Eurasian MiniLesson: The Hardest Languages in Russia Aren’t Russian

According to the All-Russian 2010 census, Russia is inhabited by speakers of more than 150 different languages. Most of these various languages can be divided into four language families: Altai, Indo-European, North Caucasian, and Uralic. The languages of some native populations of Russia amaze international experts with their complexity. Some dialects have similar features, while […]

Guide to Food in Adjara

Georgians take pride in their world-renowned culinary achievements. The wide range of dishes offered in Georgian cooking – which include rich, flavorful meat and vegetable based dishes, as well as pastries, dumplings, soups, and unique salads and side dishes means that nearly everyone can find something to love in this cuisine. Food within Georgia itself […]

Khatchapuri: The Big Georgian Cheese!

Khatchapuri (Хачапури) is one of the most beloved of the Georgian foods adopted into the Russian tradition. That is a major achievement, as Georgian cuisine is itself one of the most beloved of all those among the former Soviet peoples. It is enjoyed in Russia, throughout the former Soviet space, and around the world. The […]

All About Shashlyk (BBQ from the Caucasus)

Shashlyk (шашлык) is considered to be one of the very first dishes humans invented and most likely hails from the place the first modern human likely appeared – the area covering Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and the Caucasus. How “Shashlyk” Got Its Name (Почему он так называется?) The word “шашлык” was adopted into Russian in the […]

The SRAS Guide to Fermented Milk

Russia and Eurasia offer what can seem to be a bewildering selection of dairy products in their transnational food cultures. An area of special note, and often one of the strangest to Westerners, is the seemingly never-ending assortment of fermented milk drinks in the Russian gastronomic repertoire. To cut down on the brow-furrowing and sometimes […]

Adzhika: The Hot Relish of the Caucasus

Adzhika (Аджика) is a spicy sauce. It is sometimes a thick red or green paste and sometimes more of a salsa or ketchup-like substance. Generally, thicker versions will be hotter and often considered more authentic. Adzhika is an aromatic and spicy sauce native to the Caucasus that is popular throughout Russia and the former USSR. […]

Mchadi: The Other Georgia’s Corn Bread

Dr. Michael Denner: It would be difficult to imagine Georgia without maize, what Americans call corn, though of course corn came from South America, and could only have been introduced to Georgia after Columbus brought it back from the New World… so in the sixteenth century at the earliest. Mchadi and Corn In Georgia My […]

Nadugi: Never Too Much (Georgian) Cheese

Dr. Michael Denner: You can tell a lot about a cuisine and culture by the way they eat their milk… That’s the point I tried to make in our latest Georgian Cooking Club meeting, waving about a gallon of milk, sheathed in its translucent plastic carapace. My students were confused at first… Georgian Milk Milk. […]

Tkemali: Georgian Sour Plum Sauce

Dr. Michael Denner (notes from the American Test Kitchen): Georgians jokingly refer to tkemali (more accurately written t’q’emali) as “Georgian ketchup.” It gets poured on practically everything. I don’t know of another sauce like it: sour, fruity, salty, with a serious herbal punch and a bit of lingering heat. Maybe it looks like Mexican salsa […]

Satsivi: Georgian Poultry in Nut Sauce

Dr. Michael Denner: For a lot of Georgians, satsivi is… the essence of Georgian home cooking. It is intensely nostalgic, served as the main dish for celebrating the new year, at home, with friends and family gathered around the banquet table, the supra. SRAS: Dr. Michael Denner is a professor at Stetson’s Program in Russian, East […]

The Monastery of Saint Nino at Bodbe in Georgia

During my first week in Georgia, my classmates and I took a trip out to Sighnaghi, which is roughly a two-hour drive from Tbilisi, the Georgian capital. In Sighnaghi, we visited the Monastery of Saint Nino at Bodbe, which was built in the 9th century and renovated extensively in the 17th century. Saint Nino, who […]

A Chechen Journalist on the Chechen Diaspora in Kyrgyzstan and Being Chechen Today

In Bishkek this past week, Chechen journalist Kamila Zhabrailova talked to SRAS students about the history and culture of Chechnya, the Chechen diaspora in Kyrgyzstan, and her attitude towards the Boston marathon bombings. The Tsarnaev brothers are of Chechen descent and had spent some of their childhood in Kyrgyzstan, meaning that this was an especially […]

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