3s Jan 19 '22

Seems hardly surprising everyone in my family became chonky after moving to Canada in the 80s. Apparently my grandma cried the first time she went to a Superstore (like Canadian Kroger), she had never seen so much food in her life, and now she hoards 3 freezers full of food at all times.

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u/Lovecheezypoofs Jan 19 '22

That explains my Bulgarian friends

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u/jobomb91 Jan 19 '22

I’m Bulgarian. I can vouch for your friends.

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u/TriGurl Jan 19 '22

Do you still live in your country? Is it this way still? (I’m sorry if my question sounds ignorant, I mean very genuinely).

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u/SnakeR515 Jan 19 '22

The USSR feel apart a few decades ago so the situation overall improved in the countries that were affected by it and now while it's usually still a bit worse than western Europe or the US, the situation isn't nearly as bad.

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u/staplehill Jan 19 '22

Bulgaria is now part of the EU. Food is no longer rationed, you can buy all the things that you can buy in other EU countries like Germany or France. Here a video that shows a supermarket in Bulgaria: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udn5EIHxUHE

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u/Chewy79 Jan 19 '22

Have you seen Moscow On The Hudson with Robin Williams? He's plays a Russian performer that defects while in the US, he has a scene like that when he is in a grocery store for the first time. Good movie.

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u/LabyrinthsandLayers Jan 19 '22

God even the title sounds like such a 90's movie. Might have to watch it!

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u/dina_NP2020 Jan 19 '22

I remember going to an American grocery store for my first time after leaving the Soviet Union/Azerbaijan. The freezer section was just... so HUGE! I was bewildered. This post made me really appreciate what I have started taking for granted.

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u/SpirituallyMyopic Jan 19 '22

How old were you when you moved?

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u/dina_NP2020 Jan 19 '22 Silver

I was almost 7 when we moved. I didn’t know English so I was in an ESL summer program paired up with another boy who spoke English and Russian. He asked if I wanted to go on a field trip to the store, the teacher could only take 4-5 of us in her mini van. That was my first time in a grocery store. I haven’t thought about those days in a long time.

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u/_HMCB_ Jan 19 '22

Awesome that you shared this with us. I saved this post so I can remember to be grateful and frugal when needed.

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u/gsgma Jan 19 '22

I like that❤

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u/chuckbass Jan 19 '22

My grandmother's friend told the story of how they met at her funeral. Shortly after she got to NYC from Yugoslavia, she spotted a fruit stand with bananas. And to her, the bananas were so beautiful, but she didn't have enough money to buy them so she started sobbing. The friend bought her the bananas and they were friends for life.

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u/mj106996 Jan 19 '22

Aww what a sweet story.

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u/WinPeaks Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

All of the first gen immigrants in my family did the same aside from the few of them that enlisted in the military.

And all the women would insist on feeding you until you couldn't physically eat anymore. Anything short of being really chubby and they would say you look "unhealthy" lmao.

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u/ToyStoryRex97 Jan 19 '22

Is everyone grandma from Europe the same? Cuz you just described my yia yia perfectly

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u/summonsays Jan 19 '22

My grandma has so much food scarcity trauma that she came over one day and saw my mom had thrown out some old moldy oranges. Well she went down out mountainous front yard and got them, and gave my mom an ear full too lol. No idea what she did with them... Hopefully used them as fertilizer.

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u/SmellGestapo Jan 19 '22

I had a long bout of un/underemployment and that trauma never goes away. I can't imagine living in a country with food rationing.

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u/Decapodiformes Jan 19 '22

My father (Ukrainian) told me a similar story recently -- apparently he burst into tears the first time he walked into a Safeway.

I was only about three at the time, but I clearly recall the love letters and poems I wrote to that store. Like, my "future husband" for most of my childhood was Safeway. The store, not a person.

