Russia is mainly a northern country with long-lasting cold winter. Therefore the food should give energy and warmth to keep habitants healthy and the immune system strong during the winter time. So, the essential components of Russian cuisine are the ones, which provide more carbohydrates and fat rather than proteins.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are rarely used in food, because they don’t provide enough carbohydrates. Popular foods include cabbage, milk, sour cream, curds, mushrooms, lard, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, berries, honey, sugar, salt, garlic, and onions.
A traditional meal in Russia is composed of three dishes. The first – a meat soup with vegetables and grains (borsch, solyanka, or shchi), second - fish or meat with garnish (rice, buckwheat, potatoes, pasta, stewed cabbage), and the third – a beverage: compote, mors, kissel or juice.
In the old days every meal took place at a certain time of day, the most strictly observed were lunch and dinner. The whole family gathered around the table, where everyone had his or her designated place. Plates were usually replaced with big pieces of bread. Guests put thick food, pieces of meat, fish, etc. on them and when meal was over such “bread plates” were normally eaten up.
The rules of conduct during meals were quite strict: it was a taboo to knock or scrape a spoon on the dishes, throw the remains of food on the floor, talk loudly, and laugh. Before sitting down everyone had to cross. All this once again confirms the respect and even awe that Russian people had in relation to their daily bread.
Russians have always been known for their exceptional hospitality. Even in ancient times a table was covered with a white tablecloth and put bread and salt on top. This meant that the hosts were happy to welcome guests.
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