Author: Sophia Rehm

Bird’s Milk Cake: An Airy Russian Cake as Unusual as Its Name

Like the soft, meringue-filled candy on which it was based, торт «Птичье молоко» (Bird’s Milk Cake) consists mostly of filling. Thick but exceptionally airy layers of soufflé are separated by thin, fluffy slabs of cake, and the whole confection is covered in chocolate glaze. The cake’s fantastical name, connoting rare and wonderful luxury, is fitting. […]

Korean Sparzha: The Soy Dish That Took the USSR by Storm

Спаржа по-корейски (Korean Sparzha; also called соевая спаржа; Soy Sparzha) has a misleading name. First, this unusual and beloved salad has nothing to do with спаржа, which means “asparagus” in Russian. Also perhaps misleading is the fact that, while invented by Koreans, it was not invented in Korea. Like морковь по-корейски (Korean carrot salad), спаржа […]

Russian MiniLesson: 7 Secrets of the Russian Alphabet

The history of the Russian language and its alphabet is long and fascinating. Here are a few anecdotes from that history. The following is taken from a list that has been published in many places on the Russian Internet. One version can be seen on Russian7.ru. It has been translated to English and revised by […]

Korean Carrot Salad: A Simple Salad, Full of Flavor and History

Морковь по-корейски (also called корейская морковь/морковка) was a Soviet-era invention of the Корё-сарам (Koryo-Saram), ethnic Koreans living in the territory of the former Soviet Union. The salad was inspired by traditional Korean cuisine, and was shaped by the shortages and circumstances of life in the Soviet Union. It originated in Central Asia but became immensely […]

Halva: Ancient and Nutritious

Халва, the rich, crumbly dessert well-loved across many cultures, is so densely filling it almost manages to feel like a meal – and not an entirely unhealthy one at that. There are more than one hundred types of халва, which is generally ground and sweetened nuts and/or seeds. Its role as a staple dessert extends […]

Jewish Bishkek: A Brief History and Guide

My experience with the Jewish community in Bishkek began on a weekday evening in September. I did not really expect to find a synagogue on Suyumbayev Street. I had been following the gradually narrowing road for blocks, eventually across the wide Jibek-Jolu Avenue. On the other side of this thoroughfare, Suyumbayev was sidewalk-less, and full […]