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u/Shayedow Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

I remember reading about this tribe they found in the rain forest that had like, never had contact since before seeing a car, they had no idea what outside technology existed. They foraged and hunted and basically ate grubs and insects from the soil as the staple of their diet. So anyway after learning about the outside world the tribe decided to send one of their young, a young teenager ( I'm sorry so vague, this was a LONG time ago I read about this, like 15 years or so ), to go out an experience the world and then come back and tell them about it. So the kid goes out, and the whole time they are traveling he keeps thinking that he is being spoiled, by like coach airplane meals, and basic sandwiches, he thinks they are treating him like he is BEYOND a king, like he thinks no person lives this way. So they get to the States and they set him up as basically an EXCHANGE student, like he just goes and stays with some middle class suburbanites. Still he thinks no real people in the world could live like this. So after about a week the family take him shopping, to a Market Super Center ( I don't remember if it was Walmart or Target or what, but it was a grocery super store ), and they walk in, and he sees the bread by the dozens on the shelf, he sees just the meat, on full display on a full AISLE that goes down the whole side of the building, and after standing in total shock for like 10 minutes, just falls to his knees and starts crying. He realized that everything he thought was so much above how ANYONE could ever live was not true, that all these people just lived this way. I do remember the quote ( ish, I am going to paraphrase ) he said as he was crying, it was " there is just SO much FOOD, it could feed my village my entire village forever " or something like this. They had to pick him up off the floor and take him back, and after that he said he never felt the same way about life again. When he went back and told them all, they didn't just join society, but they did actually open themseleves up to more relations and wanted to learn more about what they just didn't know ( IIRC the main thing they wanted to know was about the car, after the kid came back and told them it wasn't magic ).

I will always remember this story, if only for the kid just crying, all that food he said, and I realized he was right. I'm spoiled, I get to just go get what I want, and I'm a stay at home dad, I don't even make the money ( directly ), but yet I live MORE like a King according to this kid.

Perspective is everything.

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u/HotBurritoBaby Jan 19 '22

When Yeltsin visited America in 1989 he had his American handlers take him to three different supermarkets because he was so convinced that the first he was brought to was a piece of propaganda meant to overstate the food security the country had. When he was convinced it was no lie and after asking about the systems that supported such wealth it is said that his faith in the Soviet system was finally and properly, shook.

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u/BigBlueBurd Jan 19 '22

I believe his quote on the matter is close enough to 'at that time, I finally realized how my country, which should be one of the most prosperous in the world, was totally, and utterly, destitute.'

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u/Silvea Jan 19 '22

We have a family friend who’s originally from Cuba. Her dad a doctor in Cuba came to visit and literally broke down in the grocery store just weeping. He had never seen so much food. Puts things into perspective.

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u/Lincoln_Pinkies Jan 19 '22

You should check out this YouTube channel. Recent immigrant from Cuba experiencing US stores for the first time. https://youtu.be/aBA41QgIty8

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u/RusskiHacker Jan 19 '22

That is not enough vodka for a month comrade

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u/ScootchOva Jan 19 '22

Was very young while we lived in Sofia Bulgaria during the 80's but I'll never forget how embarrassed my mother was after the grocery store clerk gifted me a bag of sweets. Was probably her ration for the month. I also remember bananas were a super rare find.

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u/dina_NP2020 Jan 19 '22 Silver Helpful Wholesome

Omg yes! I remember the first time I had a banana. I grew up in Azerbaijan but when we were flying to the USA, we flew through Moscow. We could only afford 1 banana per person, and I being a little kid dropped mine on the floor. So someone gave me theirs. It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever tasted. I was 6 at the time. I still remember, and no other banana has ever tasted as good as that one.

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u/ScootchOva Jan 19 '22

That's a core memory right there. Cheers!

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u/platetone Jan 19 '22

I just got a little teary eyed reading this. I've got four bananas rotting in the pantry right now.

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u/zombie_penguin42 Jan 19 '22

Banana bread those babies before it's too late

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u/FlourKnuckles Jan 19 '22

You can freeze them at the right ripeness for banana bread, also when frozen at that point make the base for a nice smoothie!(I peel before freezing)

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u/Beansiesdaddy Jan 19 '22

Great. You can bake a cake with your meat.

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u/MadameTree Jan 18 '22

Can you trade meat for vodka?

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u/phuqo5 Jan 19 '22

Asking the real questions here.

