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“Want to go have some sushi?” “How about some pho?” “I feel like some Italian.”“Let’s go have Russian.” Everyone turns their head and looks at THAT guy. Who asks for Russian food?
Russian cuisine has a deep, rich history that dates as far back more than a thousand years. As time progresses and cultures intertwine, there have been meshes with other cuisines, but with the colder climate, Russians stay true to their diets that are based around a variety of crops that could survive (and thrive) in the harsher temperatures. Potatoes, and cabbage are a staple in the Russian diet. A variety of grains and root vegetables are also a menu must as these are able to thrive in the cold. Ovens or a pech’ is used over a burner with the oven having two different compartments. One of the compartments is used for baking and the other for slow cooking or roasting. Preserving and fermenting foods helps keep the food fresh for the long winter months.
Americans love their pancakes and the French, crepes. The Russian version, blini, can be eaten with berries and jams to meat and caviar; depending on the occasion. Russians love their variety of soups, stews, and porridges as they are affordable, can produce a sizable amount, and filling.Russians take great honor in hosting meals and are offended when offers are declined. Hosting a Russian dinner, they present a large amount of food that seems excessive to show that there is an abundance and to not be shy. Standard European manners are utilized throughout Russia. Elbows off of the table and don’t lick your plate clean as that is an insult to Russians as it implies that you did not get enough food to eat. Russians want to visit after the meal so plans should not be made directly after.
Russians celebrate Christmas, Maslenitsa (Eastern Slavic religious/folk holiday), and Easter. Birthdays and weddings are traditionally celebrated. Christmas is typically celebrated with two separate feasts. A Christmas Eve lent meal that is a little skimpier with the Christmas supper being far more substantial meal. Birthdays celebration meals usually include fish; either smoked or pickled. Birthday pies that are filled with fruit will have the person’s name carved into the crust are extremely popular, but birthday cakes are common as well. As expected, weddings are a vivacious celebration that usually last for three days up to a week.
Russian cuisine is plentiful. A round loaf is served to show as a symbol of living well, prosperity, and fertility. Home-brew, beer, wine, and honey-drink are all favorites. A critical piece of the Russian cuisine puzzle is vodka. Refusing to drink with your host is considered offensive. Judges have even been bought off with vodka. Vodka is a part of their everyday culture as there can always be a reason to celebrate something.
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