Traditional Russian peasant table was simple and healthful.

Russian culinary historians come to a sad conclusion: many peasant recipesgotlost, despite getting widespread. The problem is that the authors of ancient books, which talked about Russian cooking, felt no need to write about the recipes of peasants. It was believed that peasant dishes were simple, and anyone could make them.

A set of Dishes on a Russian Peasant Table

Peasant table was not too diverse. Bread, cereals, soups and kvass, plus maximum –some vegetable and fruit preserves – that’s all that Russian peasant housewives could put on the table. All products on a peasant table were either from their own farms, or the gifts of nature: mushrooms, berries, nuts, honey, fish, game.

Baked Goods

Without bread it is impossible to imagine any Russian meal. This includes everyday meals (rye bread), ritual meals (church communion bread), and holiday meals (Easter cakes). During holidays people also ate a lot of baked goods: pancakes, cakes, pies, muffins, gingerbreads.

Porridge – Main Food

Several centuries ago, Russian peasants were making 20 kinds of porridge. Porridge is one of the most common dishes of a Russian table.

Many ancient peasant porridges still today remain staples on a Russian table – buckwheat, wheat, oats, millet. But groats porridge or toloknyanii porridge you will not find in modern cookbooks. To think that they were mentioned by the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin!

Russian Cabbage Soup – Shchi

Russian Cabbage Soup - Shchi

Peasant soup was almost always called shchi, regardless of its composition. Every housewife had her own shchi recipe depending on the season and availability of products.

Kvass and Other Beverages

Kvass in Russia was considered not just a drink, but a healing potion. Everyone knew how to make it. It saved peasants from many illnesses, refreshed them in the heat, and helped to recover after hard work. Besides kvass, farmers also made fruit drinks, infusions, and in winter – sbiten – hot drinks made of honey and herbs.


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