Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Did I Just Eat?

After four bountiful courses of food at Dr. Steeves Christmas party, I had to ask myself, “What did I just eat?” The first course consisted of lots of beets and mayonnaise parading as different dishes. There was also meat filled bread, пирожок, salmon cream cheese stuffed tomatoes, and hearty russian хлебь. The second course was a traditional meat and beet borscht. At first I was alarmed by the lack of mayonnaise in this dish, but never fear, the soup was topped off with sour cream.  I thought it tasted a lot like my mom's vegetable beef stew. The third course was lamb with what seemed like greek tzatziki sauce. There was also a side dish that anders described as “some sort of russian lasagna” and finally, the ever russian chicken and rice. To follow up this feast, a full table of desserts was served. The rainbow sprinkle brownies had to take the cake as most authentic dish of the evening. As the woman next to me said, “They're certainly Russian! I was rushin' around all day to finish them!” 

This whole Russian food escapade made me want to explore their cuisine a little more. I'm pretty confident I'll be able to eat well in Russia when I study abroad there, but still, I'd like to know what I'm getting into. So, I googled the phrase “weird russian food” hoping maybe to figure out what my mayonnaise to vegetable ratio might be. However, to find that I might have been better served to look up “normal russian food.” Anyway, what I did find was reference to a Russian malt beverage called “Kvass” which is basically a beer made from bread. However, the alcohol content is so low, basically nonexistent, that it's considered safe for kids to drink. No wonder Russians always beat us in drinking contests! They've been training their whole lives.

To get the real good stuff, Kvass connosuiers have to go to Zhenigorod, which is about an hour from Moscow, as the sparrow flies. This Kvass is the real deal, still made by the monks who drink it. In the 19th century it was not unusual for peasants and monks to drink more kvass than they did water. I guess I finally know what it is the drunk monks were in such a hurry to drink when they added those extra letters to the alphabet. Well, there are definitely weirder things to base alcohol on than bread. I guess if that's the weirdest Russia has to offer, I have nothing to worry about. 

No comments: