“Dinner in the canteen: 'Oh look, there's cheese!' - a soldier exclaimed. 'No, its for the Americans,' the chef answered strictly” - this was an exchange shared by Lithuanian journalist Ignas Krupavičius, who is currently serving as a conscript in the Lithuanian army.
Conscripts having lunch
© I. Budzeikaitės nuotr.

Krupavičius was surprised that, despite the fact that the Lithuanians and their NATO allies were training shoulder to shoulder, they were eating different foods and at different ends of the canteen.

The Ministry of National Defence (KAM), however, responded that such realities shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

The Lithuanian menu is more modest by a third

It seems that the Lithuanian food budget is lower by €2.6. The cost of food for one Lithuanian soldier for one day is €5.40 and about €8 for their allies.

“However, going by the menu, only €6 are used. These expenses are paid by our allies according to a two-party agreement,” said KAM representative Asta Galdikaitė.

Despite this, she admitted that different products are used to prepare food for Lithuanians and their allies.

Pizzas, corn flakes and spicier food

“The Lithuanian army buys food products for US soldiers. Some product purchases were decentralised and others weren't. Beginning this year, all product purchases will be centralised.

There was demand to buy spicier spices, buns, pizzas, canned fruit, dry breakfast food (corn flakes), etc. When our allies' soldiers arrive in Lithuania, their menus are drafted and confirmed by taking cultural and culinary differences into account. Our allies' menu has rejected some Lithuanian national foods, so we've offered them a universal (neutral) menu,” Galdikaitė explained.

Judging by the menus provided by Galdikaitė, the amount of food does not differ much, but the Americans do receive more meat and can choose from a larger variety of fruit.

When asked about why Lithuanian and NATO troops ate at opposite ends of the canteen, Galdikaitė explained that this was done to ensure that they would not interfere with each others' schedules.

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