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The tendency of going back to the roots and reviving traditional local recipes is very natural and healthy. Besides, it might help foreign tourists better feel the taste of Russia and broaden the associative field far beyond Russian caviar and pancakes, nested dolls and vodka.


Besides traditional New Year Russian salad, Maslenitsa pancakes and Easter cake, barbecues (shashliks) on Labour Day and all other warm sunny days is considered one of the main holiday dishes of the year in Russia.


Leo Tolstoy, the well-known Russian writer and thinker, argued: While our bodies remain graves of murdered animals, how can we foster hopes for creation of ideal life conditions on the Earth?


Since the Pancake Week (or Maslenitsa), the famous Russian holiday, is approaching, we decided to get you acquainted with interesting recipes of Russian pancakes a traditional food we eat during these days.


Whence is the tradition to meet the new year at a festive table? What dishes did great-grandmothers and grandmothers of modern Russians cook for this holiday? In the very beginning, in the epoch of Peter the Great who decreed to celebrate the New Year on the night of December 31st to January 1st, the main thing on this holiday was not the table, but dancing. For dinner, supper and breakfast our ancestors had... only dances and drinks to satisfy thirst.


Traditional Russian kvass is one of the best refreshing and most natural soft drinks. The very word kvass is undoubtedly of Russian origin and means sour drink, or fermented drink. Though it is pungent rather than sour. Kvass based on bread fermentation has been a traditional drink for many centuries for Russians.


The strange hard-to-translate name kozuli or kozyuli stands for fancy pastry figurines of nanny-goats, deer or other animals with a symbolical meaning. The word kozulya (sg.; kozuli pl.) is derived from the Russian koza meaning she-goat. She-goat was a symbol of prosperity in the house, and making of kozuli symbolized familys well-being.


Bread is not only the basis of Russian table, but also a symbol of peoples wellbeing. This is why there are a number of customs related to bread. From times immemorial the Slavs believed that people who shared bread became friends forever.


Sbiten was especially popular in winter time or in dank and cold weather and was very helpful against catching a cold or some other infirmity. It was also well-known for curing melancholy. Hot tropical spices and hot sweetness of sbiten inspire vivacity and festive joy.


On the night of the 6th to 7th January the Orthodox Church celebrates the holy Christmas. For over a month prior to the holiday believers observe the Advent, i.e. Christmas fast.


Russian Karavai the traditional round bread loaf - has come down to us from ancient pagan times. Karavai was a must at the Russian wedding feast, with numerous ritual rules observed during its preparation.


Botvinya goes well in summer heat; it tastes lighter than okroshka and has a better refreshing effect.Okroshka and Botvinya are cold soups based on kvass; both are part of traditional Russian cuisine.


Borsch is probably the most widespread dish in Slavic cuisines. This type of vegetable soup got its name after the old Slavic name of beetroot byrsch the vegetable compulsory for this dish.


Before the 17th century Russian cuisine was quite plain and natural, without any gourmet luxuries. It was based, as a rule, on turnip and cabbage, cooked in different combinations and in all possible ways, often flavoured with spices. Russians also consumed all sorts of fish, as well as berries, mushrooms and numerous porridges (kasha).


A distinctive feature of Russian cuisine is abundance and variety of snacks and starters. Just like in former times, it is still a custom in Russian homes to serve for the arrival of guests all kinds of dainties.


Porridge is undoubtedly a primordially Russian dish. Moreover, porridge is a cult dish. Following old Russian traditions, on wedding ceremony the groom and the bride necessarily cooked porridge.


If you plan to bake white bread, similar sourdough can be prepared of wheat flour or overfed this rye ferment with wheat flour. The choice of rye flour is explained by the fact that it is much easier and faster to make sourdough from rye than from wheat flour. Wholegrain wheat flour also gives quite good results as compared to refined wheat flour.


Thanks to its agrarian past Russia can be justly called the rye empire. From time immemorial Russian people ate rye bread which both dear to their taste and easy on the pocket. In the beginning of the 20th century consumption of rye flour products comprised over sixty percent. Today this figure is much less, reaching only about 10 to 13 percent. But till now Russia is in the top five of the largest manufacturers of rye.


   




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