Russian Food Blog
Check out this list of traditional Russian comfort foods that will make your mouth water and prove Russian cuisine isn\'t all cabbage and vodka.
When one thinks of Russia, what often comes to mind is Russian art and literature, ballet, vodka, famous stackable Russian dolls “Matryoshkas”, architecture, vast landscape or evidently something politically related and food is seldom at the top of the list. Russia is not particularly known and appreciated for its cuisine.
Russian cuisine has often been described as plain, dull and lacking in flavor, imagination and creativity. People have associated Russian foods as being boiled or too dry and the end product lacking significantly in taste and even its texture compared to that of rubber and leather. However, do not be so quick to dismiss Russian food. Russian Food is healthy, nourishing and made from simple available ingredients.
Russia is a country of multiple cultural facets; it embraces the differences and similarities in other folks and subcultures hence making it unique. Moreover, Russian cuisine is greatly influenced by different factors such as the environment, extreme climates, socio-economic disparities and a product of abundant history and traditions.
Often Russian cuisine and most of its important dishes has been said to resemble that of Scandinavia and Baltic region, Poland and Ukraine. Today many of Russian dishes incorporate a lot of other cuisines. You can expect to find a lot of foreign cuisines as part of the Russian diet; Italian- pasta, Georgian – Shashlak commonly known as Shish Kebap, Polish Perogies and Ukrainian – Varenyky are similar to the Russian Pelmeni,
The Russian Cuisine has indeed come a long way. In the past, the Russians food and diet was dictated by what was in abundance or rather available at the given time. This factor is attributed to changes in weather and seasons. Often times fish was available in the summer, a wide variety of berries were also in abundance during the summer.
The changes in weather enabled Russians to adopt and allowed them to get creative. In addition, they availability of food is now better managed with the improved farming and agricultural methods as well as the country’s infrastructure. The Russian dining experience also improved as the cuisine began to catch wind of the situation at hand. People realized that it was ultimately important to provide quality food and levels of service and hospitality.
The typical Russian diet is reliant on and encompasses of above average consumption of meat and dairy products. The Russian culinary palette also features a significant amount of fish and poultry- chicken and duck. People also say that there are four major food groups in Russian cuisine bread, potatoes, cabbage and fats. The Russian food palette also contains a lot of pastries that is; pies, rolls, Blinis, cakes and dumplings.
These ingredients are said to be part of day to day as they are featured in various other meals/dishes. The high levels of fats stems from the fact that the Country is an Orthodox Christian religion- which consists and incorporates lots of fat. Russians make and enjoy a lot of dishes that are infused with and topped of butter, cream cheese, sour cream and yoghurt.
Like many other cuisines, Russian cuisine is unique, authentic and diverse. They have an vast number of dishes, beverages, confectionery and sweets. Moreover, Russian cuisine incorporates a lot of other culture’s food into their cuisine for instance crepes and pancakes originate from France but Russians have their own unique and delicious version of the pancake known as Bliny. Which is consumed at many other times of the day than as the typical breakfast or brunch item.
The Bliny is served with other key ingredients of the Russian food such as sour cream, cabbage, cottage cheese, mushrooms at times even caviar.
Russians also eat a lot of meat, fish and dairy. The meat is often cured or smoked. The number one meat product is pork in the form of sausages. The sausages are full of taste and flavors.
Food is at the center of many gatherings, ceremonies and events. The type of food prepared is dependent on the region, holiday, time of year and generally the reasoning for celebration. The most symbolic foods are prepared during Christmas, weddings, Easter and the brightest holiday Maslenitsa.
In most parts of the globe, Christmas symbolizes not only the unity of family and festive season of love, laughter and giving and in the Russian Orthodox tradition it is even more heightened. Traditionally there were 12 different types of foods prepared during Christmas, each dish for the 12 days between Christmas and leading up to Christmas. As Russia is a country with deep and solid Orthodox Christian religion. The two main Christmas dishes are Vzvar and Kutya. Vzvar (Boil Up!) is sweet fruit compote made of assorted dried boiled nuts raisins, apples, berries, prunes and other currants, honey and spices and brought to a boil. Whereas Kutya consists of a sweet porridge drank at the beginning of the Russian Holy Supper.
Kutya also known as Sochivo symbolizes the birth of Jesus Christ. The sweeter the Kutya, the presumption of their being a bigger harvest in the coming year.
Other favorites made during the festive season include Olivier Salad, Deviled eggs, Pirozhkis, Kulebyaka a salmon stuffed pie and Priyaniki the Russian Version of Ginger spiced cookies.
In Russian wedding culture and customs, a traditional dish called Korovai is prepared along with other foods. A Korovai is a large loaf of bread decorated. It symbolized the union of two to become one, happiness, prosperity and the beginning of new things to come such as family and children. Thus, it is only presented to newlyweds.
After the great Lent came Easter celebrations. During Easter Russians would cook and invite everyone for a great feast. They prepare several dishes from meats, starches, deserts, appetizers and other finger food however there are two main foods presented during this period; Kulich and Paskha.
It is a cake baked vertically meant to symbolize the bread shared by Jesus with his disciples after the resurrection. A well baked Kulich is said to stay fresh for up to forty days.
Paskha is a pyramidal shaped cake that consists of all the things that were forbidden during the fast of the great Lent and symbolizes the Calvary and purity of Christ. The Paskha is made of eggs, creme, butter, fruits and so on.
Maslenitsa is a holiday that comes before the great Lent. The holiday symbolizes the ending of the winter season and the beginning of spring and is celebrated all across Russia. Maslenitsa is commonly referred to as the brightest holiday. It occurs before the great lent as a result the week before, a lot of meat, egg dishes are cooked and dairy products consumed prior to the fast and banning of the mentioned foods. Maslenitsa celebrations often runs a week long. During Maslenitsa, even pancakes made from eggs and milk were rendered non consumable. The Maslenitsa holiday was marked by throwing out of the first Blini- “Russian Pancake” being thrown out to the spirits of the ancestors.
It is normal to miss and crave the taste of home, at times we are constrained perhaps by distance, and cannot easily access the things that remind you of the motherland. Or if you simply love Russian cuisine and in need of a particular food ingredient, beverages or confectionery, you can now easily purchase many of these products via online Russian store and have them shipped right to your doorstep.
There are many Russian online food grocers with most of them offering and shipping the products to the USA, Australia, Continental Europe and across the globe. RussianTable is one of them. It offers a wide range of authentic Russian food in the USA, such as confectionery and beverages shipped directly from Russia at affordable price points. This allows you to cross the gastronomic border from time to time, allowing you to keep contact with your roots, settle scores with nostalgia or satisfy a need and craving all at once.
It is convenient and time efficient as you do not have to physically go into a store to purchase your groceries. In addition, shopping online is great as it offers way more options than you would typically find walking into a grocery store. Shopping via the online grocery stores allows you to easily select the products you need and have it delivered right to you at reasonable shipping rates. Thus, you can use the time that you would typically spend at the grocery store to do something else. When you think of delivery, you immediately assume that it will relatively take a long time to receive your order however that is totally not the case. At Russian Table most orders are processed and shipped within the standard 1-2 business days. With all that said, it is time to just Buy Russian food and wait until it is delivered, so that you could enjoy the unique taste of Russia.