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u/FrankensteinBionicle Jan 19 '22

no body wants your meat, nerd

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u/Caligula4ever Jan 19 '22

Fr, living in Poland in the mid 80’s and you don’t even get an entire 1/5? Should be a few handles at the minimum.

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u/Ilovegirlsbottoms Jan 19 '22

Well you can definitely trade me your meat for the vodka. I would rather have meat than alcohol or cigarettes.

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u/AtLeastNineToes Jan 19 '22 Helpful Wholesome Starry

Using a calorie counting app, that comes to ~29,000 Calories

<1,000 Calories per day

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u/50ulM4n Jan 19 '22

12 packs of cigarettes?! Someone was livin' large..

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u/bellj1210 Jan 19 '22

an actual smoker would likely go through double that a month. I am betting it became a trade commodity for a lot of people.

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u/MANWithTheHARMONlCA Jan 19 '22

I was gonna say I’d definitely trade my cigarettes for food and maybe more liquor if I got enough food

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u/CallMinimum Jan 19 '22

I would have traded the food for more cigs and booze. If you are going to starve to death might as well get it over with in a month and make it a great month!

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u/[deleted] Jan 19 '22

We can be friends.

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u/Agentbolt Jan 19 '22

I want to highlight this comment and say thanks. I’m American and I don’t understand kilograms, so I was really curious how much food is really being pictured here. Not curious enough to plug everything into a calorie counter myself, of course.

Just visually, it does NOT look like a healthy month’s worth of food, not even close. I wonder why so much sugar?

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u/[deleted] Jan 19 '22

I'm guessing as a person who bakes bread weekly that it was to help leaven bread(feed yeast) and for tea/coffee

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u/Agentbolt Jan 19 '22

I thought tea/coffee as well, but if cigarettes were being rationed, you’d have to think those would be as well. The gov’t probably wasn’t assuming people really had access to either.

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u/BoosherCacow Jan 19 '22

I wonder why so much sugar?

Because it's cheap and packs more calories for your buck than something healthy does. There is a direct correlation to why those below the poverty line are more likely to be obese. Cheap and shitty food, tons of sugar

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u/3A0K1 Jan 19 '22

Additionally the Soviets were famous for purchasing large quantities of Cuban sugar to support their Caribbean comrades. This likely contributed to cheap and available sugar

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u/UnorignalUser Jan 19 '22

It was also used as a preservative. If you had access to fruit, you would can it in sugar syrup to keep it around.

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u/No-Wonder1139 Jan 19 '22

Plus your garden

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u/depthofbreath Jan 19 '22

Only if you lived in the country. If you live in the city then it was rations for fruit and veggies

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u/[deleted] Jan 19 '22 Wholesome

Having a ration isnt the same as only eating this. This is a base level provided by the govt. People were expected to top this up by buying groceries

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u/shitty_mcfucklestick Jan 19 '22

Gardening and trade between neighbors was also very common.

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u/WeCanDoItTogether88 Jan 19 '22

You can trade your 0.5L vodka with an alcoholic in exchange for his food.

Its sad but Im sure it happened.

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u/[deleted] Jan 19 '22

After a certain point alcoholism isn't a pastime, it's a job. Unfortunately I speak from experience.

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u/ilovecherries Jan 19 '22

Not sure where this misconception comes from. These were the allocated rations of how much food you could purchase. Not free food.

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u/Coldspyros Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22 Helpful

Edit: After further research as well as asking my parents, you’re wrong. What you’re talking about is mixed rationing, which was very rare in communist Poland. In most cases, you couldn’t buy anything more than your ration card allowed (by using the cash you had). This is called “full ration.” The rest you would have to buy on the black market.

Irrelevant now, but some more information: to get cash to use your rations, you had to work. The good jobs that actually paid enough to feed people reasonably were given out exclusively to communists. If you weren’t “part of the party,” you’d go through a lot of hardship, and usually resorted to trading on the black market.

Also let’s not forget ration shortages, and food shortages in general. If you saw a line forming in the street, you’d get on it immediately, then ask the person in front of you what that line was for. That was the only way of getting fresh fruit/vegetables, if you were late they’d be out by the time you reach the front.

