This week’s Exploring Geography post comes from Amanda, who blogs at The Educators’ Spin On It. Amanda’s blog is full of wonderful, creative learning ideas for kids! Here are three of my favorite posts written by Amanda: Raising Eco Tots: 10 environmentally friendly activities to do with toddlers, Ice Cream King Playdate, and A Weather Post about Sunshine and Solar Panels.
I have had the opportunity to travel to Russia several times over the past 10 years. In addition to traveling in Moscow, Izhevsk, Votkins, Nishny Novgorod and some other smaller cities, I have had the opportunity to teach in the elementary school and classes for students leaving to spend the year abroad in the United States. Most of our time traveling was spent in family and friends homes, or flats. Although the architecture is amazing, the nature breathtaking, and the people kind-hearted, I wanted to write today about the food!
Russian food is absolutely delicious. I think that this is mostly due to the fact than many Russians have a dacha, or small home in the country. Traditionally, the family spends the time gardening and getting away from city life on the weekends during nice weather. All of our Russian family and friends have gigantic gardens bursting with fruit, vegetables, and flowers. They put our family’s small attempts at gardening to shame. Here are some of our family gathering outside for a casual barbeque of shashlick (shish-ka-bobs) and summer vegetables after an afternoon of gardening. Just like many families around the world, our Russian friends and families have both formal and informal dining!
The families harvest their crops and eat what they harvest, which means that food in the fall is directly out of the garden and onto your plate. When I was there for 2 months, we had a salad of fresh cucumber, tomato, onion, radish, and fresh spices with open face sandwiches every day for breakfast. Why? Because those were the vegetables that were being harvested in the gardens. Then, for the winter months, our family and many others can their produce making the most delightful combinations of pickled vegetables. Winter salads consist of more root vegetables, such as Salad Olivier, a version of the potato salad traditionally eaten in the winter months.
My grandmother in-law was the absolute best cook ever. She made meals like the one pictured above for us any time we visited. She really could make the most amazing food. Some of my favorites were ladushki, blini, peroshki’s and more. Although I could never replicate, or even come close to her fantastic cooking, I am trying to pass along the tradition of cooking Russian with my kids. We have made Borscht, pelmeni, breads, and many salads. I scour the internet trying to find recipes in English that we can try. We know which ones make the cut when my husband can’t get enough of them, asks us to make it every day and says, “This is just as good, if not better than my Grandma’s.” Although I know that he is just saying that to be sweet, I wanted to pass along some websites that we have found to be helpful, in case you want to take a trip to Russia without actually traveling there!
If you want to follow along on our Russian adventures, we’d love to have you stop by our blog, The Educators’ Spin On It. I often write about trying to raise bilingual children and cooking around the World in addition to many other parenting topics.
Thank you, Amanda, for this wonderful post! I definitely want to try making apple pancakes!