Icon: Bulochka

MT
The "caloric bun" or kaloriinaya bulochka became a true hit in Soviet times. An 8 kopek bulochka and a bottle of kefir was a ubiquitous lunch combo for students and others who ate on the go. The bulochka was made of wheat flour, nuts and raisins, and was hardly more caloric than a piece of ordinary bread, but the name stuck and the product is now replicated by many companies -- with little success, according to critics.

The cheap lunch replacement was actually created by a Moscow baker, Ivan Filippov, owner of the famous Filippov Bakery on Tverskaya Street, which was converted a few years ago into a Coffee Bean coffeehouse. By the 1850s, Filippov had already made a name for himself and received orders from people like Arseny Zakrevsky, the Moscow general governor who ruled the city with an iron fist.

Moscow historian Vladimir Gilyarovsky writes that on one occasion Zakrevsky found a cockroach in a bun from Filippov's bakery. Enraged, he summoned the baker and demanded an explanation. Filippov didn't break a sweat and said: "But, Your Excellency, this is just a raisin," quickly eating it. "I was not aware that you baked raisin buns," said Zakrevsky. "I do now," Filippov replied with a poker face.

To prove it, he raced to the bakery and threw some raisins into a batch of dough. In a couple of hours, he delivered the raisin buns to the general's mansion and was thus spared Zakrevsky's fury.