Fascinating article, Snappylt. Thanks.
Back in the days of the old Soviet Union, curators would often put up colleagues from Eastern Europe who were attending conferences. They did this because the visiting scholars literally didn't have enough money for a hotel or restaurant meals. There are some wonderful stories.
Trying to be good hosts, a couple asked their guest his dietary preferences. His answer was , 'MEAT'. And, yes. That's all he would eat while he stayed with them.
Another time, they had a foreign guest who expressed a preference for Italian food. The hostess was an excellent cook who had learned delicious recipes from her Italian MIL. When served a lasagna that would melt the heart, he asked for catsup.
In particular, house guests from The USSR were prone to wandering off and getting lost. This was unnerving because many of them didn't have the greatest command of English and Brooklyn can be confusing to people who have lived there for years. 'Get the car. Tanya's gone again' was often heard around dinner time'.
Another tale is told by a couple who had the use of a family house in Maine for the month of August. They invited a series of friends to visit and, while the guests were quite nice, they all expected to dine on lobster and blueberry pie...every night. By the end of the month, this couple could not look a lobster or a blueberry in the face for almost a year.