Classic Russian cuisine: at peak in 19th c.
Fish: rivers and lakes. Great Lent and fast periods (>1/2 year).
Forest: berries, mushrooms. Gathering mushrooms.
Pork. Mutton. Beef.
Cucumbers. Cabbage. Sweet preserves.
Fruit: preserves, dried.
Veggies. Potatoes. Grains.
Milk and dairy products (tvorog; buttermilk; sour cream). Eggs.
Influences from former republics: shashlyk; kefir; rice and lamb dishes, etc. Western influences.
Drink: wine; vodka; kvass. Tea (coffee).
Not a lot of spices. Onions, garlic, salt and pepper, dill, parsley, vinegar, horseradish, mustard. Sugar and honey.
Sharp, but not hot.
Not as sweet.
Russian stove: a lot baked, stewed, even today.
Not grilled, unless over campfire.
Soup and essential dish.
Cold summer dishes: cold buttermilk soup.
Bread. Essential food.
Black (mostly rye)
Gray (wheat and rye).
More substantial than American bread.
Breakfast: substantial. Bread with cold cuts; leftovers;
Midday meal: more than lunch.
Dinner: main meal.
Snacks: usually sweet.
Long meals – feast.
Sit around, eat, drink, talk, argue.
Any major holiday an occasion. Family holiday – extended family.
Always food offered to visitors (best for guests).
Dishes served one course at a time. Tradition adopted from Russian by West.
Main dish: fish or meat, or both.
Custom established before 19th c. Possibly snacks for travelers before meal is ready.
Always a variety served. Served with bread.
Caviar (for the wealthy or connected)
Beluga (largest sturgeon)
In mustard or sour cream sauce.
Oil and vinegar with onions.
Other fish, possibly from cans: eel, sardines, salmon (smoked), sturgeon
Cold cuts, sausages
Various pickles (cucumbers, cabbage, tomatoes, etc.), radishes.
Meat pies (pirozhki);
kulebiaka: fish pie.
Served with vodka.
Shchi (sauerkraut soup)
Borshch (thick, stew-like, meat or meatless root-vegetable soup with cabbage and beets)
Ukha (fish soup)
Rassolnik: pickles and kidneys
Could be served with pirozhki or other savory baked goods.
Main course. Meat and/or fish. If wine is served, with main dish.
Pelmeni (a ravioli-style dish served with sour cream)
Kotlety (ground-meat patties, the same concept at meat loaf, but pan-fried)
Classic dishes: Beef Stroganoff (pieces of beef cooked in mustard-sour cream sauce served over buckwheat)
Cakes, cookies, pastries.
Cookies: pechen’e, different from US.
No such thing as crackers.
Kisel’ (“fools” – a kind of fruit custard)
Kompot (compote: cooked fruit in a mild syrup)
Bliny (savory, yeast-batter crepes served with butter, sour cream, and non-meat toppings)
Kulich. (Easter Bread, rich sweet bread baked in the shape of a tower)
Paskha. (Easter cheese dessert, not unlike crustless cheesecake)
Kut’ia. (Christmas dessert, poppy seeds, honey, nuts, and raisins)
Vodka. Introduced in 14th c. Mostly used for medicine until late 16th/17th c. Samogon. Home-made vodka, about twice as potent as the stuff sold in stores. Made from sugar or potatoes.
Before: mead, ale.
Vodka drunk straight. Not sipped. Always with food.
Plain or flavored.
Zubrovka (flavored with buffalo grass)
Pertsovka (flavored with red pepper)
Limonovka (flavored with lemon)
Wine: on the sweet side.
Beer: healthy alternative (not considered a strong drink).
Kvas. 1% alcohol. Made from rye bread, yeast, water, sugar; lightly fermented. Also used as base for soup.
Water: bottled rather than from tap.
Milk and coffee drunk far less than in US (but kefir/buttermilk is)
Tea: always hot; sweet. Mostly at breakfast and “tea” or with snack.
Samovar is still used.
Glasses with holders used rather than mugs.