Thursday, July 30, 2009

Russians are Delicious!

Amy has a question and needles to say, she looks to me for wisdom and inspiration. As usual. Because apparently it's not enough that I dispense life-enhancing advice on The Mouthy Housewives, now people expect me to turn over my personal space into solving their problems.


My daughter is moving to New Orleans where her boyfriend and his parents live. (And yes, there's a shitload of angsty posts in there for me. Fun.) Here's where you come in - they are RUSSIAN. He lived in effing Siberia until he was in 1st grade then they came here. His mom is a ballerina - effing kid-you-not. His grandparents are still in Siberia and they own a vodka -- um - farm? distillery? factory? (I love vodka.)- and also a potato farm. It's like I'm being dragged into the fringes of a fucking Tolstoy novel.

What advice do you have for me?

My advice, like my coffee, is bold:

Do everything in your power to forbid this horror. Best of luck! love, Marinka
Ok, so I have never dated a Russian man, although many have tried.
Another lie. I blind dated a Russian guy for approximately twenty minutes before I remembered that I was married. To a possessive murderer. Recently released from prison, but still filled with rage. And also that I was a lesbian.

Here's what I know about Russian men, in gross stereotype form: They are nostalgic, a disproportionate number of them dabble in poetry and Yakov Smirnoff is one of them. There are many women who are married to Russian men and they claim to be happy.

Those are the women whose husbands live in a different time zone from their families. Oh, yes, Russian in-laws are lovely (just ask Husbandrinka! Right after he stops weeping and muttering "why didn't I read Russians: Avoid at All Costs before marrying into this nightmare?") but once you're in their grip, you have to say good bye to fresh fruit and vegetables and prepare yourself for Russian cuisine.

Disclaimer: if you are prone to fainting spells or have a strong gag reflex, hit the back button now.

I am scared of the food. Scared scared. It's the fear of the endless beet salads, the pickled foods. Because if you are in a Russian household, you and pickled food will be on a first name basis.

I present, the herring:

image from

Why you averting eyes? That hurts feelings. The herring is friend. Possibly your only friend, because you will smell like herring. No more milk breath and margaritas, Amy. Herring breath and vodka.

And sweet (or pickled) lord, do not tell a Russian that you don't like herring. Because they will convince you that you do and that the reason that you think that you do not like herring is because some Enemy of the People has fed you inferior herring and poisoned your mind against a perfectly beautiful meal. You will eat herring.

Then we have beets:

image from And your worst nightmare.

I think the stuff in the middle is carrots and the white dollops are sour cream. But I wish the color was less unhealthy looking.

and last but not least, there is the Salat Shuba (jovially translated on the website as "Fish in Fur Coat Salad" because I don't know about you, but I personally can't think of a more appetizing image!)

The salad consists of herring and beets and you'll be having that with your morning coffee in no time!

Oh, don't worry, there's vodka. But you know what you have vodka with, right? What? No, not nuts and little munchies. Lard. Yes, LARD.

Mouth-watering, isn't it?

All this and more, Amy, will be yours if your daughter plays her cards right. Congratulations.

And for a slightly different take, visit
Vicki who is married to a real Russian guy. And apparently she likes it. Go read her response to Amy's question. She wrote it over a morning bowl of Lard Krispies.


Anonymous LadyFi said...

Vodka and herring? Sounds like Sweden!

July 30, 2009 at 2:30 AM  
Blogger Julia@SometimesLucid said...

I just LOL'd. Last night some friends came over and I gave then "tylka" - I was CONVINCED they would LOVE it. Wanna guess th outcome?

July 30, 2009 at 3:09 AM  
Anonymous schmamy said...

Nice - the dutch do herring the exact same freaking way, and have the same reaction if you claim to not like it. Plus they eat lard too, and drop which sounds pleasant enough until you realise that it's actually salty licorice. And they feed it to their children!

July 30, 2009 at 4:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a bit off point- but it reminds me of one Seder dinner i hosted with a few friends, family AND your work-GAY John. Our family doesn't labour too much over the ritual telling of the plight and suffering bit--and likes to get on to the meal proper. Jew-lite for sure.

