Friday, December 12, 2014

World Cuisine in Artyom

Kristen says...

Last Saturday I was honored to be invited once again to Lingva Plus in Artyom, this time for a Celebration of World Cooking/Farewell Kristen party. It was lots of fun!

The event started with a Russian tradition of hospitality by offering the guests bread and salt, which I have been told represent the hope of wealth and health for the guest.

Next the attendees (maybe 60 children from age 5-18 and a few adults) broke into four groups, each of which would make a traditional food from a different country.

The countries (as represented by their flag made of food) were:
China (and the Chinese chef who demonstrated)
Canada/Italy (Italian food as demonstrated by a Canadian-Italian chef)
Russia (the flag is made of traditional ingredients for filled blini (pancakes which are a lot like French crepes)
USA (why yes, that is peanut butter and jelly!)
Yes, I was asked to demonstrate/guide students in making some traditional US foods, and I chose peanut butter and jelly...! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

In reality, it made a lot of sense--there was no stove or microwave, so most baking/heated foods were out, and in the end, it worked out really well. Peanut butter is by no means popular here, so most of the students were able to try something new, and really, besides those with peanut allergies, who didn't grow up eating peanut butter?!

(and yes, if you are wondering, I did think for a bit before deciding to do this in case anyone had a peanut allergy--in the end, I realized I've yet to hear of a Russian with a peanut allergy, and I had my epi-pen there, just in case.)

I had 40+ minutes for my demonstration, so I also made a bunch of Christmas cookies and demonstrated how to make frosting, because decorating sugar cookies is a very "American" thing to do (especially at this time of the year) and most Russian students I know haven't done this.

Unfortunately, we ran out of frosting very quickly (I told the organizers I needed butter and powdered sugar, and they provided me with both...but just about 1/2 c. butter and MAYBE 1/4 powdered sugar. Maybe. Oops.) So, we made do by raiding the peanut butter table and used jam as frosting...
Eh, whatever :)
And then, just for fun, and because I'm a teacher, I showed a quick PowerPoint about the history of American food. Why not? :)

After the food was made, some of the students played Russian music on traditional instruments and the "food flags" were presented, and as well as a few very thoughtful presents for me:

Each group made me a t-shirt with symbols and other representative elements of the style of food they made. It was so sweet, and the shirts are really neat!

After that, there was nothing to do but eat the food and head home. It was a really, really fun day, and a very nice way to spend one of my last weekends in Russia!

If you want to see more pictures from the event you can visit the Consulate Facebook page!



  1. Replies
    1. It was fun! The students were really intersted and asked great questions afterwards. I love doing food-related things, it's so fun to introduce people to new foods :)

  2. How nice! You are a gem Kristen!!

    1. Well how nice of you to say so! :) I am lucky to be in the position to be able to make presentations like these. It's one of my favorite parts of State Dept life.


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