Linguistic Football & Jugglery
I never really questioned the origin of the Russian word for T-shirt footballka, coming from the word football, obviously. Read more
Russian Response to Origami: Paper Punching
The Japanese have their origami, and we Americans have our chewed paper wads, so why should Russia fall behind in the worldwide paper craft fad. Read more
Whats in a (Russian) Name?
If you have ever thumbed through a book by a Russian author, you must have, at some point, felt yourself in the grip of confusion. Its so hard to keep track of which characters are which, because a single person, at different times, may be referred to as 1) Ivan Petrovitch, 2) Vanya, 3) Vanyusha, 4) Ivanushka, and 5)Vantuz. Ill try to explain why at least some of this happens. Read more
Tolstoy's show explodes Moscow
I have just been to a presentation of a new CD by the famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy in a Moscow club. I've heard his War and Peace and Anna Karenina before, and decided to check out his concert. Read more
Russian Geography: Tips and Tricks
As I found out while reading feedback, many of my readers donít exactly know where this mysterious Russia is. Some think that itís located in the far north between Finland and Scandinavia, some think it to be on the far east between Mongolia and Alaska. The time has come to dot the iís. Read more
Snow-melting and Jug-cooling Days
Most foreigners who come to Russia stay in luxurious hotels that cater to their every wish and thus never get to learn this side of everyday life here the exciting world of water service interruption! Read more
Toilet-gardening and Bathtub-plantation
Although it has gotten to be much easier to obtain fruit and vegetables in the winter, fresh produce costs a lot and the vast majority cannot afford it. Therefore, most Russian families prepare for winter by freezing sacks of potatoes so that they keep longer. A family with large supplies of potatoes wonít lose more than one or two people a year to scurvy. Read more
Beware of Bathrooms
Russians strongly believe in superstitions and ill omens; for that reason, foreigners must be aware of certain behavior which they may consider normal but to a Russian is grave offense and/or peril. Read more
Shopping a la Russia
The first time I got to Moscow I wanted to buy food. I was going to go to the supermarket to buy something to eat and pick up a few other things. I went out of my home and looked for the supermarket. But there were none at all! Read more
The First Color TV Appears in Russia
Today pioneering color TV sets are available for sale in Moscow! Russians are in amazement! It is an innovation in this country! People are going mad, they are buying up all of them! I never knew that Russians had no color TVs. They used to always watch black-and-white TV. Read more
Dusya and the Mafia
The following tale comes from my friend Yevdokiya Vyacheslavovna Vakhromeyevskaya, or Dusya, her Russian family nickname. Dusya works at night as a prostitute in a very prestigious bordello and in the daytime writes dreamy letters to be placed in mail order bride ads. One morning I was awakened by the sound of shooting outside my window that was louder than usual. Read more
Why There are so Many Bears on Russian Streets
When you first arrive in Russia, you will be very surprised to see an enormous number of bears, walking around and seeking food. Only the elderly remember the times when bears in this country were looked upon as something really strange and scary. Read more
What Russians Suck
Ice-cream here is more than just ice-cream; it is a part of Russian national pride. Not as boring as the famous blinis (pancakes) with caviar, ice-cream is incredibly popular and is truly one of the most loved national specialties.
Russians will tell you that their ice-cream is better then any ice-cream in the world, that they have eaten it since the 10th century, and will proudly tell you: we eat it in the winter.
Indeed, foreigners are amazed by lines of people, waiting to buy ice-cream, while outside temperature is below 20° C (4° F), which is a very common sight in Russia. Although people will tell you that eating ice-cream in the winter is their tradition, it has, however, a simple economic explanation: in the summer ice-cream production stops and it becomes a delicacy, expensive and prestigious. What can be better than to suck a Russian ice-cream on a hot burning Moscow summer day (10° C)?
Nevertheless, most of the people wait to have an ice-cream in the winter, which, however, may come quite early in mid-August or early September.
In winter ice-cream supplies are mostly home-produced, when people start to grow ice-cream themselves. Keep in mind that Russian ice-cream is very different from the western style and is closest to sorbet, or water ice. Russians call their ice-cream sosulka, which literally means sucker; and in English, a sosulka is an icicle. Icicles that grow on the roofs of houses are collected every three hours and sold by 'babushkas' near the metro stations.
Of course, in shops, one can find the standard commercially produced cones, shaped and polished, but I prefer to buy a couple of the fresh, home-made small cones, grown just an hour ago. Each of these ice-creams is unique in its shape and taste.
Home production is not that easy, because icicles grow at different speeds. You need to break them off the roof early, otherwise it will be too thick to fit in the mouth, and you will have to start over. You can frequently see Russians taking icicles from the roofs with a long stick and a bag on the top. They use the same tool to gather apples in the summer.
There are a variety of the ice-creams here for all tastes. When eating an icicle, a Russian may cover it with all kinds of dressings, dip it into honey, or eat it with salt and spices. However, many people still prefer old style plain ice-cream, which, they tell you, was sucked by their great-great-great-grandfathers.
Links on the topic
The biggest ice-cream in Internet probably (picture)
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