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A Culinary Tour Around the World: Russia

Dubroye utro (good morning) and welcome to Russia. 

I’ve been so busy with A Culinary Tour Around the World (and real life other things) that we haven’t had a family food fight in a while. [“FFF” was started a couple of years back by my son, granddaughter and me. It’s our usual Sunday activity…engaging in a thematic battle for supremacy in our favorite room in the house, the kitchen. Past ‘competitions’ can be seen on Family Food Fight, a blog run by Jim.] 

Iron Chefs Cass, Jim, me!
I decided to remedy that breech in our routine and invited them to “join me” in Russia. Of course, they had to come up with recipes to help round out a full meal. Jim did the first course…borscht. As is his style, he presented it 2-ways, both with a contemporary twist. I took a more conventional route and made salads of pickled mushrooms, tomatoes and cucumbers along with an entree of Beef Strogonoff; and my granddaughter, Cassie, did dessert. That’s her specialty. Or, at least, it’s her favorite food group! [None of us had ever made any of these dishes before.]

Also invited my mom and aunt over as ‘tasters’.

Enough with the photography…Ve Vant food! (L-R Mom, tia Aurora)
But before we get to the grub, here’s some interesting facts about Russia.

Russia is the largest country in the world covering more than 1/8 of the earth’s land area. It extends across the whole of Northern Asia and 40% of Europe, spanning 11 time zones and incorporating a great range of environments. Russia also accounts for 1/4 of the world’s fresh water. It is the 9th largest country by population.

Food and Culture Facts
• Carbohydrates and fats are the essential components of Russian cuisine because they give “energy and warmth” to survive the long winters.
• Fresh fruits and vegetables are rarely used.
• The top 5 foods are: potato, bread, eggs, meat and butter.
• According to the AWA (Alternative Whiskey Academy), my source for how to say “cheers” in each language, there is no ‘universal’ drinking cheer in Russia. 
• But we all know that vodka (originally called bread wine) is the drink of choice…vodka rules in Russia!
•  And here’s my favorite Russian proverb: “Snyavshi golovu, po volosam ne plachut” (Once your head has been cut off, there’s no use crying about your hair.)

O.K. you waited long enough. Dinner is served.

Borscht 2 Ways: A golden beet soup and a quenelle of red beet ice cream (intermezzo). No recipes because I’m trying to get Jim to submit them for the Blogger Aid cookbook since both were original.

Bef Stróganov, a popular dish in many countries, originated in 19th century Russia. It was named after the Stróganov family who were involved with the settlement of Siberia.

We ended the dinner with the Honey Mousse Cassie prepared. It was very sweet but had a wonderful fluffy consistency.

Postscript: If you noticed a more artistic approach in the photos today, it’s because I invited Jim to be the photographer-of-record for this event. He is creative by nature and profession. More of his food porn can be see at Family Food Fight and other photography at saymoji.

Sorry for the late arrival in Russia. There were unusual visibility problems and we had to circle over the Ural Mountain Range for hours. :) Round-up will still be posted on Wednesday, March 4.


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