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Ilidzanka Bosnian for Cevapcici [Pictures}

Ilidzanka Bosnian for Cevapcici [Pictures}
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  • Ilidzanka Bosnian for Cevapcici [Pictures}

    Post #1 - October 20th, 2005, 10:59 pm
    Post #1 - October 20th, 2005, 10:59 pm Post #1 - October 20th, 2005, 10:59 pm
    LTH,

    I've been on a bit of a cevapcici tear lately, B & M Bakery, Fontana, Meisa, Balkan Restaurant and, most recently, Ilidzanka.

    Ilidzanka is a small store front Bosnian restaurant in an inauspicious Lawrence Ave strip mall, which I may never have spotted if I wasn't looking for Azur Meats, which is where Meisa buys cevapcici. My first impression of Ilidzanka was simply a gathering place for expats to drink coffee, smoke, converse and play the poker machine, which may all be true, but just one bite of cevapcici told me there was a lot more to Ilidzanka than meets the eye.

    I started off with an eye opening Turkish Coffee, strong enough to wake the dead, sweetened by a small building block of sugar.

    Ilidzanka Turkish Coffee
    Image

    Illidzanka's cevapcici were terrific, easily among the best I've had, as was the Bosnian style pita (lepina). Both, as I'm guessing is most everything at Ilidzanka, are made in-house by the owners mother. The accompanying kajmak, also made in-house, was subtlety tart, and a perfect compliment to the juicy, rich cevapcici. Even the tomatoes, which are almost never anything but industrial dreck, were good.

    Ilidzanka cevapcici
    Image
    Image

    There's a specials board, most of which I have no idea what it is, aside from it's made in-house and is going to be very damn good. :)

    Ilidzanka Specials Board
    Image

    Lack of mutual language made it difficult to converse, but the mother and father of the owner, who was not present at that time, couldn't have been nicer. The cook/mother/grandmother was very proud of the fact her grandson was in the Navy and I could swear got a little misty eyed when she showed me his picture.

    Ilidzanka's Cook and mother of owner.
    Image

    When I asked about buying cevapcici, kajmak and Bosnian pita to take home, she said "no problem", but only was able to sell me pita at that moment. She suggested in the future I call a day or two in advance. I bought two of her wonderful pita and went next door to Azur and bought raw (uncooked) cevapcici, which I made for dinner that evening. I did say I was on cevapcici tear, didn't I. :)

    I really liked Ilidzanka, inexpensive, freshly made, flavorful food and the people who run the place are quite nice. The physical space is clean and they even have a small parking lot. I intend to go back soon.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Ilidzanka
    2547A W Lawrence
    Chicago, IL 60625
    773-275-2707

    Azur Meats
    2547 W Lawrence
    Chicago, IL 60625
    773-784-7350
    Last edited by G Wiv on October 21st, 2005, 12:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #2 - October 20th, 2005, 11:12 pm
    Post #2 - October 20th, 2005, 11:12 pm Post #2 - October 20th, 2005, 11:12 pm
    Well, you got a friendlier welcome than the one I wrote about on Chowhound almost two years ago to the day (getting the name wrong, incidentally):

    Ilidanka-- Has even RST, that vagabond of Lawrence Ave., tried this Bosnian spot in a strip mall just west of where the alleged Colombian drug dealer disco (since demolished) stood? It looked a little friendlier than the usual dark and smoky E. European place-- it was light and smoky. I went in, a waiter who was a dead ringer for the actor Joss Ackland (South African bad guy in Lethal Weapon 2, etc.) warned me it was Bosnian food, I said okay, he took away my foreign-language menu and brought me what seemed like a much shorter English-language one. I couldn't face sausage that day, though that would have been the best test of the place, so I ordered veal kabobs. They came inside a big piece of microwaved, but not entirely unrespectable, homemade bread, with a side of some kind of yogurty-cottage cheesey like spread that would have been a lot better if it had some feta-like tang to it. A decent meal, but not very interesting or accomplished, this is another one of those Eastern European places where serving food seems secondary to the entire staff sitting with its customers smoking and arguing loudly.