AT one point, being the proud Jews we are- one by one we all start offering up, (very discreetly mind you), our portion of gefilte fish to our sweet sweet goy-Gay friend John. being the wonderful and ever so polite gentile that he is, he couldn't refuse. Needless to say, he ended up with about 4 or 5 portions of this culinary nightmare on his plate. i'm usually good for one bite and then it's over for me.

John declaring his "love" for this delicacy left us w/ no Jew guilt whatsoever. We were all thinking- hey look- the goy-GAY likes it...who knew.
John also likes borscht soup...disgusting.

back on subject- not that i know too much about Russian men- however, I have slept with a few- can't remember too much on the can do this, leaving you w/ murky memories. I will say they generally have lovely skin.

I also think Amy's daughter might want to dabble into the creeks and bogs of the Bayou. i officially rank the French as the best in bed and the Jewish male as the best husband/partner. but hey- i am a bit biased.

There are both a decent Jewish and French-Cajun population in New Orleans...although the cajun variety of Frenchman isn't exactly the French kinda guy i had in mind, but living in the Bayou one can't be too selective. The daughter's future husband could be right there under her nose. And she wouldn't have to eat any of that Eastern European "cuisine". Then again- Russians do have the nice skin going for them...not to mention the taste for vodka.

the Lady Ashfield

July 30, 2009 at 5:43 AM  
Blogger lizspin said...

Okay. . . now I'm REALLY locking my daughters up!

July 30, 2009 at 6:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

beets. oh the beets. when i was a kid my mom would serve them and act like i had never gagged over them before. "no, you might like them this time."

beets just might be proof that god does not exist.

July 30, 2009 at 7:08 AM  
Blogger OHmommy said...

I start each morning off with some herring in wine sauce. It's what gets me through the day.

July 30, 2009 at 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Vicki said...

Mmmm. Selyodochka (that would be the herring.) I'm so disappointed I'm fasting today so I can't enjoy this delightful summertime treat.

July 30, 2009 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger MommyTime said...

I am so happy to be reading this post this morning, not for the tutorial on abominable foods but for the very convenient provider of Russian Beauties who is currently advertising at the bottom of your blog. Do you think one of them would agree to become my mother-in-law and start bringing me chicken?

July 30, 2009 at 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Maureen at IslandRoar said...

Ah, now it's suddenly clear why Russians have the rep for imbibing all that vodka.
So would I, with a menu like that. And I should know; I'm Irish and our food sucks too. Thus our "certain" reputation as well.

July 30, 2009 at 9:37 AM  
Blogger Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Having lived in Russia for a while and having been "fixed up" with a parade of dates (I was a teacher who was GASP 26, and my Russian colleagues were horrified I hadn't found a good man yet), I sure wish I'd had your situation of being a married lesbian who was married to an axe murderer. My Russian female friends, however, I adore. And I do like pickled foods, which must be why I love Russian cuisine.

July 30, 2009 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger That one girl said...

Not going to lie, LOVE the fact that they own a Vodka something or rather. Do they have a cool tasting room and do they wear the fur caps to taste the Vodka. If so, I'm in. I'll play mom for you!

Until you mentioned the pickled stuff... now that will take some bribing.

July 30, 2009 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Keyona said...

That shit was scary. I say run away and drag your daughter with you.

July 30, 2009 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger bethsix said...

I learned to drink coffee when I was in Russia for three weeks when I was 17. I had been warned not to drink THE WATER. Because, you know, the Russians and their water.

And by coffee, I mean vodka.

We have a Russian cookbook, and it is the scariest fucking thing I've ever seen. Probably 600 pages of images just like the ones in this post.

July 30, 2009 at 10:20 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Well, this was, helpful?

Having read both this post and Vicki's I notice contradictions however. You mention that Russian men are nostalgic and poetic and I like that. Vicki says they are all programmers (Our Nicolevski is an engineering major.) and there is none of this liberal arts froufy stuff. HUM.

Also interesting is that you both talk of the food, but your food commentary is VILE (Fish in Fur Coat Salad!) and hers is more about roasted chickens. I've asked Our Nicolevski about the food his mother cooks. He says it is Russian food, but I realize now he wouldn't really tell me what she cooks, only that "it's nothing you would find here." HUM. I suspect herring. Daughter will not like pickled things or a lack of fruits and veggies. On the hopeful side she's in New Orleans and that is one of the best places to eat on earth. So maybe as a family they've branched out? I know Our Nicolevski has never refused anything I've ever offered him to eat.

