Russian cuisine and Russian cooking are the most popular and widely spread in the world. French cuisine is festive and elegant, Chinese cuisine is exotic, Russian cuisine is healthy and delicious. Russian dishes are easy to cook and they do not demand much skill and special ingredients, they do not need exotic equipment and tool and everybody who knows how to hold a cooking knife and how to peel potatoes can cook delicious Russian dishes.
A few words about Russian cooking traditions. In old Russ, grain - that is rye, barley, oats, millet and wheat - was always the main food product. Since days of old the Russian s have been known as land-tiller. That is why bread remains their major national food. Pies have always been a par of the holiday fare. The pies are customarily filled with different kinds of meat, fish, and berries. As for the groats, millet was most often used since it was the main agricultural product. They also made various kinds of kashas (cereals), round loaves, baked puddings, and krupenik.
Russians have always eaten vegetables. In old times it was the turnip, cabbage, radish, and cucumbers. Since the 18th century the potato began to play an ever more important part as one of the most loved ingredients of the Russian board.
The abundance of berries, mushroom, and honey in Russian cuisine is accounted for by the country's vast expanses, especially in the north.
One more important thing should be mentioned for better understanding of Russian cooking traditions. Russian is an Orthodox country and all the feasts were always strictly followed. Totally there are more than 200 days in a year in which the Orthodox Christians should avoid eating meat, milk and milk products (including butter), eggs. That is why Russian cuisine widely uses vegetables, fish, berries, and mushrooms. In order to cook tasty dishes using just vegetables it is necessary to use different spice, Russians used dill, parsley, celery, later they used spidery which were delivered from other countries - pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves. Nearly all dishes include onion.
Most often Russian appetizers are rather spicy and look good enough to wet the appetite. They are served with various seasonings and condiments, such as horse-radish, kvass, garlic and piquant totmato sauces lending the dishes special punguency.
In Russia soups are served as the first course at dinner. In the Russian language the world "soup" was naturalsed quite late. Originally, Russian soups were called "khlebovo" or "pokhlyobka" - soup with cereals. The typical Russian soups are schi (soup with cabbage or sauerkraut)m borsch (beet and cabbage soup), rassolnik (soup with pickled cucumbers), okroshka (cold kvass soup), solyanka (soup with vegetables, pickled cucumbers, olives and bits of meat) and pohlyobka.
In Russian cooking bread and pastry have always been especially important. Guests were met with bread and salt. Of no lesser importance were pies - a symbol of wealth and well-being.
Russian women were famous for their skills in making different sorts of cookies: blini (pancakes), kulebyakas, rasstegais, cheese cakes, spice-cakes, etc. Howere, especially popular were patties made from soudough.
Russian cuisine has always been rich in meat dishes. The Russian recipes deal with dishes of beef, pork, mutton, poultry, game, and wild animals. As a rule, meat dishes are served with vegetables. noodles and cereal.