    Amusingly, whilst there I leafed through a Bosnian-American magazine, which had an article on food in Chicago, and how Chicago's diversity of ethnic cuisine gave Bosnians an opportunity to discover the products of other cultures like deep dish pizza and Italian beef....


    As I recall, that's softpedaling it-- they really didn't seem very pleased that I was there, then. Glad to see they were a little better than that; I'm kind of amused by the general level of minimum hospitality in these Bosnian places, but active hostility is too much for me.
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  • Post #3 - October 20th, 2005, 11:20 pm
    Post #3 - October 20th, 2005, 11:20 pm Post #3 - October 20th, 2005, 11:20 pm
    Mike G wrote:Well, you got a friendlier welcome than the one I wrote about on Chowhound almost two years ago to the day (getting the name wrong, incidentally)

    Mike,

    They were quite friendly, must have been your cologne.

    Mike G wrote:They came inside a big piece of microwaved, but not entirely unrespectable, homemade bread,

    Probably different owners since you were there two years ago. The bread was griddled, had a nice crunch, and was made in-house. (I saw a tray of bread cooling in the back)

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #4 - October 20th, 2005, 11:32 pm
    Post #4 - October 20th, 2005, 11:32 pm Post #4 - October 20th, 2005, 11:32 pm
    Hi,

    The first time I ever had Kajmak cheese was in the Hotel Metropole in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Attached to their main dining room, they had a rustic cabin filled with folk art furniture and a menu evoking the heritage of the country. It was my understanding Kajmak cheese was the speciality of Dalmacija.

    I really like the big dollog of cheese they served you. I could never quite get that much served to me, though I would have loved it at the time.

    All this cevapcici is sending me down memory lane.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #5 - October 21st, 2005, 2:11 am
    Post #5 - October 21st, 2005, 2:11 am Post #5 - October 21st, 2005, 2:11 am
    Crazy - I was just noticing Ilidzanka today and thinking I should probably try that place out. I might have driven by while you were dining there, Gary. I figured, hey, a Bosnian place walking distance from the house that's pretty cool. Thanks for the review and the pic's, looks good.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #6 - October 21st, 2005, 8:43 am
    Post #6 - October 21st, 2005, 8:43 am Post #6 - October 21st, 2005, 8:43 am
    Well, G, if you're into cevapcici, you'll want to come to VI's dinner at Old Town Serbian Gourmet House. Theirs were excellent.

    And OK -- I'll bite. What's with the habanero sauce? I can believe you'd carry it with you. But not even you would put it in your coffee.
  • Post #7 - October 21st, 2005, 8:50 am
    Post #7 - October 21st, 2005, 8:50 am Post #7 - October 21st, 2005, 8:50 am
    Initially, I was having great difficulty strategizing my eating trips to Chicago.

    Now it has become quite straightforward -- I log onto here, look at the pics, take down an address or three, and my plan is made.

    thanks,
    Nab
  • Post #8 - October 21st, 2005, 8:56 am
    Post #8 - October 21st, 2005, 8:56 am Post #8 - October 21st, 2005, 8:56 am
    LAZ wrote:Well, G, if you're into cevapcici, you'll want to come to VI's dinner at Old Town Serbian Gourmet House. Theirs were excellent.

    LAZ,

    Not a bad idea and, maybe, I'll bring nr706 along as I see Old Town has raznjici. Actually, I've been, though not recently, to Old Town many a time, I did grow up in Milwaukee after all, and still visit regularly. Might be time for a revisit, so if Rob settles on the 11/5 date we'll try and go, we're out of town Thanksgiving weekend.

    LAZ wrote:And OK -- I'll bite. What's with the habanero sauce? I can believe you'd carry it with you. But not even you would put it in your coffee.

