When I think of a Russian lady, first thing that comes to my mind is a good looking lady in high heels and with perfect hair. Probably from all the influence from Russian top models in the news. Nobody warned me that they are also really good at cooking. In Russia there is still this notion of a perfect homemaker. You, as a woman, are expected to always look amazing and at the same time be a perfect wife at home. And that is where my troubles start.
In Croatia I was a working mom and my cooking was limited to anything that could be done in fifteen minutes. And even when I tried doing something more complex, like a banana bread, it ended in a disaster. Here I really decided I will try to change that. Especially since all my Russian lady friends were experts at everything. And I did try. I even put different names on some things I prepared so that it looks as If I have done it on purpose. Like my famous Flat Banana bread. You can imagine that the trouble was that it never raised in the oven but stayed in some mushy flat shape.
One day my Russian friend, an amazing cook and a lady always looking her best, invited me and my kids to come and build a gingerbread house. It was before Christmas and since in Ikea they sell the houses it sounded to be a fun playdate for the kids, assembling houses and decorating them. She did not really know how bad I am, so she asked me to look up the recipe for cream, in order to be able to assemble the house. I thought I was reading the recipe right. But somehow the cream did not perform what I expected - stick the pieces of the house together. But I was not going to give up. I did my house. Luckily, my kids were already used to my fails and although the house broke and fell apart they were looking forward to eating it. It helped when I explained that actually this house has gone through an earthquake but is still edible.
That night I took my kids home, but my Russian friend did not accept the failure, she stayed up really late. But, she managed to have all three houses, for each kid, done and ready to be decorated. Even my Earthquake house was up and ready.
After this adventure, I think she understood how much I struggle. In a few days she sent me lamb chops prepared in some amazing sauce. She said that at least sometimes my husband should get a proper dinner. I still continue to try, and I did have some success lately. I thinks also if I hang around women who can prepare great meals it will pass on to me. And I will wake one day ready to make my own cook book, or so I wish.
And not only can they cook, they always look amazing, no matter what the weather is outside. A lot of women constantly wear high heels. Last week in Moscow was minus twenty seven. And you could still see women walking in heels with no sign on their face showing that it is, at least, a little bit uncomfortable. I think everybody could see that I am not from around here. I walked dressed warmer than a polar bear. My Russian friends vowed that in two years time I will be wearing high heels. Somehow, I think, I might cause some Russian ladies to go into comfortable mode. Look out, this time next year all Moscow will be in warm boots.