January 01, 2007

Please to the Internet!

I recently went on a shopping spree. Not for clothes or furniture, but for food. Russian food. Living far from a major, metropolitan area, I do not have access to some of my favorite Russian treats, like tvorog (farmer’s cheese), sour black bread, smoked sturgeon, and pryaniki (gingerbread). So, with credit card in hand, I set off into the virtual world of my computer. 

The first store I visited was RussianTable.com, where I happily discovered nostalgia-filled candies like Mishka kosolapyi and Belochka. Russian Table helpfully lists the ingredients in each item on sale, along with nutritional information. The site was easy to navigate, and there’s even a place for buyer feedback. “Anton” made me look again at the otherwise unappetizing-sounding “big sprats in oil”: “Ya ochen liublyu shproty,” he wrote. 

Although it carries delicacies like seaweed salad, RussianTable did not prove a good source for bread. For that I turned to Russianfoods.com, where I could choose from among Borodinsky, Orlovsky, Kiev, Russian Rye, Ukrainian, Homemade Rye Bread, Kishinevsky, and Brooklyn Kosher. This site offered other perishable specialties as well, such as syomga, cold-smoked “captain fish” (a.k.a. sea bass), tvorog, and prostokvasha. An appealing touch was a link called “Classics,” where you can read excerpts from Oblomov, Fathers and Sons, A Hero of Our Time, Anna Karenina, The Brothers Karamazov, Dead Souls, and Arkady Averchenko’s “A Poem About a Hungry Man.” Russian Foods also sells pelmeni and paskha molds for making some of the most classic Russian foods. 

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Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

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