    Sure I would, think vodka with a shot of Tabasaco. :)

    By the way, though I meant to say it in the thread, fantastically interesting post on Milwaukee.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #9 - October 21st, 2005, 9:28 am
    Post #9 - October 21st, 2005, 9:28 am Post #9 - October 21st, 2005, 9:28 am
    My theory is that the el yucateco is like the Travelocity garden gnome, roaming around the chicago culinary landscape, getting its picture taken, and sending them back to its former owners at La Unica (or whatever).

    On a more serious note, it does help one get a sense of scale for some of the more excessive dishes.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #10 - October 21st, 2005, 10:57 am
    Post #10 - October 21st, 2005, 10:57 am Post #10 - October 21st, 2005, 10:57 am
    gleam wrote:My theory is that the el yucateco is like the Travelocity garden gnome, roaming around the chicago culinary landscape, getting its picture taken, and sending them back to its former owners at La Unica (or whatever).

    On a more serious note, it does help one get a sense of scale for some of the more excessive dishes.


    Ed,

    YOUR THEORY? :shock: :evil: My theory!!!
    "Beer is proof God loves us, and wants us to be Happy"
    -Ben Franklin-
  • Post #11 - October 21st, 2005, 11:04 am
    Post #11 - October 21st, 2005, 11:04 am Post #11 - October 21st, 2005, 11:04 am
    Ha! Thefted!

    I'd say great minds think alike, but my mind isn't great, and I probably just stole it from you.

    So, I say to you: YOINK!
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #12 - October 21st, 2005, 12:54 pm
    Post #12 - October 21st, 2005, 12:54 pm Post #12 - October 21st, 2005, 12:54 pm
    Explanations of the handwritten menu:
    pljeskavica sa kajmakom—a large, very well-seasoned pancake-like hamburger (about the size of a dinner plate) with kajmak
    teleci raznjici—veal kabobs
    mjesano meso—a mixed grill usually including sausages (kobasice), thin slices of meat roasted on a skewer (raznjici—see above), cevapcici, pork filet (lungic), etc.
    pileca prsa—fried (?) chicken breast
    burek, sirnica, krompirusa—pastries filled with various things. Thus, burek is meat-filled; sirnica has a fresh home-made cheese filling; and krompirusa has a filling of diced potatoes and spices.
    zeljanica—spinach and cheese pastry (think, um, spanakopita)
    punjena paprika—peppers stuffed with minced meat and rice
    sogan dolma—onions stuffed with meat, rice, vegetables
    bosanski lonac—Bosnian stew, with all the variations and deviations you can imagine. Start with large pieces of beef, lamb, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, parsley, garlic, peppers, all layered in a pot.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #13 - October 21st, 2005, 11:59 pm
    Post #13 - October 21st, 2005, 11:59 pm Post #13 - October 21st, 2005, 11:59 pm
    Wow. Those cevapi and lepina look exactly like the ones I've had in Bosnia. Of all the former Yugoslav Republics, I've always felt Bosnia had the best cevapi (primarily because of their use of lamb in the meat mixture.) I'm going to have to check this place out and give my verdict...
  • Post #14 - October 22nd, 2005, 5:55 am
    Post #14 - October 22nd, 2005, 5:55 am Post #14 - October 22nd, 2005, 5:55 am
    Gypsy Boy wrote:Explanations of the handwritten menu:

    Gypsy Boy,

    Thanks for the translation. I plan on going to Ilidzanka at least once next week and can, hopefully, bring myself to order something aside from cevapcici.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #15 - October 22nd, 2005, 7:55 am
    Post #15 - October 22nd, 2005, 7:55 am Post #15 - October 22nd, 2005, 7:55 am
    Gypsy Boy,

    Could you please put a copy of your translation on the Translated Menu thread on Useful Stuff board. Please follow the format including the address and link back to a post describing this restaurant.

    This is really great stuff!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #16 - October 22nd, 2005, 9:19 am
    Post #16 - October 22nd, 2005, 9:19 am Post #16 - October 22nd, 2005, 9:19 am
    Cathy2 wrote:
    Could you please put a copy of your translation on the Translated Menu thread on Useful Stuff board.


