|our food situation goes something like this. we wake up and eat some fruit or oatmeal weve bought the previous day. the fruit can be bought on the street from any number of stands. lunch, we are responsible for also. normally we pick up something small from a vendor like pastries or something else that we cant identify. sometimes we score and find a hot dog lady. its a different hot dog than im used to. this is no ballpark frank. the bread is tough, and the meat is mushy. they cost 10 rubles each, which is around 40 cents. yesterday, Dmitry took us to a pizza place. oh man, i needed that. it was a trendy place with students and younger people in it. sally and i couldnt read the menu, so Dmitry helped us. i ended up getting a 12 inch chicken pizza for 70 rubles (2-3 dollars). i devoured it. it was funny to be in there listening to the american music being played. im also embarassed to admit that we have been to the McDonalds more than once. i know, i know, we shouldnt. but its soooo goood. dinner is prepared for us by Serafima, who we live with. its normally soup, a small meat portion, pasta and bread with tea. there isnt much variety in her cookbook. the meat can be fish, hot dogs, and some other meat that tastes good - who knows what it is. everything she cooks is saturated in oil, which is different. please dont think im complaining. we eat very well here and get a balance of authentic russian dishes and not-so-authentic, american-influenced food. this balance suits me just fine. and then theres the chocolate - these people know how to do chocolate. the bars are twice the size and half the price of hershey bars, with alot of variety. i just cant stay away from it. one thing i miss is pepper. i havent found any at all. but the spicy food is just over the horizon, waiting to be sampled in China and India.