Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 23, 2021
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Russian Cuisine

Beets, cabbage, onions, oats and buckwheat are the main ingredients in Russian cuisine, and have been for 2000 years. Cooking methods have evolved, however, with influences from Europe in the west part of the country and Asia in the east. After the Revolution and civil war that finally ended in 1923, the new government determined what kind of produce was sold in stores and this lead to changes in what was available. Families moved from large houses with traditional ovens into small apartments with kerosene burners, and then gas and electric stoves. Poorer households relied on food preservation techniques like drying, pickling, fermentation and smoking; the wealthy followed European trends, particularly those of the French. The middle (merchant) class could afford a variety of ingredients and cooking tools, but they had a strong attachment to their roots, and helped develop classic Russian cuisine as we understand it today. Maria Depenweiller, who was born in Moscow, but now lives in Milton, Ontario, has assembled those classics in Russian Cuisine, published by Whitecap Books. Three traditional recipes follow.

Recipes from the book