    I'd be happy to but feel I should make one observation. The items whose translations I provided were on a "daily" board and will, I imagine, change on a somewhat regular basis. I am happy to provide that list, but perhaps it should be enlarged a bit to add either (i) other items that appear on the board or (ii) other "standards" likely to be encountered in a Bosnian/Serb/Croatian place (not to mention the things I omitted as well).

    Your wish is my command.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #17 - October 22nd, 2005, 9:42 am
    Post #17 - October 22nd, 2005, 9:42 am Post #17 - October 22nd, 2005, 9:42 am
    Gypsy Boy,

    Anyway you see fit, my dear Lord! It is really quite helpful to have access to these translations. Even if it is not a one-to-one match the day you visit, at least it is an orientation.

    Thank you!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #18 - October 22nd, 2005, 10:16 am
    Post #18 - October 22nd, 2005, 10:16 am Post #18 - October 22nd, 2005, 10:16 am
    Mike G wrote:
    [i]Ilidanka-- Has even RST, that vagabond of Lawrence Ave., tried this Bosnian spot in a strip mall just west of where the alleged Colombian drug dealer disco (since demolished) stood?


    Interesting find, I will have to try it out. But while we're on the subject of vagabonds of Lawrence Avenue, a few other places I wondered about very close by which would taker an RST like sensibility to visit.

    A& E cafe just west of the river, just south of lawrence. Sign says M. Eastern food, but when I looked in it appeared to be 3 large card games going on.

    Ares Cafe, Just south of Hellas Bakery, Greek Place. When I peeked in it was 5 guys smoking, one guy rolling a cigarette on the counter, and one dude playing greek music on the guitar. Btw, Hellas' spinach rolls are really pretty good.

    The Pool Hall just East of the 24 korean restaurant, has a little sign in the window which I think indicates that they have bahn mi and cafe sua da, does anyone know anything about this? were the banh mi are from? I can't read the sign (its in vietnamese) but it looks like they start serving at 8 am, but I'm pretty sure the pool hall isn't open at 8 am.

    Balikbayan, the filipino grocery store next to taqueria Santa Rita (Lawrence & California) has a little turo turo steam table in the back - anyone have any recommendations from this stuff?
  • Post #19 - October 22nd, 2005, 5:54 pm
    Post #19 - October 22nd, 2005, 5:54 pm Post #19 - October 22nd, 2005, 5:54 pm
    After having read so much about cevapcici this week, it penetrated my subconscious mind, and last night I dreamt of sausages. So today I trekked down Lawrence Ave to Illidzanka’s for my first taste of this Bosnian specialty. Boy, does Lawrence move slow.

    I was greeted with “what do you want?” from a lady quite different than the one in the picture above. The lady of Gary’s experience looks grandmotherly warm with a babushka-like grace. My hostess was all harsh angles and icicles. I pointed to the second item on the menu board, trying to pronounce it with a big please and a smile. “Ten minutes,” she barked as she hustled off into the kitchen, never once looking in my direction. I added that I would like it “to go” – I wasn’t feeling exactly comfortable.

    I settled into a chair. There wasn’t much to look at. I could see the lady through the kitchen pass through going into action. I tried not to be put off by the two cans of Raid sitting on the pass through counter. Two men sat at another table, drinking coffee, smoking Marlboro Lights, and reading newspapers. They used the house phone (shouting into it) so I assume they were owners or whatever. I thought of asking one of them for a light to break the ice, but I didn’t see any ashtrays and didn’t want to ask for one. No one came in as I waited. I watched people fight over parking spots in the front lot, often boxing my car in. I resisted the urge to pace.

    I was alerted that my order was ready by the rustling of bags at the pass through. I could tell by the price she quoted me I was getting the sandwich only, not the sandwich and the cheese. I tried to explain that I wanted the cheese, waving my arms in the air and pointing at the menu board again. She looked away from me in complete incomprehension. Eventually one of the men yelled something at her and she finally looked at me – with an expression of extreme disgust. She glopped some white stuff in a Styrofoam coffee cup and shoved it toward me without even a cover. She quoted the price again, which did not change. I meekly paid and added an entirely uncalled for thank you. I should not have been surprised that there was no response.

