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  • Writer's pictureJohan Visschedijk

Rollin and rollin

Our next stop will be at the dacha from Tanya, a good friend from my wife Lina. She also lives in Moscow and most of her time she takes care of her grandchildren from her daughter Julia. In Russia it is very normal that grandparents take almost fully care of their grandchildren when the parents are at work. We planned to see her grandchildren at the dacha, but at the time we arrived she told us that Julia and her husband decided to take a break and went for holiday to Turkey.

As a result of this we spent a few days with only Tanya. She is really a dacha loving person who works from early in the morning until late in the evening. Only when her grandchildren come in she takes a big break spending a lot of time with them.

So most of the time she is working in the garden growing vegetables. Tomatoes and pickles are by far the number one favorite in Russia, more then 99 percent of the Russians like them very much. They use them to make salad, eat them while drinking Vodka (Zakuska) or just at any time of the day. Everything that they will not consume straight away they put in glass jars, all according to a certain recipe. These recipes are, at first sight, all more or less the same, but when you pay a close look they seemed to be very different. In our book From dacha with love you will find several recipes.

The summer isn't that long in northern Russia so they also need to built their greenhouses to grow some of their veggies, especially Tomatoes and Pickles grow in here. All these greenhouses are very tidy and organised, which we can’t say about the traffic in Russia. In Moscow every day traffic que is about 1709 km long ;-).

Around Moscow you see all kind of dacha's, which makes it very interesting. So far, for me, every visit is like a huge surprise. The dacha of Tanya is not very romantic but more practically. It used to be a normal house but the way they live in it it becomes a dacha. Their regular house is an appartement in Moscow on the 11th floor and their dacha is near Putyatino, about 400 kilometers from Moscow city. It takes you around 5 to 6 hours to get there by car and these distances are normal there. At the time we arrived it began already getting dark.

The first day we slept a bit longer then usual but not to long because we needed to go to the local market at Putyatino to buy meat for evening dinner. Of course Saschlik, the most populair dish at the Datcha. Most people in Russia are real meat lovers. For Saschlik they cut the meat in square pieces and put them away to marinated for a few hours or even for a day. For these marinates there are many different recipes. After it has been marinated the meat will be put on iron pins called Schampoor and then they hang them above the grill, the Mangal. You can read all about in in our book. It is so funny but just a few hours from metropole Moscow and you can buy chickens who are still alive, while the meat from cows and pigs is just lying on an outside table without cooling at all. They sell al the products which they brought by small trucs or just by car. You see a lot of meat and so yes, we can say that Veggie is still not a word you will hear much in Russia.

We bought all we needed for our evening barbecue and went back to the Dacha where Tanya waited us for a cup of tea, Chai as the Russians call it. They love drinking Chai while eating some sweet cake or in combination with Blinchiki, the famous Russian style pancakes. Next time a bit more about that.

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