8 Russian Dairy Products You’re Going to Want to Make Friends With

Come to land where milk products are more plentiful than the snow and just as beautiful! Ryazkenka, or fermented baked milk, is not only very good for you but is also the cheapest thing on the McDonald's menu here. It is made by baking a jug of milk for 8 hours until it becomes thick, … Continue reading 8 Russian Dairy Products You’re Going to Want to Make Friends With


Good Eats in Saint Petersburg

I’ve noticed a lot of American chain restaurants around Saint Petersburg, Russia, especially in the center of the city.  I haven’t stepped foot in any of them, though.  Why would I, when the traditional food here is nothing short of delicious?  Everything I’ve eaten has been so tasty that I’m not sure if my host … Continue reading Good Eats in Saint Petersburg

A Vegetarian in Kazakhstan

When you are a vegetarian in Kazakhstan, people immediately take notice. In America, my diet is slightly atypical, but here—I am an anomaly. Nearly everyone who hears that I do not eat meat wants to know more about me and why I made this decision. This did not come as a surprise to me. Kazakh … Continue reading A Vegetarian in Kazakhstan

When East Meets West: Culinary Style

Sambusa, or whatever variation of the name a particular country has, is a national dish found in most places throughout South and Central Asia. Americans are probably most familiar with the Indian version, called samosa, which usually consists of peas and other vegetables stuffed into a shell, which is then deep fried and served with … Continue reading When East Meets West: Culinary Style

Salo and Grechka and Borsch, Oh My!

Exploring Kyiv and taking in the culture has been as much a linguistic adventure as a gastronomic one. One of the cornerstones of cultural immersion is to fully experience the local cuisine, and through my homestay family, I believe I have become acquainted with the classics of Ukrainian cooking. Every day at the kitchen table, … Continue reading Salo and Grechka and Borsch, Oh My!

On Birthdays and Celebrations in Kazakhstan

I must admit that I was a little bit apprehensive about living with a Kazakh host family for the summer as a 30-year-old PhD candidate. It is difficult enough to play the appropriate roles when I visit my own parents! But so far, I have had nothing short of an amazing experience. A week into … Continue reading On Birthdays and Celebrations in Kazakhstan

Nevsky Prospect

It can be rather overwhelming at times to simply choose a sightseeing destination to visit in St. Petersburg. The city is teeming with attractions, from the palaces, cathedrals, and other historic buildings to the modern art exhibitions and pristine suburbs. It should come as no surprise that the Hermitage Museum, Kazan Cathedral, and the Peter … Continue reading Nevsky Prospect

Veganism in Tajikistan

"Food can't be good without eggs, milk, cheese, and/or meat." Such was my host mother Shaxnoza's exasperated declaration, when I informed her of my "peculiar" eating habits. As a veteran of two previous homestays, I was not surprised by this reaction. My list of "prohibited" foods, however, had grown to include dairy products since the … Continue reading Veganism in Tajikistan