A year in Russia
I love my family. I love the beautiful Wiltshire countryside I see around me as I drive to work or to university in Bath. I love my cat. But most of all, it seems, I love food.
Since arriving in Russia, I have missed my family and my cat. I’ve had a few pangs to visit Cherhill White Horse and Lacock after a friend posted photos of them on Facebook. Yet none of these blue moments made me feel truly homesick.
Food, on the other hand…
Right now, I could devour a korma. A Thai red curry would be gone in an instant. I was going to continue listing foods that I am currently yearning for but I’m only causing myself pain and anguish. Blimey, I’m hungry.
Most of the other students here live with host family’s so have their food provided for them- mainly traditional Russian cooking; I pay less per month and live with a Russian student so don’t have the same arrangement. Technically I could prepare myself a feast if I choose. The issue I’m having is that I only cook for myself. Making a korma (or even finding the appropriate ingredients for a korma) is quite an effort for one belly, and the thought of making too much then having to eat the same meal for a week is even more off-putting.
Cooking for one here is really difficult: you can’t buy small cartons of milk so I keep having a litre of gone off milk left; eggs only come in boxes of 12; even the sole type of sausage that seems to be available (frankfurter) come in big packs. Unless I have eggs and frankfurters every day, I end up having to throw some out. Yesterday I had to throw away two thirds of a loaf of bread because it had gone mouldy (in my second week I was having peach jam on toast everyday and now the thought of peach jam makes me queasy).
As though that wastefulness wasn’t distressing enough for one day, in an attempt to clear the last of my eggs and frankfurters I made the most bizarre omelette ever. Two hours later and I was contemplating changing my name to Jenny Vomalot.
Last night, my self-pity was at an all time high and I just wanted to go home. I’m pining for my Dad’s cooking. I’ve asked around and there doesn’t seem to be an Indian restaurant here in Voronezh so my spice needs won’t be satisfied any time soon (someone immediately asked me if I’m vegetarian purely on the basis that I wanted Indian food so it can’t be too common here). The only Italian-style places I’ve found have been pizza based when I really want lasagne/tagliatelle. This week I’m going to take myself on a food hunt, find a nice restaurant that serves food that isn’t borsch or burgers and keep my fingers crossed that then my belly will pipe down.
In the meantime, I feel it’s time to admit- I am homesick. I want to be home, driving around in my little motor, eating a range of foodstuffs and petting my cat. Oh, and understanding what people are saying to me. With bed sheets that fit the mattress. And a shower curtain (sitting in the bath with a shower head is fine and all, but bizarrely is one of the things making me miss home).
N.b. In response to suggestions: I would ask my flatmate if she fancied cooking together, but she’s not really home much. In fact she’s in Germany this week.
I would cook a big batch then freeze some, but all the pots and pans are max 2 portion size. Regards making a korma, please if you see any form of curry paste/spice in Voronezh let me know 🙂
As I don’t want to leave you thinking I don’t like Russian food, here are some pictures of what I’ve been stuffing my face with:
Хуторок (pronounced hooterok) is amazing. Very cheap and you pick and choose what you want as you go around their counters. Thoroughly recommended.
BARak O’mama’s is an American-themed bar/restaurant here in Voronezh and is a very popular place for people to spend their evenings/start their nights out. It does a range of ‘American’ food and their cheeseburgers really are good- more so when combined with this mayonnaise that has a hint of blue cheese.
Yes, I did eat the chilli because I’m badass.
This is what happens when you order a sandwich in Russia. Definitely not what was expected.
N.b. I haven’t only been eating soup, it just seems that I’ve only taken photos of my soups. I’m also a massive fan of blini, plov and strudel (not Russian but served most places).
Soups here are cheap and come with a lot of bits in. Delicious.
Interesting titbit: Cigarettes are sold in most restaurants with the various options listed at the back of the menu.