Monday listicle

I was so excited Bill send me a Listicle this week. Him and his wife Irina are like a better looking, funny and younger version of Husband and I. Their blog Smells like Borscht is hilarious. Even better if you follow them both on Twitter. Trust me, it is like reality TV, but funny. Would you like to get to know them? Follow @smellsofborscht and ask him if you can follow his wife too. Yep, Russian style. And please do yourself a favor and have their blog delivered to your email. Click HERE to do so.

I would love to post your list of top 10 something, so feel free to SEND me one. Without further ado, Bill’s




Every culture has its cuisine.  The Italians have mastered comfort food.  The Mexicans have mastered the late-night munchies.  And the French have mastered fancy ways to put butter into everything.


But the Russians?


They’ve mastered a few culinary realms, not the least mentionable among them is the realm of the barbecue (and don’t forget the dessert tray).  But there are some that, while wildly popular in post USSR countries, wouldn’t exactly catch on in the US.


What follows is a list of extreme foods I’ve discovered and painstakingly attempted to digest in order to report accurately on their edibility.  The list starts with the least offensive, and ends with WTF.

1. Kvas – This is a very famous and popular soda in Russian culture.  It is essentially non-alcoholic bread-beer.  Sort of like the Vikings have Mead, the Russians have Kvas.  It’s about as delicious as it sounds: like drinking soggy bread.  Mmmm.

2. Black Caviar – OK, I understand that many, many people eat this.  But you have to think for a second about what exactly this is.  People went around tasting the different eggs of different fish until they found the most delicious fish eggs possible, that of the Caspian Something-or-other fish.  Its undeveloped babies are definitely the tastiest.

3. Pickled herring “Seledka” – I understand that raw fish is cute in small portions when you dress it up with rice and wasabi.  But Seledka is basically raw herring with vinegar poured on top with a garnish of raw onions.  And that’s all that’s on your plate.  A big slice of cold gross fish and onions.

4. Cow Tongue – In Russian cuisine, cow tongue is EVERYWHERE.  It’s considered a fancy shmancy delicacy, but really – come on, it’s a big slimy tongue.  It’s like they have a kind of fetish for sitting around getting their bovine-licking on, but can’t because they think people might judge them.  So instead, they eat the tongue.  As for taste – if you had NO idea what it was that you were eating, it’s actually not bad.  But it’s the thought that you’re French kissing Betsy that makes this dish the most disgusting.

5. Pickled grapes/watermelon/tomatoes – Russians will pickle anything.  If the Herring wasn’t weird enough, they’ll pickle any kind of fruit or vegetable.  Pickled tomatoes might actually be good, you say?  Perhaps.  But I assure you, pickled watermelon is not.

6. Salo – you know how you go to the store and buy one of those huge pork tenderloins, they always come with three inches of fat that you have to carve off in order for the pork to be truly edible?  The Russians (actually it’s more of a Ukranian thing) take that fat and cure it with salt, pepper, and garlic (it’s common to use paprika too) and Yummmy! Them’s good eats!  It’s about as delicious as it sounds.

7. Snotty mushrooms – These are essentially marinated and then pickled mushrooms, which sounds like it could be delicious.  However, the marinade that’s used is about the same consistency as those boogers you can’t flick off your finger.  It blows my mind that anyone eats these.  Probably the same kids that ate their boogers in kindergarten.

8. Organs – Liver, hearts, kidneys, intestines, brain.  Fried, pickled, baked, grilled, sautéed.   Really?  Is that something we’re doing? We’re only at #8?  How gross is this list going to get?

9. Testicles – I don’t think I need to explain why this is gross.  Testicles in your mouth = Not sexy

10. Fish heads.  No – I’m not kidding.  They cut off the head of a cod and fry it.  Eyeballs and everything.  My wife tries to convince me that it’s the cheeks that have the most delicious meat.  I’ll take my chances by not eating something’s face. WTF.


So there you go.  10 of the most outrageous and extreme foods brought to you from Russia with Love.  And boogers.  Recipes available upon request.

This guest post was linked to Lovelinks #12.

This entry was posted in Monday Listicles and tagged , , .


  1. [email protected] June 26, 2011 at 23:45 #

    Yikes! Glad to be vegetarian…although snotty mushrooms makes me want to invent a whole nuther foodie category in order to avoid them in life. I am so not a when-in-rome-do-as-the-romans-do type of girl!

  2. Jessica June 27, 2011 at 00:53 #

    Twitter: Mytimeasmom
    I should not have read this before bed because now I’m going to be completely sick. These things are nasty.

  3. [email protected] Wants This June 27, 2011 at 02:03 #

    Twitter: MamaWantsThis
    Some of these things? Are not alien to the Chinese food culture.


