Traditional foods vary according to region. The food is rich and stodgy peasant-fare from the village with a dash of French inspired creamy sauces. Russian food is known for its diversity and heavy dishes. It is mainly a northern country with long-lasting cold winters. The essential components of its food are the ones, which provide more carbohydrates and fat rather than proteins. Common components of a Russian meal are potatoes, bread, eggs, meat (especially beef) and butter. Other popular foods include cabbage, milk, sour cream, curds, mushrooms, lard, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, berries, honey, sugar, salt, garlic, and onions.
Usually, meat dishes are eaten with noodles, vegetables and even cereal. Bread and other wheat products are also an essential part in the food culture, especially brown bread. Breads and pastries have always been important in Russian cooking and women are known for their skills in baking pastries including cheesecakes, spice cakes and "kulebyakas", patties. Vegetable and meat salads are also very popular. Salads are usually heavier than in Western countries, and consisting of potato, carrots, beetroot, mayonnaise etc.
Russians usually have an early breakfast before leaving to work. It is very common for families to have kasha (a type of porridge made from different grains boiled or fried eggs, or cereal for breakfast. Coffee or tea is an essential drink for breakfast. Many families enjoy toast with cheese and drink juice for breakfast.
Traditionally, lunch is the main meal of the day in Russia. A classic Russian lunch includes hot soup as the first course and meat with potatoes, porridge or pasta as the second course . This is then followed by the third course which is usually a drink tea, coffee or juice with an optional cake.
Dinner is another important meal in Russia. A typical dinner consists of one or two appetizers and a hot main dish, which might be potatoes, meat, or fish. After dinner it is common to drink tea with sugar or jam.
As regards drinks, Vodka is one of the most popular drinks, mainly because it is cheap. It is usually drunk very cold, and generally with food or some snacks. Tea is a very popular drink and it is drunk traditionally from the Russian Samovar, which is a heated metal container used for boiling water.
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