Russian food and cuisines are distinctive and unique like any other nation. Russian recipes were formed under different environmental, social, geographical, economic, and historical factors.
The main feature of Russian food and cuisine is abundance and the variety of products used for cooking. Russian food and cuisine are rich in soups like borsh, shchi, fish soup (ukha), pickle soup (rassolnik), and okroshka.
Mostly they contain meat or fish, vegetables and spices. Russian foods are also famous for their variety of snacks. Pickles (vegetables, fish), pies with various fillings of potatoes, cabbage, fish, rice and eggs, and other Russian food to eat with vodka.
Russians also adore sweets. Shops in Russia offer a wide choice of chocolate sweets, gingerbread, ice cream. A trendy dessert is ‘ptichye moloko’ (bird’s milk)—a soft chocolate-covered candy filled with marshmallow or milk soufflé. There is also a great variety of soft drinks to every taste, which must be tasted while enjoying Russian food.
Revolution of Russian Food and Cuisines
The history of Russian food and cuisine stretches back more than a thousand years. During this time, Russian recipes have changed several times. New dishes were added along with unique ingredients from other countries.
Preserved food was a large part of Russian food and cuisine. Cold weather can last for over nine months in some places in Russia. So, Russians would preserve as much food as possible to last through the winters.
From the 9th to 16th century, Russian food and cuisines consisted of farinaceous products, grain-based meals, and most bread. Pancakes, boiled flour-based food, and rye pies were baked by the Russians for everyday routines and especially on special occasions.
Guests were greeted with a round caravan (loaf of bread) & salt. The caravan was set in the center of the table at every feast. In the medieval period, Russian beverages turned national like mead, Khmer, kvass, cider. The beer appeared in 1284.
Vodka was discovered in 1440-the 1470s by Russians, which was made from rye grain. Oriental dishes such as noodles and dumplings (pelmeni) were introduced at the beginning of the 16th to 17th centuries, which were actually Asian cuisines but later became traditional Russian food and cooking. From the 17th century, Russian food and cuisines were divided according to stratification.
Rich people’s tables had roast meat, poultry, & game. Russian soups appeared in the 17th century: solyanka, rassolnik containing brines, lemons, and olives. The beef was used for corned beef, and pork was turned into a roasted ham.
The meat was also fried and stewed. Mutton, Poultry, and game were put into the hotpot.
From Peter the Great, Russian nobility brought West European culinary customs and traditions to the Russian food and cuisines.
St. Petersburg cuisine’s peculiarity can be explained primarily by the city’s capital status and its proximity to Europe. Russia imported French, German, Dutch, and Italian food and cuisines in the time of St. Petersburg.
Russian food and cuisine might not have international renown like other cuisines. Still, little by little, the foodie community is starting to uncover the real, unique, slightly eccentric, delicious nature and family-oriented philosophy that defines the traditional Russian food and cuisines.