    Usually when I get food to go I open it as soon as I get to the car. I think I had lost some of my appetite and was happy to see a free path to the street. I did not open the bag until I got home.

    Back in my comfort zone, I removed a dirty Styrofoam container from the plastic bag. Opening the container I cried in horror as I saw the sandwich had also been sealed in plastic wrap. Beads of condensation were pooling inside the wrap. I ripped the offending product away, “who would do this to bread?” The next thing I noticed was the lack of any tomatoes (they really looked good in the picture!) – I guessed they tried to make up for this without about half a sliced onion.

    I sampled the pita first, which was still delicious despite the water damage. I believe on another thread about cevapcici it was mentioned that it comes spicy or mild. I definitely got the mild kind – very mild. The sausage was caseless and not greasy. Just not much taste at all. It reminded me of a very bland kefta. Finally, I went for the coffee cup, which contained sour cream! My cheese!

    Well, this was not an entire bust. I loved the pita, and the sausage is edible. I’ve found another place that I will not return to. I’ve got a bunch of onion and some sour cream!

    -ramon
  • Post #20 - October 22nd, 2005, 6:09 pm
    Post #20 - October 22nd, 2005, 6:09 pm Post #20 - October 22nd, 2005, 6:09 pm
    Now THAT'S the Ilidzanka I went to!

    And why I haven't braved any of the places Zim mentioned, even though I have noticed a couple of them in the past.

    Perhaps Erik M. would like to recommend Hellas Gyros, in the same area.
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  • Post #21 - October 22nd, 2005, 6:20 pm
    Post #21 - October 22nd, 2005, 6:20 pm Post #21 - October 22nd, 2005, 6:20 pm
    Mike G wrote:Perhaps Erik M. would like to recommend Hellas Gyros, in the same area.


    Oh, yes, Mike, thanks for the reminder.

    Listen folks, if you haven't been yet, I don't know what you are waiting for!! :wink:

    E.M.
  • Post #22 - October 22nd, 2005, 8:25 pm
    Post #22 - October 22nd, 2005, 8:25 pm Post #22 - October 22nd, 2005, 8:25 pm
    Ramon,

    The type of service you received was very typical to what my Dad and I received throughout Eastern Europe when they were still Iron Curtain countries. At that time, the waiters, cooks and other staff were guaranteed a salary whether or not they put a plate of bread before you or not. So serving you became an interruption to their day of drearily doing nothing or maybe selling restaurant supplies via the back door for personal profit.

    What continuously surprises me is when they take this crappy attitude into a restaurant they start here. One where the profit of the organization really matters and in a culture where tips of 15-20% are normal. Instead of treating their customer today as one who might return, which every business wants, they treat them carelessly and with contempt.

    Maybe they need an anti-depressant to get them to wake up and smell opportunity. These were people who felt repressed and spent their evenings bitching and moaning about a truly unpleasant situation without any future. They seem to have maintained this crummy attitude though now it is a self-fulfilling prophecy brought on by their own behavior.

    Not everyone from there is like that, some are quite inventive, ambitious with a great work ethic. When you meet pockets of personalities like you met today, those are the ones who wish for the good old days of Titov, Ceaucescu, Stalin and all.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #23 - October 22nd, 2005, 10:20 pm
    Post #23 - October 22nd, 2005, 10:20 pm Post #23 - October 22nd, 2005, 10:20 pm
    Thanks Mike and Eric for the laugh. Thank you C2 for helping put things into perspective. I’ll try to look on my experience as a clandestine adventure behind communist lines.

    In defense of the food, my wife greedily scarfed up my leftovers (well, not the onion). From her gestures and motions, I interpreted that she enjoyed the food. I’m ashamed to admit that I sometimes feel a bit selfish when it comes to my leftovers. I had no such feelings this time. Perhaps my experience off-colored my taste palette.