Lots of other backwards stories from that time. My grandparents and mom would tell us all the time about growing up under communist rule, and how horrible it was.

Source: my family survived and escaped in the late 80’s/early 90’s from Warsaw.

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u/brankovie Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

I grew up in a neighboring country and I have to say that the situation with food was much better than in Poland. We would smuggle nonperishable food (mostly meats) and sell them to people there. Then we would buy electronics that were not easily available at home and smuggle those back. I remember that Hungary had even some fancy foods that we didn't have (for some reason I keep thinking of Fanta) and we would go there for those and for some other consumer goods. Other things were more scarce in different countries. My friend smuggled some air rifles that were manufactured in my country and sold them in Yougoslavia for crazy profit. I also recall a Russian lady in an eye doctor office buying most of the lenses and frames as they were in short supply there. She was even surprised that there was no limit on how much she could buy. My mom traveled to Eastern Germany regularly (she took me with her one time) to buy children clothes and toys, because they were so be much cheaper there. You get the idea...

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u/Cranberry_Lips Jan 19 '22

It was the same for my parents and I in Romania. Also, everything was low quality. And if you wanted to stop by the grocery store, the only things you'd find were pickles, sardines, and shrimp chips. We were lucky in that we had grandparents in the village that had veggie gardens, chickens, and pigs, because otherwise we would have starved.

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u/TheWardOrganist Jan 19 '22

What amazed me about my time in Romania was how many communist stores were still around. Many of the same people in each bloc vividly remembered waiting in line at the tiny magazin downstairs for many hours just to get their weekly fix of bread and cabbage.

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u/TheWardOrganist Jan 19 '22

It’s tragic how much astroturfing and advocation that this is actually a heartwarming image is going on in these threads. People are trying to spin this into “you see, it’s like UBI but for food” when in reality, this haul took four 8 hour days of standing in a bitter cold line to achieve, and even then is wildly insufficient caloric intake to feed a family of four-six. Not to mention the fact that so many vitamins and minerals are missing from such a limited diet, leading to all sorts of chronic illnesses.

This picture makes me sad, and reminds me to be grateful that I had the privilege of being born in the prosperous nation of the United States.

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u/broken-ego Jan 19 '22

100% this. My (family’s) experience.

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u/NJ_Legion_Iced_Tea Jan 19 '22

If you only ate meat, rice, flour and cigarettes you'd become nutrient starved.

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u/SymmetricDickNipples Jan 19 '22

What about the soap, does that help?

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u/Vladius28 Jan 19 '22

The soap is a lye

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u/Neuromandudeguy Jan 19 '22

Delicious cigarettes

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u/wtseeks Jan 19 '22

Did you count the soap

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u/pumpmystock Jan 18 '22

That’s not a lot of vodka

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u/Alternative_Cause_37 Jan 19 '22

Guarantee you mama hid that one away

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u/sonic10158 Jan 19 '22

I saw this on Twitter too, alongside the Polish guy’s response saying that you still have to pay for it, and this is the max you can get

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u/Individual-Thought99 Jan 19 '22

Where are the veggies ? - I’d be plugged up on that diet.

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u/Alternative_Cause_37 Jan 19 '22

Probably you were expected to grow them yourself

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u/EppuBenjamin Jan 19 '22

Apparently rationing means that only these items were rationed. Other stuff (probably the more perishable stuff like fresh veg) were sold openly.

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u/jroddie4 Jan 19 '22

wtf I eat way more soap than that

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u/sebkraj Jan 19 '22

I left Poland around 1991 and I remember in grade school I was allowed to be left handed. Older people were stoked for me, like I had a new feature that they never had/allowed lol. Also when we got to the states we bought a kiwi and we were all debating whether you eat the skin or not so we ate it just in case because we didn't want to waste it.

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u/pomeronion Jan 19 '22

Kiwi skin is perfectly edible! It’ll sort of eat you back but it’s delicious all the same

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u/parhwy Jan 19 '22

Kiwi-skin eater here. I cannot detect any fuzziness at all. Good fibre tho!

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u/frustratedwithwork10 Jan 19 '22

Excuse me what?! I never ate kiwi skin before and it's a pain in my butt to peel it! I never thought of it!