    Organs, tongue, ALL PARTS OF THE FISH. Yes, we Chinese practice the art of snout to tail eating.

    Thank goodness my tastes are more refined.

  4. Stephanie Smirnov June 27, 2011 at 04:38 #

    Twitter: ssmirnov
    Oh man, that Listicle was spying on my fridge! Isn’t it great how predictable Russian spouses and their culinary habits are?

  5. Irina June 27, 2011 at 07:42 #

    These things sound much worse than they taste. Some of them are actually quite delicious. I am not a huge fan of testicles and am indifferent about “salo”, but the rest of this stuff is definitely worth trying. Oh course, my opinions are biased, but then so are his, right? Also, he loved cow tongue, when he tried it until he knew what it was..

  6. Vicki June 27, 2011 at 07:55 #

    You shut up about the snotty mushrooms. They really are delicious. As for all the other stuff, there’s a reason we only go to the Russian store like once a month.

  7. Marinka June 27, 2011 at 09:01 #

    Twitter: MarinkaNYC
    Love the mushrooms and the kvas (how come k vam is spelled as two words and kvas as one? Some Russian language humor! haha!) seledka and caviar. Hate the rest.

  8. Irina June 27, 2011 at 10:42 #

    Com’on, no seledka lovers? What about zeblogbloc button?

  9. Suniverse June 27, 2011 at 11:50 #

    Twitter: TheSuniverse
    My family is from the old country – which was actually repartitioned into different countries and so is now a newish country.

    And the things they eat sometimes? The pickled everything, the lamb’s heads, the testicles, the sour breadcrumb thing? Gross.

    Except for the thing that’s like bacon but is basically fried bits of meat with lots of fat. That’s delicious.

  10. Exurban Cowgirl June 27, 2011 at 14:25 #

    Twitter: ExurbanCowgirl
    one used to see a lot of pickled watermelon in virginia…not so much lately.

  11. jacqui June 29, 2011 at 07:33 #

    Twitter: chicktuition
    My sister will be visiting Russia soon…so I will definitely have to show her this list. As for me…I will try to forget that anyone eats any of this stuff.

  12. Janice June 29, 2011 at 11:52 #

    Twitter: mommyslounge
    Thanks for the list. I’ll never wonder about Russian food ever again. LOL.

  13. Cheryl June 29, 2011 at 13:13 #

    Admit to loving pickled herrings! Will go and check out your Russian friends. I had russian neighbours once and Mrs R didn’t speak a word and one day knocked on my door with a spider in a jar – by the time we went through her dictionary working out if she’d been bitten, if she had she’s have been dead! She gave me a dried whole fish by way of thank you.

  14. mom2kiddos June 29, 2011 at 18:32 #

    Twitter: kiddothings
    Very insightful and amusing info on Russian cuisine. The Chinese are not far off from eating the most disgusting things on earth.

  15. Roksi June 30, 2011 at 04:08 #

    Twitter: ohmybubbles
    Lol, I love most of these things…

    I gotta point out, she’s right, the fish cheeks are the most delicious. They eat them in Mediterranean countries too – It sounds disturbing, but they’re fat and juicy. Like cannibalizing a baby. But with fish cheeks instead. (Sounds better when put into perspective).

    And you haven’t experienced Sala till you’ve had it fried. Fat fried in fat? Ingenious!

    My favorite Russian food is Tvorag – Sweet cheese (which I think might be curds? Might be an english translation problem lol) – when it’s filled with raisins and covered in Chocolate. My partner was not convinced of the goodness of this sweet cheese thing, but will now steal it from me.

    We’re not on the same page about the deliciousness of liver though. (They did go a bit far with the pickling. You shouldn’t be able to pickle fruits)

  16. Polish Mama on the Prairie June 30, 2011 at 07:27 #

    Twitter: PolPrairieMama
    Oh yummmmmm! I cannot stress enough. Not even joking. I looooove these foods. But then, I grew up with them, being Polish and all.

    But then, don’t get me started on the foods my American husband thinks are delicious. Mayonnaise sandwiches? Really? Bologna? (gag) Cheap cheap ham and American cheese on slimy 99 cents a loaf white bread with mayo and no veggies? Ok, I have to go vomit now. lol

    Thankfully, I am the one in the house who can cook. My husband? Yeah, he watched some seriously overwieght cajun on tv telling him to puree a ham and stuff a chicken with it. And once, he made me potato soup. I’ll share that story another time. Sufficed to say, it was a fail and my best friend was our neighbor and she can tell you how nasty those two dishes came out.

    Anyway, green eggs and ham, Sam-I-am! lol

    Viva, ze bloc blogs