Using the 2014 Sochi Olympics to learn about Russian food

By | February 17, 2014 | Food & Recipes

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Using the 2014 Sochi Olympics to learn about Russian food | The Momiverse | Article by Cheryl Tallman

Old World Russian meals traditionally consisted of three dishes: a soup, a hearty protein with a grain or potato, and a drink. And of course, bread – lots and lots of bread. Though this may sound delicious, this type of diet has contributed to an obesity problem in Russia. Like in many cold weather countries, meals were meant to keep you warm. But like the United States, many Russians are eating more and moving less. Modern Russian cuisine is changing to include more fresh fruits and vegetables and less salt and fats.

Though traditional flavor is still preferred, health-conscious Russian families are eating these meals in lesser quantities and working to create a more balanced diet. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy the flavors of the 2014 Olympic host country’s cuisine, just keep portion sizes in mind.

Preparing a Russian-themed meal for your family is a great way to teach your children about meal traditions in other countries. Russian families typically all sit down together to share meals. Saying a word of thanks before the meal is standard practice for many families. In the old days, guests were welcome at meals. Carry on this tradition by asking a neighbor or friend to join in on your Russian-inspired meal.

Here are a few popular Russian dishes:

Salad Olivier

Russian Food - Salad Olivier | The Momiverse | Article by Cheryl Tallman | Photo by Yastremska

Photo source:  Yastremska, bigstock.com

Potatoes and other hearty vegetables that store well during long winters are staples in the Russian diet because they are locally available. The Olivier, named after the chef who created it, is a salad made with potatoes, peas, carrots, cucumbers, chicken or ham, and mayonnaise. The Olivier is one of the most popular dishes in Russian.

Borscht (also known as borsch)

Russian Food - Borscht | The Momiverse | Article by Cheryl Tallman | Photo by Timolina

Photo source:  Timolina, bigstock.com

This popular soup originated in the Ukraine and is enjoyed in various forms throughout Eastern and Central European countries. Beets are the main ingredients, but borscht also includes beets, potatoes, cabbage and beef or pork.

Blini

Russian Food: Blini | The Momiverse | Article by Cheryl Tallman | Photo by Lilyana Vynogradova

Photo source:  Lilyana Vynogradova, bigstock.com

A blini is a pancake make with buckwheat flour. They may be served with a variety of toppings. Smoked salmon, chopped eggs, sour cream and caviar are the popular toppings. If you want to try this topping but do not have caviar in your budget, capers are a good substitute. Fruit toppings are also a great way to enjoy blini.

Pirohzki

Russian Food: Pirohzki | The Momiverse | Article by Cheryl Tallman | Photo by Yastremska

Photo source:   Yastremska, bigstock.com

Not to be confused with the Polish pierogi, a pirohzki may have been the original idea behind a Hot Pocket. They are made using dough of flour and eggs that is stuffed with meat, onion, mushrooms and cabbage. Sweet versions are stuffed with fruit and cottage cheese.

Rye Bread

Russian Rye Bread | The Momiverse | Article by Cheryl Tallman | Photo by Naoto Sato

Photo source:  © Some rights reserved by Naoto Sato, Flickr

Also known as black bread, dark rye bread is found on the table at almost every Russian meal. Rye bread is higher in fiber than white bread. It also has a lower glycemic index, which makes it a good choice for people managing diabetes.

Have you tried any Russian food? What are your favorites and what else would you add to this list?

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Cheryl Tallman

Cheryl Moellenbeck Tallman is the Founder and CEO of Fresh Baby. Since Starting Fresh Baby in 2002, Cheryl Tallman has been honored with many prestigious awards, and is a US Department of Agriculture National Nutrition Education Strategic Partner. As the head of product and content development for her company, Cheryl develops innovative products and authors materials that inspire parents to raise healthier children. She serves as both a parenting and cooking expert for many high-profile online communities. Cheryl's ultimate vision is to make the task of raising a healthy eater easier for all parents.

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1 comments
nancyjohn2010
nancyjohn2010

Salads can be really tasty. All that lettuce topped with your favorite dressing and sprinkled with other toppings is enough to make your mouth water.


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