It’s Good for a Soldier to Eat Onions and Garlic

A unique military unit in the Russian city of Vladimir trains cooks for border troops

Doctors announced that the flu epidemic started in Russia. This disease makes hundreds of thousands of people really sick every year. Modern medicine has not had any success in the struggle with flu, epidemic happens almost every year. However, there is a place in Russia, where people never have any flu: military unit number 2050 in the city of Vladimir. The military unit has become that peculiar owing to the special diet, which commander Romanov developed for his soldiers. As a result, when almost a half of the Russian population sneezes and coughs, there hardly any patients at 2050 military hospital.

Vladimir military unit 2050 is a unique one: they train cooks and bakers for border troops. There are very few of such units in Russia. The commander of the unit is Colonel Anatoly Romanov. His appearance makes people respect him: he is a well-built man with strong arms and thunder-like voice. The professional credo of an officer is to take care of his subordinates. The commander feeds his military men with onion, garlic and horse-radish. These vegetables are used in the military unit as preventive maintenance. In the evening, Romanov’s soldiers have a glass of camomile, dog-rose and blackberry decoction. The soldiers of the unit come from various regions of the country: from Kazan, Ulyanovsk, Penza, Ufa, Krasnodar, and so on. Each of them has to undergo the acclimatization process, for there will be unusual mode of life and new daily routine. Young men's immunity is rather low, a lot of them suffer from the weight deficit. The situation changes fundamentally after three months of vitamin therapy and intensified nourishment: recruits’ cheeks turn pink, their eyes glisten.

Colonel Romanov paid attention to the issue of herbal treatment during his 20 years of service in Central Asia and Afghanistan. It is really hard to live in those areas without any vitamins. The city of Vladimir is not in Central Asia, but the advanced experience is really good for any region.

“My soldiers have no time to be sick. We have to teach them the basis of cooking for only five months, not 18 months like in civil cooking schools. Army service counts every day. If someone gets sick, he will not be able to catch up with the compact course of the cooking art. Dozens of new cooks will go to the Caucasus and Far North of Russia to cook meals for border troops. One may say that our unit is a strategic one, for we train cooks for the troops in Russia’s hotspots as well,” Colonel Romanov said.

As a matter of fact, 2050 unit in the city of Vladimir has not been a strategic unit always. Ten years ago, when Anatoly Romanov became the commander of the unit, the officers were really perplexed about it. They considered the colonel a very weird person. The new commander turned the unit upside down. Romanov changed practically everything: barracks roofs and the bath house were repaired, a greenhouse, a pigpen, as well as a sauna, a pool, a heating main and even a dentist office were built in the unit.

The soldiers of the unit wear white aprons and funny cooking caps when they study. They bake pancakes, shred carrots, cut meat. The air is filled with the incredible smell of spicy fried meat. The soldiers grow their own vegetables– tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, potatoes: the unit has a big plot of land on the outskirts of Vladimir. There is a garden right on the territory of the military object: apple-trees, cherry-trees and plum-trees. The unit also has ten pigs, three bulls and a flock of geese. Meat chops are cooked of the unit’s own meat only.

The unit is on friendly terms with Stavrovsky state farm, which supplies horse-radish to the military men. This vegetable is a very relevant one for the unit. The soldiers are really proud of their real Russian oven, with the help of which they learn to bake wheat and rye bread. The oven manufactures 50 delicious loaves of bread every day. Soldier Alexander Panferov from Krasnodar loved the art of bakery. After he was through with his service, he concluded a contract with the Armed Forces to teach soldiers the art of bakery. Baking techniques are not that easy as it may seem at first sight. The most difficult thing is to find the needed temperature.

The chief of 2050 military unit has recently received a thankful letter from the regional department of the committee of soldiers’ mothers of Russia. Soldiers’ mothers acknowledged Colonel Romanov’s unit the best military unit in the region. This unit has not had any desertion or abuse incidents for years. This is probably because the soldiers feel the human attitude to them from their commander. Maybe, they value the place of their service.

After the cooking course is over, soldiers are awarded diplomas, which will allow them to work at cafes and restaurants after they are through with the military service. Some of Anatoly Romanov’s graduates work in Moscow’s fancy restaurants at the moment. In addition to that, the graduates of 2050 unit are very popular among girls. Girls like it, when young men can cook delicious dishes.

A.Trokhin Molva Vladimir


Translated by Dmitry Sudakov