Russian cuisine is warm and colorful, cherishes old traditions. Due to the large number of meatless dishes it is considered one of the healthiest cuisine in the world. Another feature of Russian cuisine is it's diversity. You will not find so many mouth-watering appetizers, entrees and baking in any other cuisine.
Old Russian table was very simple though. Following the adoption of Orthodoxy, more than half of days in the year was banned meat, dairy products. Only some days of the week the fish was allowed. These rules were observed strictly, so the basis of the diet of our Russian great-grandparents were dishes of fish, mushrooms, cereals, flour, vegetables and berries.
In the era of Peter I traditional Russian cuisine was experiencing a great influence of the German, Dutch and French. Recipes and ways of cooking at that time were borrowed from that countries. Also appliances for modern cooking were replaced: stove with oven, pans, casserole, colanders, skimmers, meat grinders, and others.
On Christmas Eve Russians prepared sochivo - soaked wheat with honey. A main course of the Christmas table was meat: roast suckling pig, goose or duck with apples, homemade sausage, ham and sausage. Cakes with various fillings, sweet sbiten, liqueurs were wide presented for desert.
During Lent one of the main dishes on the table were mushrooms. Shrovetide table was prepared with eggs, dairy products and cheese, as in the old days was called curd. And, of course, pancakes that were symbolizing the sun.
The season in September is called "third-hunt" when different kind of wild mushrooms are boiled, fried, dried and salted for the long winter time. Roasted and salted mushrooms with onion and garlic are good in salads and as a fillings for pirogie. Mushrooms are added in soups, main dishes, served as a side dish to meat and fish dishes.
The most important holiday of the Russian calendar is Easter. The stricted days of the Lent, when it was impossible to have meat, butter, eggs are ended. Russian people decorate Easter eggs and cakes.
In the recent years history of Russian cuisine has had Western European and Eastern growing influence. Zakouski that was native Russian and appeared in Russa in the XVIII century is now international. Zakouski can be found on the menu of many foreign restaurants. This is not surprising because Russian snack table is considered to be the most diverse in the world. Only cabbage dishes account for dozens, not to mention other vegetables. Appetizers includes marinated and pickled mushrooms, cold meat and fish under a variety of sauces.