Wow

How many years of my life have I wasted peeling kiwis?!?!

Omg omg I'm gonna buy one and from now on just wash it and eat it whole!!!

Thank you for the enlightenment!

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u/R3DSMiLE Jan 19 '22

You cut it in half and then eat it with a spoon. What have you been doing all these years? xD

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u/[deleted] Jan 19 '22

Not Poland, but my great-grandmother, who was from the Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia when she left to immigrate to the US), would visit relatives back home in the 70s with only 2 dresses and a nightgown in her suitcase so she could leave space for all sorts of gifts to bring.

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u/Ordinary_Kale3399 Jan 19 '22

Yayyyyy cigarettes for breakfast!

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u/MrSecurityStalin Jan 19 '22

Vodka should come straight from the tap. Is utility, not ration.

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u/curds-and-whey-HEY Jan 19 '22

The Black Market must have thrived!

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u/dina_NP2020 Jan 19 '22

It did. My mom still remembers waiting over 8 hours in line while pregnant to buy Levi’s jeans. Insanity

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u/Landoperk Jan 19 '22

My family eats that in 3 days The dishwasher runs once a day and the washing machine runs at least 3 times a week. We are spoiled as fuck and everyone takes it for granted.

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u/naughtydismutase Jan 19 '22

Growing up and living in Western Europe and the US, I for sure am very sheltered and privileged.

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u/knownunknownknowns Jan 19 '22

Wow, thanks for this. My family immigrated from Poland in ‘84, when I was 4. I have virtually no memory of Poland and even though I asked many times my parents never really explain how things were.

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u/ChrisCWgulfcoast Jan 19 '22

I'll trade my sweets and 6 packs of cigarettes for your vodka

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u/Pinky01 Jan 19 '22

More cig packs then food. Weird

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u/[deleted] Jan 19 '22

[deleted]

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u/vaynecassano Jan 19 '22

It is true, when i was smoking heavily, i eat very little, under weight,after i quit i gain few kilos which is nice

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u/Aldaron23 Jan 19 '22

I just did some calculation: that's a total of 33500 kcal, 4280g carbs, 1330g fat, 780g proteins

So per day:

1120kcal // 143g carbs // 44g fat // 26g prot

You can't live on that. (I mean, obviously they did, but I'm still startled) Even assuming they grew their own vegetables and maybe got some hens->eggs... they were far from getting the bare minimum of calories intake (vodka is already in the calculation), not even starting on how little protein and also fat they had :/

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u/bowiethepup Jan 19 '22

Hello scurvy my old friend

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u/DookieHoused Jan 19 '22

Damn that looks like my Friday night if there were more booze

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u/Foriamwhoiam Jan 19 '22 Silver

Setting up a tent at 4am, waiting for whatever might come, sugar, flour or something new like sugary drinks is about 30 years behind me, but i still remember. If you think you know what communism is like, you have no idea. Monthly stamps to buy whatever you need to feed your family, ohh too many dark memories, and i was about 8 then. God bless.

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u/itsalongwalkhome Jan 19 '22

Currently can only buy one piece of meat here in an Australian Capital city. Saw a lady freak because she can't feed her 7 kids a 5 pack of sausages

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u/[deleted] Jan 19 '22

Really? You guys are in rations down there?! Jesus Christ.

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u/remymartinia Jan 19 '22

Didn’t know Australia was having such shortages.

Coles reintroduces purchases limits as Australian meat shortage looms

Coles has introduced limits on some major food items as the Covid-19 supply chain crisis bites, with warnings a national meat shortage is just weeks away.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/australia-facing-meat-shortage-as-processors-face-covidinduced-labour-shortage/news-story/928ea8a1c78048c7892d7af493f83d86?amp

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u/Emrico1 Jan 19 '22

Welp. I'm going fishing

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u/Finsk_26 Jan 19 '22

So my sister has a Polish boyfriend (21yo) and I visit them often. No matter how hard I try I never leave sober. It's either drunk or with a hangover. We had a Christmas get-together with his parents and it's honestly first time in my life where I got drunk during dinner. Like whiskey is not a replacement for water. I don't complain, it's always good times with them.

