Thanksgiving, simply put, is a single day of gratitude for one’s blessings. Although you should be thankful for your blessings everyday, this is the one day we all get to celebrate together as a nation. In this article, we will explore Russian dishes for Thanksgiving 2021. But first, where did the idea of the Thanksgiving holiday actually come from?
History of Thanksgiving
This holiday can mostly be attributed to Sarah Hale, an American writer and Activist who lobbied Abraham Lincoln. In 1789, George Washington actually declared a day of public thanksgiving and prayer on the last Thursday of November. However, many politicians thought it violated the separation of church and state. But Hale didn’t give up on her vision of making Thanksgiving a national holiday. In her letter to Abraham Lincoln in 1863, she urged him to make the day of our annual Thanksgiving made into a national and fixed union festival. Further, she argued that each State Governor should be obligated to appoint the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day. Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring a day of Thanksgiving and praise that same year.
American Thanksgiving, Russian Style
For Rusisans, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to reflect on their journey from the Soviet Union. Not all Russians celebrate Thanksgiving, as it is mostly an American thing. But there are quite a few Russians who find Thanksgiving interesting enough to be curious about and experience. If you are thinking of adding in some Russian dishes to your traditional Thanksgiving meal, here are a few ideas:
The first salad you can incorporate into your Thanksgiving meal is the Olivier Salad. Essentially, this is Russian potato salad. The typical ingredients include peas, carrots, potatoes, meat, onions, pickles and eggs. Everything is mixed with mayo and you can use ham, chicken or bologna for the meat.
The second salad you may eat with your Thanksgiving dinner is the Russian Beet Salad. Also known as Vinegret, this classic dish is made with beets, carrots, sauerkraut, potatoes and pickles. In the days of the Soviet Union, Russians had to make dishes from whatever was seasonally or locally available. By default, beets, carrots and potatoes were the usual foods. Beets and carrots give a sweet flavor, potatoes give a hearty punch and the sauerkraut and pickles give a tangy taste. It’s the perfect combination!
The most common herring dish in Russia is known as the “Herring Under a Fur Coat.” Essentially, it is a layered salad of pickled herring fillets, onions, potatoes, beets and dressing. “Shuba” in Russian means fur coat and refers to the coats the Russians wear during a harsh winter. Traditionally, this classic Russian dish is eaten during New Year’s, but you can certainly incorporate it into your Thanksgiving meal!
One of the most famous dishes in Russian and Ukrainian cuisine is Borscht Soup. This sour soup has beetroots as the main ingredient, but it also has potatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage and tomatoes. Topping this dish off with sour cream will really add a Russian flare!
As a general custom in Russia, toasts are made regularly throughout a holiday dinner. What is the beverage of choice? Vodka, of course!
All in all, there are quite a few Russian dishes for Thanksgiving 2021 that you can use. If you are trying to impress your Russian lady, just send her a picture of what you are eating on Thanksgiving. She will really appreciate you tying in her Russian dishes into your traditional Thanksgiving.