Russian Hospitality: Yaroslavl Style!

September 7, 2011

Galya's Kitchen

Galya's Kitchen

Hi, readers! I hope you’re doing as well as I am. I have safely arrived in Yaroslavl and have been living here for the past few days. It’s taken me a while to find internet in Yaroslavl, but that’s a story for my next post! For now, I want to tell you about a very important aspect of Russian culture: hospitality.

I am now living in an apartment with Galya (Галя), a very kind and talkative woman in her early 60’s. I admit, I was terrified for our first introduction. It was going to be me and a real-live Russian woman who didn’t speak English. What did Middlebury think was supposed to happen here, again? What? I’m supposed to use Russian now? Silly professors! Lessons are for classrooms!

Anya, our residential coordinator, took me off the bus and brought me over to the apartment gate where Galya was rushing out to meet us. Anya introduced us and left. Before I could protest, Galya had already grabbed one of my bags and was leading me into the apartment, saying «Сарачека—какая у тебя красивое имя! Но какая худая ты… Надо поправыться!»[1]

We entered her apartment and I was astounded with the contrast from the outside. Before,



I had been surrounded by a dreary, grey Russian night. All of the sudden, I was blasted with the color and light from her entry way. I quickly slipped off my shoes (very important Russian etiquette there. Not joking) and took off my jacket (also important!). Galya showed me my room, which was much bigger than I had anticipated.

As soon as I set my bags down, Galya ushered me into the kitchen saying «Садись! Садись! Кушай, дорогая!»[2] When I first laid eyes on the table, it was love at first sight. You think I’m romantacizing this? Look at the photos and try to argue with me. Galya stuffed me to the brim with all sorts of delicious Russian treats—she had made колбасы[3], three different kinds of пероги[4], potatoes, and so much more. It was a beautiful sight to see, and it tasted even better than it looked.

Where the magic happens

Where the magic happens

The entire time she was feeding me, Galya occupied herself with asking me questions about who I was, where I was from, all of my likes and my dislikes, did I like Russia so far, and no! no! don’t answer now! Кушай, кушай дорогая, а после можешь ответить! Every now and again she would pull a spoon from a pot on the stove and stick it in my mouth asking, «Ты любишь?»[5] After an unrecognizable but apparently satisfactory sound from my (still closed!) full mouth, she would start spooning some of the food from the new pot onto my only quarter-emptied plate.

We had a lovely time talking and eating. I gave her my gift from home: a book with photos from all over California and a handtowel with golden poppies and quail, which I sincerely hope she enjoyed. I went to bed well-fed and exhausted. Mission давайте познакомимся[6] accomplished! I can’t wait to tell you all more about this amazing city.

[1] Saracheka, what a lovely name you have! But you’re so skinny… we’ll have to fatten you up!

[2] Sit! Sit! Eat, dear!

[3] Kelbasi: a yummy Russian/Eastern European sausage.

[4] Perogi: the Russian ravioli! …sort of. These had a breadier exterior than I was accustomed to from my Nana’s cooking (her mother was Ukrainian!), and they were filled with potato, onion and egg, and mushrooms respectively.

[5] Do you like this?

[6] Let’s get to know each other!


4 Responses to “Russian Hospitality: Yaroslavl Style!”

  1. Аня said

    Сара, what you call “perogi” is called вареники in Russia and Ukraine:) Perogi is a polish way of naming вареники.
    Sasha loved your post and promised to follow it!:)
    Kisses from our family!

  2. Debbie said

    I so loved seeing your blog. Thanks for the pictures. She sounds really nice.

  3. Kimberly said

    She sounds fantastic! And I can’t wait to read more about your exploring! I love that you put pictures up too 😀

  4. salomonbabayaro said

    i read this last night, but onion and egg, and mushroom perogi still sound delicious. i’m so hungry right now.

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