Sunday, September 5, 2010

Success in Bread (and other areas)

As I write this, I am relaxing in my (couch)bed, eating syrniki, drinking tea, and generally basking in the relief that has washed over me. You see, my dear readers, my training ended on Friday night. Here I am at the local (relative to the central school-- it's about 45 minutes commute from my house) waterhole where we met up for our last evening together, looking especially pleased/smug/? (which is exactly how I should feel after getting a 95% on my grammar test. boo-ya):

With memories of last weekend still fresh in my mind, I made the decision to go home before the metro/buses stopped running. I decided to stop by Katie's apartment (who had arrived just a few days before!!!! finally!) on my way home to see what she was doing. It was only 11:30, but she was already asleep (out of boredom, she claims). I felt bad for waking her up, but said she was really happy to see me. You are too nice, Katie. Anyway, we stayed up chatting a few hours then went to sleep. The next day we made our way over to my apartment and hung out with my roommate's (he returned early Monday morning!) boyfriend, went into Moscow and ate an early dinner (salad and pizza at an Italian restaurant), then stopped by the Aushan, which I don't quite know how to describe. Imagine Wal-Mart, but much larger, and with some other stores inside of it. Like a consumer's matryoska. Most of you know that I never shop at Wal-Mart... partially for moral reasons (but let's be honest, what the fuck does that even mean?), and partially because it frightens me a little: . That said, I will return to the Aushan on a week day (when it will be a little less insane, and not about to close) to more thoroughly browse its offerings. It could take days. Plus, they have a nice honey selection. I decided on this jar, mostly because of the cute little bears on the label:

Awwww! Oh, and SPEAKING OF HONEY... There is an annual honey festival (ярмарка меда) happening in Moscow from September-October 3rd!!!!! Katie and I will probably make the trip soon. Next weekend, perhaps. My mom was recently in Switzerland, which is the original "land of milk and honey," but I think they might be rivaled by Russia in the honey area. Milk, on the other hand, is a whole other story in this country.

My first night here, in the heat and smoke, I was craving a glass of milk. Normal. So I walk across the street to the supermarket, locate the dairy products, and select one of the many containers labeled milk, feeling pretty confident in myself and my Russian. I purchase it, go home, pour a glass, and...... what is this? It's thick, and slightly sour. I look back to the container: yes, as I previously had seen, it is milk. Confused and jet-lagged, I drank my "milk" and went to bed. The next morning, I went back to the store, to further inspect the dairy case. This time I buy one in a plastic bottle, where I can see the contents and be sure of the contents. Still craving a glass of milk, I am anxious to get home and try some... and to compare the two bottles. This is what I was looking at:

Unless I should be worried about the left bottle being cat's milk, I am totally baffled as to what the difference could possibly be. One friend suggested that if the bottle on the right was in the yogurt section, it could be different than the milk in the proper milk section. Oh, Russia... So I eventually get to the ingredients in my bottle inspection, and see that the right-most bottle is "изготовлено из нормализованного коровьего молоко," which I knew roughly translated to prepared from normalized (homogenized?) cow's milk. Prepared from? I don't pour water into a glass and say I prepared a glass of water. Compare that to the ingredients of the actual milk (or maybe cat's milk): цельное молоко, обезжиренное молоко (whole milk, skim milk). That's more like it. It appears the former was buttermilk, maybe. So... mystery solved. Kind of. In any case, I am more careful when purchasing milk now.

In my title story, and last piece of food news, I have perfected the art of my yeast rolls:

They are amazing. Light and fluffy and delicious. Who's laughing now, mom, who's laughing now? HA HA!*

In other news: I start working on Tuesday. My first group of students consists of four 9-year-olds. Very cute. When I told my dad, he said something like this (via skype-chat):

How cute
They will fall in love with you!
Any maybe you will get to know their rich parents
They will invite you to their villa on the Black Sea
And offer you a high paying job with their company
.... which is probably connected with the mafia
you can ride in their private jet all over the world

I would be happy if someone invited me to go mushroom gathering at their dacha over the weekend. A girl can dream, can't she?

*My mom told me that when she saw the picture of my sad little roll-pancakes she laughed out loud! Unbelievable!


  1. Hi Rhea! Sounds like you're having a nice time!

    So, if this bottle of thick, sour stuff was in the yogurt section maybe it was yogurt? When I was in Sweden the yogurt was somewhat runny and came in containers just like that and you had to pour it into your bowl.

    P.S. I made your brownies again and I'm still amazed at how crazy delicious they are!

  2. The yogurt is definitely labeled as yogurt. And they have all kinds... well, drinkable and normal, anyway. It's just Russia. That's how they do.

    I miss those brownies! And your amazing double chocolate cookies! Maybe I'll have to attempt making them here, being that I make everything else. The only problem with Europe is that there is no brown sugar! WTF people?!

  3. I love your bread!! So delicious...eating some now smeared with honey :)