Shashleek is Steak on Steroids

The Russians do a mean meat BBQ!

10 August, 1998


By Nick

Weekends are a really big deal here in Russia. Most Russians go to their
country house and the others go on a pick-nick, called “shash-leek”. Shashleek
is a pick-nick centered around pork on a stick and cooked over an open fire.
Of course there is also alcohol involved.

A good friend of mine invited me on a special shashleek party. He rented
a large boat and invited about 30 people to a very remote location. The place
was beautiful. He even invited a stringed quartet to play for us while we
ate. The whole thing was fabulous.

Well around 18:00 it started to rain and rain and rain. The boat was coming
back at 21:00 and everyone could hardly wait to go home. By 21:45 everyone
was pretty sure the boat was not going to make it back. We had to stay
the night out in the middle of no-where. We were lucky in that there was
a houseboat out there and the couple that lived there rented boats to people
who come out. The owners had enough room to allow the girls to sleep on the
floor inside but the guys were just out of luck and had to sleep outside
in the cold.

Since it was raining no one wanted to sleep on the ground. I was a Boy Scout
so I knew that if I slept on a bench or table without a blanket that cold
night air would be blowing all around me and that my body temperature would
lower quite quickly. Being the innovative person I am, I remembered these
people had a small sailboat they rented during the day.

I climbed on board, opened a window on the boat (since the door was locked),
climbed into the boat and sure enough I found a small bed in the cabin. They
had pillows and blankets in there and it was quite warm. Of course the pillows
and blankets probably had not been washed in 10 years but when you are cold,
tired and yes a little drunk you just do not care.

The next day all my friends had a little trouble finding me but I eventually
heard them yelling “Nicholas! . . . . . . . Nicholas!” So I came out of my
nice little cabin and we all went home (yes the boat did eventually come
back for us).

Since no one froze to death the shashleek party could be called a great success.
I know the Captain of the Russian boat has a little to learn about manners,
the safety of his passengers and honouring a contract but he was probably
drinking and did not want to break the law by driving while intoxicated.
So in a way he was thinking about us.