Did you know Russian people like tea more than vodka? Big surprise, right? They drink tea with lemon and/or milk, they can add sugar or jam. Russians drink tea daily, sometimes around-the-clock, everywhere - and on any occasion.
All nations have their own rules on when it's an appropriate time for particular drinks. Americans love their coffee. British people are famous for having tea at 5 o'clock. Italians don't drink cappuccinos after 12 pm. Well, in Russia, people drink tea in the morning, afternoon or evening, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, sometimes as a snack and in the middle of the night. You name it - and there is a reason to have tea at that time on that occasion.
Here are some useful phrases you might hear connected to drinking tea in Russia:
Maslenitsa is an old Russian holiday, celebrating the coming of spring. Also known as “butter week” or “pancake week”, the Russians use this holiday to welcome spring. Perhaps the celebration takes place because it has been HORRIBLY cold to the holiday, and the onset of warmer weather deserves much rejoicing, or – 'if not, why not?'
How exactly do we celebrate? Firstly, by eating tons of crepes (блины / blini / pancakes) and engaging in some festive activities. Since we are so excited for the arrival of spring, we celebrate for 7 whole days. Yes! A whole wonderful week!
Maslenitsa has surprising origins, sacred messages and bizarre traditions, to say the least. Moreover, it takes place in the last week before lent starts, when we naturally eat a lot!
If you meet a "modern" Russian, they will probably say that it is not a big deal, although they are most likely eating crepes (блины) this week. So, let's look at some fun things that you might not have known...
The first thing we need to understand are the two concepts of idealism and realism. When we are comparing Russian people and American people these two concepts become very important. It is a different outlook on life.
Today we are going to talk about differences in mentality and idealism vs. realism is a big part of that. So, in case you don't know, idealism is when you think that everything should be ideal and you believe in some kind of utopian society or some structure of society that should be perfect. And you operate under the assumption that things should work this way in society. You believe that there is something perfect and that our real world can reach those perfect standards. This is idealism.
The opposite of idealism is realism. It is when people understand that nothing is perfect. People take the real thing as it is and accept it and work with it as it is. They don't try to work so hard to reach the ideal because there is no ideal.
If you ever find yourself in Russia, the first thing you might want to do, is go to the grocery store. You usually need to buy food and supplies, but what ends up happening is you go in and you are lost. What might help is getting accustomed to what Russian people buy and eat. The first step is looking at what is sold in Russian groceries stores abroad. In this video you can go with me to a Russian grocery store in Tampa, Florida. I will show you what products are popular with Russian people and what we usually buy.
While everybody is different and likes different food, Russians generally tend to eat porridge for breakfast (either oatmeal, or some other kind of grains). We also love our tea time, so there is a lot that goes with tea. And, of course, our dairy products (sour-cream, yogurts, kifer, milk).
I hope this video will give you a brief introduction to Russian food. Enjoy!