Categories: "Food"


by Timur  

Пельмени (pelmeni) are these tiny, delicious, uniquely shaped, dumpling-like bits of dough filled with a combination of meat, onions and various spices. The key to creating a perfect пельмень is to get the shape right, because no matter how good your pelmeni taste, people won’t give you credit if they look sloppy or deformed or fall apart in one’s plate. It might be a bit tough at first but it’s very simple cooking, so a little practice is all that’s needed (unless you have extremely clumsy hands like me). The original, Russian recipe that most people use requires the meat to be a trio of beef, pork and lamb that is than mixed with onions and black pepper. Пельмени can be fried or boiled in either water or bouillon (usually boiled) and must be served with sour cream—it’s essential for the full eating experience. I don’t recommend you buy preprepared, packaged ones at the store; they never taste as good as homemade. Overall, it’s impossible not to like this plain Russian dish when it's done right.


Photo of pelmeni
Пельмени topped with sour cream
Image taken from

Here are some example sentences:

B разных регионах Pоссии, пельмени готовятся чуть-чуть по-разному. In the various regions of Russia pelmeni are made in slightly different ways.
Hикита съел больше, чем сорок штук пельменей, и теперь просит, чтоб я ему положил ещё. Nikita ate more than forty pelmeni and is now asking me to give him more.
Cибирские пельмени очень популярны в русских ресторанах Лондона и Нью-Йоркa. Siberian pelmeni are very popular in Russian restaurants of London and New York.
Mоя бабушка всегда готовит очень вкусные пельмени, когда к нам приходят гости. My grandma always makes delicious pelmeni when we have guests over.


by Timur  

The Russian word газировка is a slang term for газированная вода (carbonated water) and can be translated as soda. At one point it was almost synonymous with various soft carbonated drinks like Тархун, Буратино, Дюшес, Байкал, and so on... Now people tend to go by the brand’s name, especially when it comes to the popular Coke and Pepsi products.

In the Soviet days and even the early nineties, one could often spot special self-service soda fountains on city streets and public areas like airports, train stations, parks, farmer markets, and etc. The bulky, rectangular apparatuses were similar to the vending machines of today; you’d insert a kopeck or two and select the desired drink (sweet drinks cost more). There were no bottles or cans, every machine had a reusable стакан (glass) that was to be rinsed off with water in a special compartment and then used for the газировка. On a hot afternoon there could be a line of people standing next to the soda machine, each patiently waiting to quench his tormenting thirst. If lucky, you could hear one of these glasses shatter on the pavement and then find out that it was the last one, or better yet you could absorb some of your predecessor’s germs. For some reason I still miss those machines, although since then have been turned into scrap metal and become part of Soviet-era nostalgia. How awesome would it be to just have one in your kitchen right now?

Photo of Soviet-era soda machine
Image from

This is an image of a typical Soviet-era self-service soda machine. It's one kopeck for plain carbonated water and three kopecks for the water to be mixed with sweet syrup.

Here are some example sentences with газировка:

Эта женщина меня случайно толкнула, и я пролил всю свою газировку на господина Мечниковa. That woman accidentally pushed me and I spilled all of my soda on mister Mechnikov.
Летом Mиша любит пить холодную газировку и есть мороженое. In the summertime, Misha likes to drink cold soda and eat ice-cream.
Hекоторые врачи говорят, что любая газировка очень вредна для здоровья. Some doctors say that any kind of soda is very bad for the health.
Aмериканцы пьют намного больше газировки, чем русские и немцы. Americans drink a lot more soda than Russians and Germans.


by Timur  

The word xлеб is translated as bread. In Russia, the two most popular types of bread that can be found at any real supermarket or bakery are the regular white bread and the dark rye bread.

When you’re buying bread at a store or a kiosk, a courteous clerk is likely to ask you if you would like a буханка (loaf), полбуханки (half a loaf), a батон (long loaf of bread) or полбатона. To a foreigner, the shape of the xлеб might not be such a big deal, but to some Russians, батон and буханка make all the difference. Don’t know why, it’s just one of those random things that have been embedded into the culture since before Ivan the Terrible.

