This was in a recent comment: "I was wondering, one of my friends here (Russian) was saying they were talking to someone from Ukraine and they were saying that while they are not badly off that they do not have plentiful food like we do here and giving a child a candy is more rare and a special treat. I was wondering how true you found that!"
Interesting. What time period are we talking about? I do think the famines hit harder here years ago and possible even scarred people more than in Russia, but now there's tons of food here. Oh, and are we comparing Ukraine to Russia or America?
Actually, food was one of the first little differences that I noticed here after Russia. Everything grows here! And abundantly! Where people jealously guard their gardens in Russia, here they can't give away enough. Very soon after we got here last year, I was walking with our children and a few neighbor kids. We passed an apricot tree hanging over a fence, and they all started begging. I said, "No, it's not our tree," looking at all the nearby babushki, and figuring that they would start yelling if we touched the tree. Instead they started yelling at me, because I wouldn't let the children eat the abundance! They don't sleep at their dachas just to keep thieves away here, and no one worries about people stealing from the potato plot.
Another story: a few weeks ago a friend was telling me that she had been chatting online with someone in Russia. She asked him if he liked fried squash. He said that he couldn't remember what it tastes like. Then she went through the list of things that they were eating from their garden right now. He didn't have any of them. She finally asked, "So what does grow in Russia?" and he said, "Pine cones." Ukraine was the breadbasket of the USSR, after all.
Now, if you're comparing what's in the stores to what's in American stores, there is less variety. But there's no lack of quantity. Less specialty items here, of course.
And candy. . . if only there was some way to stop the constant flow of it! (People do still talk about how there didn't used to be any. Elderly people often give children candy and say that it's because they didn't have any in their own childhoods.)
Also, like I said, people are still scarred from lean years in the past. They'll go on and on about the prices, when it just looks like natural fluctuation to us. I've almost seen runs on bread, just because of rumors that the prices will be going up a few kopecks. Most people are very frugal and won't throw away anything, no matter how much they have. Really, if you were to talk to someone about food here, they might moan about the prices, but I think that's mostly out of habit.
Of course, I'm not an expert. Just my own observations here.