‘Ukrainian yoghurt. Enriched with courage’

‘Ukrainian yoghurt. Enriched with courage’

Along with the opportunity to discover a bunch of things, traveling to a new country also presents a bunch of challenges. This is all part of the fun most of the time, and for the rest of the time it isn’t. One of the things I often do when arriving in a new country is to buy food thinking it is one thing, and then open it to find it is something completely different.

Dairy food is good example. I have bought butter that turned out to be cheese, milk that was actually kefir, and what I thought was yoghurt but was creme fraiche. I also once bought ‘dip’, but after opening the tub was unable to identify the contents as any type of food product whatsoever.

Ukraine yoghurt

I like yoghurt, and when visiting countries where it features heavily in the cuisine, have been confronted with a bewildering array of options at the supermarket. I had no idea yoghurt could come in so many different forms. It usually takes a little trial and (thankfully quite pleasant) error to find my favourite yoghurt in a new place.

Here in Ukraine, I like the Молокія (pronounced ‘Moh-lock-eeya’; молоко means ‘milk’ in Ukrainian) brand yoghurts*.

Not only do they make a couple of yoghurts in my preferred consistency, tartness and fat content, they also have some fun printing on their packaging. The little cartoon characters are great, and carry a defiant message.

Ukrainian Yoghurt, enriched with courage

‘Ukrainian yoghurt. Enriched with courage’

This particular cartoon pays homage to the actions of Ukrainian farmers. In the early months of the war, the Armed Forces of Ukraine suprised everyone, not least the Russians, by beating back the invading forces on several fronts.

The retreat left abandoned Russian armoured vehicles scattered across the countryside. Ukrainian farmers began recovering the vehicles from their paddocks and towing them away. Footage shows townspeople waving, cheering and laughing as the might of Russian armour is towed along by Ukrainian tractors, both high-tech and humble, to be presented to the Ukrainian Army.

Ukrainian yoghurt

The subscript on this cartoon reads: ‘Courage as a character trait of Ukrainians who are in a state of war (but) keep working to make this yoghurt’

Ukrainain yoghurt

Although I am trying to improve my Ukrainian, I had to call for back-up when attempting to translate the text on the yoghurt containers. My multi-lingual Ukrainian friend Yulia (who, like millions of other Ukrainians, was forced to leave her home with her young son and seek safety abroad) helped me to understand the message on this pack.

‘The courage to be Ukrainian’

The paragraph begins: ‘What makes Ukrainians Ukrainians?’ Yulia explained to me: ‘In general it’s about dignity and hardworking that makes us strong. It means we are ready to fight for our dignity at Maidan, the main square in Kiev**’. The paragraph also mentions it is Ukrainain dignity which ‘dsiperses the horde’, which Yulia told me refers to the Russian invaders.

Messages of defiance are not, of course, restricted to the packaging of fermented dairy products. Billboards, signs, window posters, car stickers, t-shirts and all manner of other media call on the people of Ukraine to stand strong despite the hardship and horror of the Russian invasion. Putin refuses to accept that Ukraine is a sovereign nation independent from Russia. However his unprovoked and unjustifiable war has only strengthened the Ukrainians’ national identity.

Anyway, all this talk of dairy food is making me hungry, and I have a tub of courage-enriched yoghurt in the fridge. Excuse me, won’t you?

*I do not receive any form of remuneration from Молокія. However I am open to the idea.

**It was at this square in November 2013 that protests against the pro-Russian government of President Yanukovych began, and, over several months and with tragic loss of life, finally toppled the government

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy Shopping During Wartime, Phaeton Museum of Technology, Zaporizhia

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