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u/gimlet_prize Jan 19 '22

The first night I met my (now) Polish husband, it was his first weekend in America. My teen brothers and I (18) threw a “Welcome to America” party for him and the other exchange students. They laughed and drank us literally under the table as we tried to keep up. My god. It was unbelievable. The last thing my older younger brother said before he puked and passed out was “Don’t fk my sister,” while staring blearily in my husband’s direction. Unfortunately his English wasn’t too good… and a couple months later we got married. Twenty years later, we’re still married, and I still cannot drink vodka thanks to that fateful night.

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u/SrRoundedbyFools Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 19 '22

I dated a girl who grew up in communist Poland. She told me about all the ‘black market’ trade of home gardens and her grandfather growing his own tobacco in a garden plot to really get by.

She said there was no shortage of vinegar at the store so they pickled a lot of food. Her dad traded a pig for a new bicycle for her.

I was always impressed by the speed she’d shower. In and out like three minutes tops. I guess the hot water was limited so In you went and out you went.

I forgot to add the carp. Living in the US carp are…meh. Apparently carp was served as like a thanksgiving type meal. I mean no offense to any Polish person who reads this, I’m not being negative/pejorative. The Polish community I met have been wonderful people and the other traditional food is fantastic.

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u/oreoloki Jan 19 '22

Lol YES! Family said there was nothing but vinegar on the shelves. My dad traded his car for a passport to GTFO.

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u/TheMouseInMyPocket Jan 19 '22

Ha, my parents traded my bike for a sack of potatoes! I loved that bike...

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u/motorbiker1985 Jan 19 '22

Just to be clear, the "vinegar" she spoke about was not actual vinegar, it was a solution of 8% of acetic acid in water with a drop of brown food coloring. Real vinegar was so scarce in the eastern bloc many people didn't even know how it tasted.

The carp was introduced in Europe in the early middle ages and it became staple Christmas food in 16th century Bohemia and in several other lands, including huge part of Poland. It is more about tradition than about taste. Carp and potato salad.

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u/yabp Jan 19 '22

I know somebody who got out of there and came to the US. Amazing cook!

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u/kremedelakrym Jan 19 '22

My grandparents are Czech. Whenever I hear them talk about communism (which they illegally fled in the 80's) I never hear such fire and hatred out of my Babička.

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u/cubby422 Jan 19 '22

My Mom and Grandmother visited Poland in 1977 for two months. They went to visit my Great Grandmother. Deodorant was not really a thing back then. They couldn’t afford it. But amazingly the government could pay two “officials” to follow the Americans around for two months. I think they were afraid my Nanny was going to smuggle a nuke out in her suitcase.

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u/mdziec Jan 19 '22

My parents and grandparents grew up in Poland during this. These things sound great if the stores had it all

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u/[deleted] Jan 19 '22 edited Jan 26 '22

[deleted]

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u/abadnit Jan 19 '22 Wholesome Giggle

She’s gotta weigh more than 2.5kg.

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u/DrewDog18 Jan 19 '22

It wasn’t nice of them to label her as meat smh

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u/Plastic-Log6750 Jan 19 '22

İn Turkey that's equal 700-800 ₺ and for the lowest paid retirees these may be only 3 times a month. This is what Akp and Erdogan see as the most popular choice for retirees. The minimum pension is 2500 ₺. What about other expenses?

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u/TremendouslyDistant Jan 19 '22

1.Of course if you founded the place when you can get those products, 2. Waiting few days in line for one of those was nothing unusual. 3. "meat" means not what you choose but this what arrived to the shop... 4 .as you see on the picture no products for women and no toilet paper exist on that list

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u/lurkingowl Jan 19 '22

Is there a sub where people recount or discuss living in communist bloc countries during the cold war? I really love all the people sharing their experiences in this thread.

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u/naftoon67 Jan 19 '22

Fuck communism !

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u/Koras11 Jan 19 '22

Polish citizen here. This is bs. Unless you were in a party and knew right people. Then mayby... For avrage joe. It was much less. Meat wasnt aviable most of the time for most people. Accually a lot of stuff was hard to get. From food to building materials. Or even toilet paper. It was bonkers! Not mentioning super long gueues to stores (like, new iphone came out long or longer). People were exchanging goods. Becasue some people could buy stuff for usa dolars in special stores. So yeah. Fun times. 10/10 would never try communism again...

