, pub-6663105814926378, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 The Food of Russia 4289

The Food of Russia

Russia is a country of enormous proportions, from its vast forests to its long history. It is also a country of enormous diversity, with a great variety of landscapes, cultures, and traditions. These factors have helped to produce a unique cuisine.

Russians love to eat, and Russian cooks are proud of their specialties. Although food has not always been plentiful in this land of wide expanses and long winters, gourmet chefs and grandmothers alike have learned to use the resources at hand to create tempting dishes.

In the winter, potatoes, root vegetables, and hearty breads provide hot, filling meals. Russia's seas and long rivers offer a plentiful supply of fish, and Russian cooks also make good use of meat and dairy products in their dishes. Fresh fruits and vegetables are savored in the summer and are carefully preserved to be enjoyed when cold weather arrives. From refreshing cold salads to steaming hot blini, the cuisine of Russia is as varied and interesting as it is delicious.

Russia stretches across eastern Europe and northern and central Asia. It is the largest country in the world -more than one and a half times the size of the United States-and many different landscapes and climates exist within its boundaries. Parts of northern Russia reach above the Arctic Circle and do not see the sun for six months of the year, while balmy southern regions almost never have snow.
Located on the European Plain, western Russia is the country's most well developed and populous area. Except for the Caucasus Mountains in the south, the region is made up of flat plains and low hills. The Volga River runs southward through the region to the Caspian Sea, and the area contains most of the country's major cities, including Moscow (the national capital) and Saint Petersburg. The western plains are also home to most of Russia's industries.

Separating European Russia from Asian Russia, the Ural Mountains run the length of the country from north to south. East of the Urals lies wintry Siberia, a huge, sparsely populated area that stretches to Russia's eastern seacoast. Siberia is divided into the West Siberian Plain, the Central Siberian Plateau, and the East Siberian Uplands. Siberia is also divided into several different zones based on climate. The far northern reaches of Siberia are tundra a harsh, cold zone in which much of the land is permanently frozen. South of the tundra is the taiga, a vast forested region. Still farther south lies the steppe, a wide grassland that contains Russia's most fertile soil. Siberia is watered by the Ob, Yenisei, and Lena Rivers along with other smaller waterways. Lake Baikal, in south-central Siberia, is the world's deepest freshwater lake.

History of Russia
Russia's history spans more than one thousand years. An ethnic group called the Slavs began to settle in the region in about the A.D. 500s. The Slavs established the first Russian state, called Rus, during the 800s. Internal unrest and foreign invasions troubled the young nation for centuries. But in 1547, Ivan IV also known as Ivan the Terriblebecame the first of a series of powerful leaders called czars who would rule Russia for almost four hundred years. The czars gradually purchased and conquered territory until, by the reign of Peter the Great in the late 1600s and early 1700s, Russia had grown into a large and powerful nation.

The 1800s were a time of great political unrest in Russia. The unhappy with their terrible workers and the middle class were in Russian society. working conditions and the extreme inequalities Czar Nicholas II's In January 1905, workers made a peaceful march on reform. The czar's Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg to demand of peotroops fired wounding hundreds on the crowd, killing and protested this ple. Violence broke out all over the country as Russians was massacre, which The czar came to be known as Bloody Sunday. establishment of an forced to agree to some reforms, including the elected Duma, enough stop the or parliament, but it wasn't to brewing revolution.

In 1917 Nicholas II stepped down from the throne group called pressure from revolutionaries. A few months later, a control of the the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, violently seized the nation. The Bolsheviks changed the group's name to Soviet Communist Party Congress and established the Union of The USSR Socialist Republics (USSR), 1922. or Soviet Union, in republics.

Eventually grew to include Russia and fourteen other Under the control of the Communist Party, the USSR became one of the most powerful nations in the world. After World War II (1939-1945), relations were strained between the Soviet Union and noncommunist nations such as the United States and its European allies. This period became known as the Cold War. The USSR's international relationships began to improve during the 1980s, but its internal stability weakened as republics within the USSR began to call for independence. By the end of 1991, the Soviet Union had collapsed, and Russia, officially called the Russian Federation, had become an independent nation once again.

The Food of Russia
Many traditional dishes in Russian cuisine are based on the simple but hearty cooking of the peasants of prerevolutionary Russia. Bread, a longtime staple, remains one of the most important and most loved foods in modern Russia. Borsch is another food that was handed down by the peasants. It is a soup made from beets and any of a variety of other ingredients, including cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onions, and meat.

Russian cooking also has roots in the food favored by the nobility of prerevolutionary Russia. The most striking characteristic of this cuisine was the amount of food served at one time. An upper-class dinner featured course after course of rich, delicious food, beginning with substantial zakuski, or appetizers. Zakuski were usually made up of a wide array of Russian foods, from pickled vegetables and caviar (fish eggs) to smoked fish and hot pirozhki (stuffed pastries). The main meal often included meat, poultry, and fish, as well as soup, salad, cooked vegetables, and a rich dessert. Although very few modern Russians many traditional eat such large on a scale, dishes, such as beef Stroganoff and Russian salad, are still favorites, and serving elaborate zakuski is still a popular custom.

Russian dining grew more diverse during the Soviet era, when many traditional foods from the other republics of the USSR became favorites of Russian cookS. The tormer southern republics of Armenia and Georgia, for example, contributed chickpeas, pine nuts, and cracked wheat to the national cuisine. Typical dishes such as shashlyk (grilled lamb on skewers), dolmas (grape leaves stuffed with rice and meat), and baklava (a rich pastry made with honey and nuts) also made their way into Russian cooking.

Farther east, the former republics in central Asia, such as Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, introduced plov, a mixture of rice, lamb, and spices that is similar to the pilafs served in the Middle East. Diners in Russia soon included many of these tasty treats on their own menus. A wealth of delicious fruit, inchudigg figs, grapes, peaches, apples, cherries, and melons, is also an important part of the cuisine of this region.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, foods and restaurants from Europe and the United States also appeared in Russia. But Russia's traditional cuisine is still served every day by native cooks, and with the recipes in this book you can prepare some of these delicious classics yourself. You re sure to love the many flavors of this vast and varied country.

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