Many people associate Russian cuisine with copious amounts of bread, pies, mushrooms and beets. Indeed, pastries, fungi, and root vegetables are some of the most common food items available. However, Russian food can also be deliciously fresh and satisfying. Now that my host mom understands that I cannot handle a great deal of salt, she has been preparing some вкусный dinners!
At my sister's request and in honor of the "blogsphere's" What I Ate Wednesday link-up, I have decided to show you what I eat during a typical day in Moscow.
приятного аппетита! (Bon Appetit!)
On most days, I try to run for at least 30 minutes. Lately, I have been running around the Novodevichy Convent and sometimes branching off into the Sports Complex. I took my point and shoot camera with me this morning so that I could show you some highlights from my favorite loop.
After my run and getting ready for my day, I sit down to a breakfast of coffee, salad, either a fig or plum, and каша (porridge) that I mix with yogurt. My host mom always offers me a slice of Хлеб (bread), but I'm usually too full to eat it at breakfast. She tends to overfeed me.
While I engorge myself, my host mom quizzes me on my vocabulary. We also watch the cooking channel on the television and I practice saying words such as "морковь" (carrot) or "лосось" (salmon) like a three year old.
Typically, my first class is Russian language and it begins at 10:40 AM. Since I live a few Metro stops away from the Academy, I try to leave the house by 10:00 in order to give myself enough time to make it to class. If I have an afternoon class after Russian language, I will usually grab lunch with the other Stanford students at one of the local cafes, such as My-My.
If, however, I am fortunate enough to have the afternoon off, I try to eat at a different restaurant. Yesterday, I had lunch (my borscht obsession continues) and did some homework at a cafe near my home in Sportivnaya called Cafe 1927.
Before I leave for school everyday, my host mom gives me a peach. She also keeps a bowl of fruit in my room stocked with plums, grapes, persimmons, and oranges. Despite such a huge breakfast and sizable lunch, I am sometimes hungry in the afternoon, so I have a piece of fruit.
After class or an afternoon exploring, I return home for dinner. Dinner is served in courses. For the first course, I am presented with salad, soup, and a slice of bread. The soup is usually of the vegetable variety and is laden with carrots, cabbage, onion, broccoli, potato, cauliflower, and various other vegetables. Russians also tend to use a great deal of dill and green onion, so my host mom usually seasons the soup with those flavors. My salad includes tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and onions, and is typically sprinkled with some sunflower oil. The side of dark Russian bread is truly delicious, but I try to control myself and only eat half of the slice since I know dinner's second course will be on its way. I'm also quite full at this point.
"я сытa (I'm full)" I always protest, but my host mom just laughs and presents me with the second course. For the second course I usually have more vegetables and a source of protein. Tonight, I had absolutely delectable beets, green beans, and tilapia topped with tomato. The beets were the highlight of this dinner. I love beets. (Please excuse the poor photo quality, I'm not sure why it turned out so horrendously.)
After I finish my dinner, my host mom offers me компот (compote), which is stewed fruit. Sometimes I have some, sometimes I don't. Since tonight's dinner was so filling, I opted for just a cup of tea.
But, of course, a few hours of homework later, I was in the mood for something sweet. Do not fear, though, my blood sugar levels did not drop. In addition to a bowl of fruit, my host mom has also provided me with a bowl of sweets in my room. I swear she wants to make a sumo wrestler out of me.
My favorite are the chocolate mushrooms.