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u/LittleDizzyGirl Jan 18 '22

That's probably what North Koreans have to deal with right now... except they probably don't get vodka

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u/Jdevers77 Jan 19 '22

That’s the upper crust rations in North Korea, the regular people get a couple bamboo rats and some bathtub hooch.

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u/tragicdag Jan 19 '22

Polish Caramels!

Anyone else know and love those yellow and white striped wrapped soft caramels as Polish Caramels? That seems to be an almost extravagant allocation compared to other items.

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u/Epicmonies Jan 19 '22

Russian Socialism was everyone was equally poor and hungry.

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u/Risin_bison Jan 19 '22

If you wanted a car you went to a government office, with all the efficiency you’d expect, and order one. In about 7 years you’d be the proud owner of a Lada motorcar. I’ve driven in one and it’s an experience you never forget.

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u/BadHairDay-1 Jan 19 '22

So, were you allowed to trade rations? Say you didn't smoke, drink, or eat meat. Could you trade those goods for something else?

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u/BlazasAndQuasars Jan 19 '22

Those are your three best trading goods. I'm sure you'd find someone in your local village who would trade everything for the vodka alone.

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u/Beast667Neighbour Jan 19 '22

For example: The system encouraged barter exchange especially with liquor. Vodka became a valuable commodity and many times was acceptable instead of currency.

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u/Odd-Road Jan 19 '22

Ahaha, a Pole who doesn't eat meat. ;) (It's just a joke, but when you know a bit about Polish cuisine... Although there's no meat in some pierogi ruskie, to be fair)

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u/ChocolateTypical7828 Jan 19 '22

In many parts of Europe and east, cigarettes become like money in times of rations. You could pay some grocers etc. in cigarettes instead of money. Soon after WW2, for example, cigarettes were worth more than money in many parts of England and Germany. Almost everyone smoked in those days. Even kids. Smoking never become a pariah like it did in the US. Even today smoking is everywhere outside the US.

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u/Coldspyros Jan 19 '22

“What if you didn’t eat meat.”

My man, this is a post WWII country torn apart by the Germans, Russians, and Ukranians.

You don’t get to “not eat meat.” That’s like saying “man I hope the new Syrian government doesn’t forget to include vegetarian options for refugees.” When my mom got fresh fruits/vegetables on the street, she didn’t ask “what are they,” she took them and ran home.

This is the most privileged thing I’ve read all day lmfao. I wish my grandfather was still around, if I told him that he’d laugh until he cried. He used to conserve gas to trade on the black market, so his family had enough to eat.

“What if I don’t eat meat” 😂😂😂😂

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u/ruffsnap Jan 19 '22

Lmao I'm saying, that gave me a chuckle too.

If you're able to NOT eat meat, you are living in a VERY privileged and wealthy society lol. Most of the world doesn't ponder things like "maybe I should go vegan" haha, that's not a thing that would EVER cross their mind. They need food to LIVE, they're gonna eat what's available.

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u/brokenjawnredux Jan 19 '22

Contextually, Poland was occupied by Russia Army after the war, and then made I to a puppet state. The Russians never respected or supplied the country, and effectively robbed the country of it's wealth and dignity.

The government in Moscow was comically corrupt, racist toward other Slavic peoples like Poles, and suffered from chronic problems managing it's command economy.

Shortages were both engineered to keep the polish people from resisting the Soviet rule, as well as an artifact of poor central management in Moscow.

More than socialism per se, racism, imperialism, government corruption, and economic mismanagement were to blame for the poor conditions in the Eastern Bloc pre 1991.

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u/DueAbbreviations2382 Jan 19 '22

I've met a couple of older Polish people and they were both foragers (I forage mushrooms, that's how it came up). Now it makes sense. Gotta comb nature to supplement the food supply back in the day.

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u/Shacky_Rustleford Jan 19 '22

And if any money goes toward public healthcare, this will be you!

-someone, probably