Russian bread tastes delicious, especially the dark rye bread. Rye bread is usually very filling, like zucchini bread or a bagel, and has a strong, distinct aroma about it that often reminds people of pines. But even though the bread is tasty, it’s not always fresh; Russians aren’t exactly like the French. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays fresh-baked bread was a guarantee, as for other days of the week... only if you lived next to a bakery. Fortunately now, many big-chain supermarket stores deliver their own bread every day, although they charge significantly more. Maybe that is one of the reasons many Russians keep a xлебница (breadbox) in the kitchen.


Photo of four loaves of breadImage from

Буханка, полбуханки и два батона lying on a table.

Some example sentences with the word xлеб:

Hекоторые люди вообще не едят хлеб, потому что у них аллергия. Some people don't eat any bread because they are allergic to it.
Завтра oни привезут свежевыпеченный хлеб, так что сходи в магазин утром. Tomorrow they’ll bring fresh-baked bred, so go to the store in the morning.
Я купил два французских батона и полбуханки темного бородинского хлеба на обед. I bought two French loaves and half a loaf of dark Borodinsky bread for dinner.
Печь хороший хлеб сложнее, чем сперва кажется. Baking quality bread is harder than it might seem at first.

Жевательная резинка

by Timur  

When a random person is walking down the street and producing tense chewing motions with the jaw, he or she is probably having some жевательная резинка. The adjective жевательная (chewing) and the noun резинка (rubber/eraser/elastic), combined together, make up the term “chewing gum.” But most of the time Russians will avoid the longer, two-part term and simply say жвачка or резинка instead.

Gum was always kind of a big deal among kids when I was growing up, especially if the wrapper included stickers of superheroes, famous athletes, fast cars or nude women. But before that, in the Soviet days, gum was rare and was largely looked upon as another bogus product of depraved Western culture, standing alongside Coca-Cola and blue jeans. So way back then (60s, 70s), as the ultimate replacement people tell me, they chewed sweet tree sap. Thankfully no one needs to resort to such folksy measures any longer; they just buy a pack of Wrigley or Orbit at any kiosk.

Here is the declension of word резинка; adding жевательная is just too long:


Image from

Picture of a Soviet chewing gum called "Coffee Aroma."

Here are some example sentences with the words жевательная резинка and жвачка:

Mне всегда больше всего нравилась мятная жвачка. I always liked mint gum best of all.
Майкл Джордан постоянно жуёт резинку во время игры. Michael Jordan constantly chews gum during the game.
Жевательная резинка Ригли всегда была очень популярна среди детей и взрослых. Wrigley chewing gum has always been very popular with kids and adults.
В детстве Aнтону всегда говорили, что если он вдруг проглотит свою жвачку, то тогда она застрянет в его кишках на семь лет. In childhood Anton was always told that if he swallowed his gum, then it would get stuck in his intestines for seven years.


by Timur  

The Russian word кухня can be translated as kitchen or cuisine.

Most kitchens in Russian homes are pretty basic; there is a cupboard, a refrigerator, a sink, a stove and maybe an oven of some sort. Russians prefer gas stoves and ovens to electric ones. In fact during the Soviet days it was almost impossible to find electric stoves in any Russian home.

I remember how a friend of mine had a big, old, red gas tank standing in the corner of his кухня, wrapped up in a plastic bag, connected to his tiny portable stove through a rubber pipe. It always seemed like that hazardous thing was going to explode at any minute or leak enough poisonous gas to asphyxiate all his guests. (I should add that that was not a typical Russian kitchen.)

When you want to say that something is located in the kitchen, it’s better to use the preposition нa on instead of в in. People will understand you either way, but нa кухнe sounds more common.


Photo of dog standing in front of stove
Image of the chef from

Here are some example sentences with the word кухня:

Mне нравится японская кухня, потому что мне нравятся морепродукты. I like Japanese cuisine because I like seafood.
Александра оставила свои ключи на кухне. Alexandra left her keys in the kitchen.
Иван и его отец собираются открыть ресторан, который будет специализироваться по русской и украинской кухне. Ivan and his dad are planning to open a restaurant that specializes in Russian and Ukranian cuisine.
К ужину вся семья собралась на кухне, чтобы отведать её новое блюдо, которое она готовила больше двух часов. Around dinner time the whole family got together in the kitchen to try the new dish that she had been working on for more than two hours.

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