What does the “Average Ivan” eat?

02 May, 2015

I don’t know how well informed you are on the matter, but I am here to tell you that I know for a fact that Russians don’t eat borsch and Salad Olivier (aka Russian salad) everyday. However, they do consume these dishes – and many others – more often than in other countries.

So what does the “average Ivan” eat in Russia? Well, many start their day with some green tea with sugar or black tea with sugar or jam – yes, jam – or coffee. As for what they prefer in the morning, many Russians have бутерброд (this word comes from the German word “Butterbrot“, butter bread or bread with butter), only in Russia they can also top the slice of bread (usually dark bread) with cheese or колбаса (kolbasa), a type of sausage sold everywhere in Russia; the second option would be каша (kasha) – I guess you could call it “porridge” – and this can be made out of buckwheat, oats, wheat, rye, millet, and other cereals mixed with water or milk. But no porridge would be complete without a nob of butter and, perhaps, a spoonful of any kind of berry jam. There is actually a Russian saying: “Кашу маслом не испортишь” (Can’t spoil kasha with butter); the third option would be tvorog with sugar or jam. Tvorog is a dairy product very widely used in Russia to make desserts. It is the equivalent to cottage cheese, but in my opinion, a lot tastier. Yummy.

Lunch time. I noticed a lot of people who work have lunch at nearby restaurants, so many restaurants have a special lunch menu (би́знес-ланч) and discounts between 12h00 and 16h00. Typically, the older generations start off their meal with a soup (meat or vegetable based), followed by a hot main course; the younger generation, however, might just have a one-course meal, like a salad, a meat or fish dish, sushi, pasta dish, something like that.

Dinner. It is not easy tell, it all depends. Generally, some might have soup, and then a hot main course; others may just have a hot meal with meat or fish.

But one thing that Russians seem to love are desserts. And those can be had both at lunch and/or dinner. The options are plenty, so I am going to leave this topic for another day. If you love sweets, keep looking out for new posts! 😉

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