    In partial defense to the cook, the phone rang twice while I was present. Neither of the men stirred. The cook had to stop her preparation of my food, answer the phone, and then carry it to the men. The men snatched the phone from her without even a nod and proceeded to shout into the poor device with guttural voices. I submit that her resentment of me was a displacement.

    I’ve been told (more than once) by people that I respect in business that I am too polite. Some people and some cultures (I am told) interpret this as weakness. I’ve thought long and hard about this. I even tried it out a little. I decided, though, that it wasn’t me, nor the man my parents raised. One should accept the occasional failure in defense of one’s principles.

    (I say begrudgingly, “Go Sox!”)

    -ramon
  • Post #24 - October 23rd, 2005, 12:12 am
    Post #24 - October 23rd, 2005, 12:12 am Post #24 - October 23rd, 2005, 12:12 am
    Ramon wrote: I believe on another thread about cevapcici it was mentioned that it comes spicy or mild. I definitely got the mild kind – very mild. The sausage was caseless and not greasy. Just not much taste at all. It reminded me of a very bland kefta.


    Well, that is pretty much what a chevap should taste like. "Chevap" comes from the word "kebab," and it is basically a Balkan variant of the kefta kebab. Supposedly, spicy versions exist, but I've never had a chevap that rated spicy on my scale. In the time I spent in the Balkans, I've never been offered a choice of mild or spicy. They come as they come, and they're rarely what we would consider spicy. They're not supposed to be heavily spiced sausages, but, when they're good, they can be heaven, especially when accompanied by a nice shot or two of slivovitz.
  • Post #25 - October 23rd, 2005, 12:12 am
    Post #25 - October 23rd, 2005, 12:12 am Post #25 - October 23rd, 2005, 12:12 am
    Ramon wrote:I’ve been told (more than once) by people that I respect in business that I am too polite. Some people and some cultures (I am told) interpret this as weakness. I’ve thought long and hard about this. I even tried it out a little. I decided, though, that it wasn’t me, nor the man my parents raised. One should accept the occasional failure in defense of one’s principles.

    Ramon,

    I am unfailingly polite, works for me, I bet it (usually) works for you as well. I really am not sure how to comment on the treatment you received at Ilidzanka, aside from it was quite opposite of my experience. Also, cevapcici are a caseless sausage.

    My only suggestion, next time, if there is one, look for the grandmotherly cook, if she isn't there head for the door. :)

    Looks like I owe you the standard LTHForum bad lead $3.95.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #26 - October 23rd, 2005, 8:19 am
    Post #26 - October 23rd, 2005, 8:19 am Post #26 - October 23rd, 2005, 8:19 am
    When you meet pockets of personalities like you met today, those are the ones who wish for the good old days of Titov, Ceaucescu, Stalin and all.


    I don't think it appropriate or wise to engage in a long off-topic tangent, but I simply cannot let Cathy2's sentence remain unchallenged. From her many many trips and thorough knowledge of the region, I would be dismayed to think that she truly believes what she wrote. Although much of what she said previously in that post is absolutely accurate as to attitudes, to suggest that these people wish for the "good old days" is ludicrous. I submit that they most emphatically do not wish for them and, in fact, were so traumatized--and understandably so--that they have simply never recovered.

    I think the comment does a disservice to these people and more than that, I honestly believe that it is inaccurate. I do not question for a moment that Ramon had that experience; I myself have had it too many times to count throughout post-communist Eastern Europe. It annoys me when I come across it and I, too, cannot abide it. People throughout Eastern Europe suffered in horrible ways, as often psychologically as in other ways. (Read Anne Appelbaum's Gulag, winner of last year's non-fiction Pulitzer if you have any doubt whatsoever.) But to take that next step truly bothers me at a very fundamental level.
    Last edited by Gypsy Boy on October 23rd, 2005, 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #27 - October 23rd, 2005, 11:07 am
    Post #27 - October 23rd, 2005, 11:07 am Post #27 - October 23rd, 2005, 11:07 am
    Gypsy Boy wrote:
    When you meet pockets of personalities like you met today, those are the ones who wish for the good old days of Titov, Ceaucescu, Stalin and all.


