Author: Josh Wilson

Latvian Rye Bread Desserts: Rupjmaizes Kārtojums and Rupjmaizes Zupa

Rye has been grown in Latvia for more than 1200 years and rye bread (rudzu maize or rupjmaize) has been a staple of Latvian cuisine for nearly as long. The reason why is simple: rye grows well in moist soil and can be planted in spring and fall and is thus exceptionally well adapted to […]

Fitness and Health in the Russian Language

In recent years, gym and fitness options have proliferated across Eurasia. Travelers interested in maintaining their fitness regimen while abroad – whether they are visiting Latvia, Georgia, or even Kyrgyzstan, should have no problem doing so. It does help to know a bit about these gyms and it pays to know some of the Russian […]

Halloween as a Case Study for Cultural Understanding

Halloween is seen around the world as an American holiday. While it has gained more global popularity in recent years, it is still really only celebrated in the US, the UK, and Canada. In most other countries, including most Slavic countries, it is regarded at most as a reason to host costume parties or perhaps […]

Lagman: The Noodles of the Silk Road

Lagman is a dish that is very common in Central Asia, China, and many Middle Eastern countries. It can also be found in Russia and the Caucasus and is a popular dish among the Crimean Tatars. The basic recipe, which combines noodles with meat, has hundreds of variations. In Uzbekistan, the dish tends be a […]

Navruz, Nooruz, Nowruz: The Ancient Spring New Year of Central Asia

Navruz is a spring solstice celebration that marks the beginning of the New Year according to the traditional Persian calendar. It has been a beloved holiday for some 3,000 years, surviving cultural change caused by centuries of tumultuous history. It is now celebrated on the set date of March 21st. The holiday has long been […]

The Talking Kyrgyz Phrasebook

Below, you will find several useful phrases and words. To the left is the English and to the above right is an English transliteration of the Kyrgyz translation. Below the English transliteration is a Russian transliteration. In the center of each row is a play button that will play a recorded file of the English […]

Preparing for the Cold: Winter Wear as a Cultural Phenomenon in Russia

Russia has famously cold winters. Russians, and the many other cultures that live across the Eurasian landmass (such as the Evenk and Sakha), have culturally adapted to this in order to survive there. This has affected traditional clothing and housing, but also cultural attitudes toward the weather. These attitudes are, in turn, often reflected in […]

Mushrooms in Cultures and Cuisines: Olga’s Blog

Olga below continues her discussion of the deeply held place that mushrooms have in Russian culture. In part one of this discussion, she focused on how and where and find the mushrooms. In part two, below, she discusses how the mushrooms are preserved, prepared, and consumed. A staple of the regional diet for centuries, mushrooms […]

Mushroom Season Has Begun! Olga’s Blog

Olga below discusses the deeply held national tradition of mushroom gathering. An important part of Russian food tradition for many centuries, Russian children are taught in school from an early age to tell the difference between various types of native mushrooms. Many, like Olga, will go with relatives and friends to the woods to put […]

Study Abroad in America for Russians: Olga’s Blog

As part of her major program in international relations at Moscow State University, Olga applied to study abroad in the United States in 2007. As was not uncommon for students applying for study abroad in either direction, Olga hit several bureaucratic snags. What is perhaps most remarkable about the below text, however, is the description […]

Draniki, Latkes, Kartupeļu Pankūkas: The Simple Deliciousness of Potato Pancakes

Potato pancakes dominate coffee shop menus in Riga, Latvia—and for good reason! Meticulously prepared using grated potatoes, eggs, and flour, these pancakes are crisped to a brilliant golden hue, reaching a level of perfection that rivals the shining sun itself. The mouthwatering allure of this delightful dish is recognized worldwide. Following their inception in Eastern […]

What is the First Day of University Like in Russia? Olga’s Blog

Below, Olga discusses what a first year freshman experiences on day one of their college education. The day offers no classes. It is instead filled with speeches, handshakes, and status symbols. All of this is highly indicative of the role of formality and ceremony in Russian education and Russian society. This resource is part of […]

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