So far, he's a darling. I'd hate to have to kill him (don't hurt my baby, Nicolevski). And I'll just handle the catering at the wedding and let them bring the vodka.

July 30, 2009 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Oh and I'm totally making up the name Nicolevski. He told me his actual full name - three words - and I can only pronounce it immediately after he says it and then it's gone forever.

July 30, 2009 at 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Halala Mama said...

My in laws are west African. Last time we visited, I peered into the pot on the stove and saw some horrible, thick black sludge that was dinner. It looked like something the sewer vomited up into the street and had been run over by a thousand taxi cabs. My brother in law looked at me and I asked what it was, "I don't know the actual name, but I call it black sauce," he pointed to another pot, "she made you spaghetti." Thank God.

July 30, 2009 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger Anatoli.G said...

First to Keyona.
Your husband probably smoke grass, use needle and beat you up for fun.
Second. Herring and pickle's with vodka and not the cake.
And last. Russians work like donkey
so the women don't have to.
Being married 30 years, my wife was working only 3 years. With Economist degree in a pocket.

July 30, 2009 at 11:55 AM  
Anonymous peajaye said...

when i visited moscow in 1982, a friend turned to me during a meal and said, "no wonder they revolted."

July 30, 2009 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger Charmaine said...

Is it possible that we are related? My family (the side we don't talk about) is Norwegian.

They eat that sh*t too. Roughly, around puberty, I had to work out my feeling about the Herring smell with dolls, in therapy.

Charmaine Doll: Die, die stinky Herring.

Herring Doll: Hey man, what did I do? Get off me you crazy...bleep.

July 30, 2009 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger Suzy said...

I'm 2 dimes and a nickel Russian as my Grandfather was from Ukraine. My father's from Swedish origins and turned us on to herring in cream sauce, in those little jars. My sister and I still love them. Beets are one of the healthiest things you can eat but who needs that pressure?

Thank God my mom is French.

July 30, 2009 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

I love the herring and the beets, but there is some jello-type thing made from bones that my in-laws eat that are scary to me.

July 30, 2009 at 5:21 PM  
Blogger Vodka Mom said...

now I totally get where my fat a** came from. it's the lard.

July 30, 2009 at 5:55 PM  
Anonymous Audrey at Barking Mad said...

This makes me seriously giddy that I "lost" my male Russian penpal back in the late 80's. Otherwise, I could be sitting in a small Russian town right now, preparing Borscht or worse yet, some form or other of pickled herring. I gag a little just thinking about it.

Instead, I married my life-long British penpal and my nights are filled with Bangers and Mash and biscuits and tea.

July 30, 2009 at 6:22 PM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

The next time you're going to post food pics that look like they've been turned inside out, please warn me. I was eating over here.

July 30, 2009 at 6:36 PM  
Blogger Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

I think I just threw up in my mouth. Just a little. But the vodka washed the taste away...

July 30, 2009 at 8:46 PM  
Blogger ShallowGal said...

If they need any Russian penis enlargers, I know a guy.

xoxo, SG

July 30, 2009 at 9:10 PM  
Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

i like a girl who isn't afraid to use the word "effing."

And new orleans is so effin awesome.

July 30, 2009 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger Carolyn...Online said...

I need to know more about chasing the Vodka with lard. And also, that mushed up beet salad thing looks EXACLTY what my dog threw up on my bed last week.

July 31, 2009 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger Schmutzie said...

You are being featured on Five Star Friday!

July 31, 2009 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger Maura said...

The beets I can stand. The herring I can't. My dad used to eat those suckers and it made me want to die. I guess there will be no Russian men in my future. I'll just stick with the vodka.

July 31, 2009 at 3:02 PM  
Blogger Anna See said...

Eeek. I remember visiting my friend in Romania in 1991. Her hostess had served her a bowl of lard the day before. I was happy, more or less, to stick to pickled things after that near miss.

July 31, 2009 at 10:48 PM  
Blogger Elisa said...

oooh, that looks lovely. excuse me while I run to the toilet quickly.

Please, don't make me find a bowl of Lard Krispies when I get back.

Holy Shit. Is this what the Russian Mafia uses to threaten people? This... ehm... Food?

August 6, 2009 at 5:56 AM  

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