Thursday, June 08, 2006

Russian cuisine

Oxymoron? Or no? Only Russian I know is the wife of a co-worker who can apparently only cook boiled potatoes, boiled turnips, and boiled mystery grey meat, accompanied by stale crusty bread. No wonder vodka is so popular in Russia if that is their cuisine...

So -- does anybody know? Is there a such thing as "Russian cuisine"? Curious penguins want to know!

- Badtux the Curious Penguin

7 comments:

  1. Beef Stroganov ring a bell?

    Lots of sour creme, pork, fish dishes.

    Caviar with everything.

    Stuffed dumplings.

    The Tsar could afford the best, and it was all cooked in Russia. The best Russian restaurants are in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.

    It tends to be "heavy" and "rich" which befits a cold country.

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  2. Well, I like Beef Stroganov, but I wouldn't call it cuisine. In fact, if I lived in Russia, I wouldn't be terribly concerned with cuisine. I'd be happy with meat, potatoes, and vodka. On rare occasions, truth be told, I am happy with meat, potatoes, and vodka. I jut can't imagine consuming them on a near-daily basis...

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  3. I forgot about boiled cabbage. She boils cabbage until it is a flavorless washed-out mass of cellulose, and then serves the vaguely-cabbage-like glop with boiled grey mystery meat (likely pork, now that you mention it). Sometimes as a soup, sometimes as a solid (?). And I forgot the mayonaisse.

    From all that, I had gotten the impression that "Russian cuisine" was similar to "English cuisine", i.e., boiled everything and pretty much an oxymoron (and lacking even such pleasant food names as "spotted dick"!). Glad to hear that this peasant food isn't
    the totality of Russian cuisine, though it still sounds like something I'm not particularly interested in, even after reading the Wikipedia article.

    - Badtux the Culinary Penguin

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  4. The Russians have some good food but I think most is bland.

    When it is cold most of the time people do not have much to cook with!

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  5. Borscht.

    Caviar.

    Vodka.

    Turnips.

    As a Finn, I can tell you that Russian cuisine is as bad if not worse than British.

    Stroganoff is Romanian or Hungarian.

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  6. As for the over cooked cabbage, maybe they know something that we don't (It wouldn't be the first time!). Cabbage is relatively high in a chemical with the name of thiocyanate. Thiocyanate has been implicated in causing the disease goiter via suppression of the thyroid function. There is some indication that cooking destroys the thiocyanate.

    Dave

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  7. hmmm... I know it's an old post, but as a Russian who stumbled upon it, I couldn't just pass it...

    Russian cuisine is incredibly diverse. Lots of soups (perhaps more than in any other), salads, vegetables. Baked items like pirogies, pelmenies, loads of desserts etc... Smoked meats and fish. I think your Russian friend is an anomaly, cause I've never heard of a Russian that boils cabbage till it's tasteless... Yes, cabbage is a popular vegetable, but to boil till tasteless? Weird... It's more popular used sour in soups, or mixed with veggies and spices in pirogies, or as wraps for stuffed cabbage... And as for potatoes, fried are much more popular than boiled... That's for sure. But that's just a side-dish. I mean, you wouldn't judge Chinese/Indian quisine by rice alone, would you? Obviously it's the things that go with rice (and hense potatoes) that count.

    As for when it's called: Canning and preserving is a national pastime. So not having some kind of veg. on a table is an exception, rather than the rule. Especially now in modern Russia.

    And having lived in Canada, and being to UK, I can guarantee you it has very little in common with British cuisine. If there is a European influence/similarity, it's most certainly French, for French chefs were very popular in Russia in 18-19th century... (and French have been influenced by Russians -- for example, the notorious French "Bistro" is actually a Russian word, meaning fast. For when Russians chased Napoleon back to France, they demanded their food to be ready "fast".)

    PS: Beef Stroganoff is Russian. Though not as popular among Russians, as it is among tourists.

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