    I don't think it appropriate or wise to engage in a long off-topic tangent, but I simply cannot let Cathy2's sentence remain unchallenged. From her many many trips and thorough knowledge of the region, I would be dismayed to think that she truly believes what she wrote. Although much of what she said previously in that post is absolutely accurate as to attitudes, to suggest that these people wish for the "good old days" is ludicrous. I submit that they most emphatically do not wish for them and, in fact, were so traumatized--and understandably so--that they have simply never recovered.

    I think the comment does a disservice to these people and more than that, I honestly believe that it is inaccurate. I do not question for a moment that Ramon had that experience; I myself have had it too many times to count throughout post-communist Eastern Europe. It annoys me when I come across it and I, too, cannot abide it. People throughout Eastern Europe suffered in horrible ways, as often psychologically as in other ways. (Read Anne Appelbaum's Gulag, winner of last year's non-fiction Pulitzer if you have any doubt whatsoever.) But to take that next step truly bothers me at a very fundamental level.

    End of rant.[/i]


    I know you disagree with the sentiment, but I have certainly come across many people in my travels who fit Cathy2's description. Hell, even my parents say that Poland was better off during communism. Now, whether they mean it literally or not, that's for you to decide, but I think there are many from the ex-Communist countries who sincerely believe life was better under Communism. While it's not necessarily a popular sentiment, it isn't exactly rare either.

    Given your name and the nature of your post, I assume you've spent much time there, and so has Cathy2 and so have I (I lived in Budapest for over 5 years and traveled extensively in the region.) And it's hard not to bump into people who do wish for a return to "the good old days." Sure, it's a rose-colored glasses look back into history for these people, but the sentiment is sincere. When you have a country like Poland where the unemployment rate is hovering around 18%, it's not much of a stretch to understand why people would think the past is better than the present.

    And you might be surprised at how openly deified Stalin is by pockets of people in Russia. I am not saying this is the view of the majority by any means, but he's still seen as Russia's greatest leader by many people (mostly the older generations, of course) in a way someone like, say, Hitler isn't.
  • Post #28 - October 23rd, 2005, 11:59 am
    Post #28 - October 23rd, 2005, 11:59 am Post #28 - October 23rd, 2005, 11:59 am
    Binko wrote:
    ...but I think there are many from the ex-Communist countries who sincerely believe life was better under Communism. While it's not necessarily a popular sentiment, it isn't exactly rare either.


    You're right, of course. I guess my reaction was on behalf of the many people of personal acquaintance who I know suffered horribly, whether under Stalin, Ceausescu, or another of the myriad tyrants, petty and otherwise. Indeed, one of my favorite pictures is one I took in Moscow at the end of the day one November 1st: a group of three little old ladies gossiping, each one still carrying a large Soviet flag. And you have only to pass by Stalin's marker outside the Kremlin and see the red carnations heaped there.

    I was objecting--albeit not entirely clearly--to the (apparent) automatic assumption that because someone was in a pissy mood or even because she had no sense of how capitalism works AND was in a pissy mood, that she must be yearning for the days of Ceausescu and company.

    But thank you for posting. Your points are all accurate in my experience and well taken.
    Last edited by Gypsy Boy on October 23rd, 2005, 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #29 - October 23rd, 2005, 12:07 pm
    Post #29 - October 23rd, 2005, 12:07 pm Post #29 - October 23rd, 2005, 12:07 pm
    You know the cevapcici I have liked are few and far between, but I am very much enjoying the insights expressed in this thread (and I do not mean just the food stuff).
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #30 - October 23rd, 2005, 12:22 pm
    Post #30 - October 23rd, 2005, 12:22 pm Post #30 - October 23rd, 2005, 12:22 pm
    Vital Information wrote:You know the cevapcici I have liked are few and far between.

    Thank goodness. I thought it was just me. Most of those I've had were pretty bland -- like savorless skinny hamburgers. That's why I enjoyed those I had at Old Town Serbian so much -- they actually had flavor.

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