Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Introduction to Russian food

"I want some Russian food"

I turn around to face the manfriend with big eyes.  I don't know how to make Russian food.  Never even tasted it before.

Kiev Market is the savior.  An unobtrusive white building, it sits next to a dark blue Victorian house.  This family run store is quietly sandwiched between storage units and a nursery where it generally goes unnoticed on the busy street.  It sells basic delicacies from the motherland to those transplanted to the States from Russia.

Although I am trying to learn, the Cyrillic alphabet eludes me.  Perhaps it is more apt to say that I'm mastering the Cyrillic alphabet, just not the Russian.  Either way, I can't read anything in this store.

I take it back!  I take it back!

I can read the numbers.  Hah!  So there.

The Russian seems thrilled to find some of his favorite food, and we return to the house with a few items to try.

It smells like beer, which, I guess technically it is.  Bread beer...without the alcohol.  Isn't the alcohol why people drink beer?  I dunno.  But the manfriend not only loves this stuff, he wants to make some of his own.  There's bread involved, a liquid of sorts...wet bread...fermenting?  What part of this is supposed to sound appetizing?

But being a good sport, I try it.  It doesn't taste as bad as I feared it would.  I guess the glass of Coke Zero (in case I have to wash the taste out of my mouth) from my quest for ice cream is unnecessary.  I'll just drink it anyway...ya know, let him enjoy the "good stuff."  (See how unselfish I am?)

The other item is halva.

"It's addicting.  People don't make it.  You buy it at the store.  If you make it for me, you'd be the best cook ever."
It does not look tasty.  Not in the least.  I mean, look at it.  It looks like paper mache that's been thrown into a food processor and then pressed back together.  It's about that color, too.

Gingerly, I take a piece.  Uhm, the manfriend is right.  It is addicting, not too sweet, not too bland.  The more I eat it, the more I want it.  I'm going to have to figure out how to make it now.  I turn to google to help me figure out what halva is...apparently a combination of honey and tahini (sesame paste).

It's not much, but it's my first exposure to Russian food.  The Russian won't make any of it for me.  So tell me, what is good Russian food?  What should I look out for or attempt to make myself?  Or what is something that just grosses you out about Russian food (like all the pickling)?


  1. Hmmm. I was expecting Borscht or something. You could easy make that!

  2. Halva is delicious! I used to buy it at Safeway in Seattle.

  3. Oh, you know people eat it from Africa to Eastern Europe and every where in between so I am not sure it really counts as "Russian" I always considered it to be more middle eastern... Anyway, it still tastes amazing.

  4. It's addicting! I'm trying to make it at home, and there are two main cakey, and one that comes out like caramel...I can't find one that's as good as the one we bought!

    PS. It is very middle eastern, but I can count it as Russian since I bought it in the Russian market. :D. Plus, they eat it in Russia...

  5. Do you still have the wrapper to see if there were other nuts included to round out the taste?

  6. It didn't really have a wrapper, only some plastic wrap. It was a chunk, like there was a big piece of it and this was just cut off...kinda like when you buy fudge.


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