Dining in Russia by Ekaterina Vlasova (exchange student)
When it comes to Christmas, most people think of west countries and its Markts and fairs but almost nobody knows which wonders keep Russia. During the Christmas time this big country is famous for its festival traditional dishes and cuisine. It’s a customary practice to prepare 10-15 dishes for New Year, but I would like to spotlight Christmas and its typical dishes.
In Russia Christmas is celebrated not so greatly and magnificently in comparison to New Year, but Christmas itself implies religious customs and sacral atmosphere,that’s why it’s common to stay with one‘s family on this day. The menu for Christmas is diverse but there are also the most important dishes which are connected with religion and old traditions. For the main course, one cook „cutia“ —it’s made of corn and honey,because corn is supposed to be a symbol of the resurrection while as honey is a symbol of prosperous and happy life. „Vsvar” is the second required dish on the Christmas table. It’s a beverage made of dried fruit and berries, mostly of apple, raspberry and cranberry. Then every family decides by itself what to cook next: it could be blini (pancakes), vinegret (a warm salad with beet and potato), golubtsi (warm cutlets made of cabbage and beef which are served with sir cream or mayo), vegetable ragout and fish pies. Moreover, excellent additions to these dishes are caviar, jam, cooked fish, honey and butter. The very unusual dish and typical only for Russia, Ukraine and Belorussia is “Kholodets”. One should chop pig’s sticks, place them into the cold water and boil 6-8 hours, then put all this stuff into the fridge and leave it overnight. In the end, it should look like a jelly with meat. In general, vastly different kinds of meat are served for the celebrations in Russia, for example, baked goose with cranberry sause, duck with lemon and pig with apples. For a dessert, diverse types of bakery and pastry, are usually offered, for example, pies with fruit and jams or cakes.
As for presents to Christmas, they should be spiritual relevance and bring only positive and pleasant emotions to the receiver because at first this festival is religious and fair. The thing is that Presents should symbolize your affection and love to the person and always remind him of it. So, the best ideas for gifts are candles because they mean patience,cosiness and magic; symbols of Belief such as angles, icons, the Bible; sweets such as gingerbread and lollipops; small souvenirs ,for example, frames for photos, postcards and jingle bells.