Bilingual Babies - Borscht and labeling your fridge!

My father-in-law taught me how to cook Borscht.  Borscht is the traditional Russian Beet Soup, well his version of it!  It is well known that if you put a bunch of Russians in one room and asked them to make a certain dish, each dish would be completely different, but completely right. There are many, many versions of Borscht.    The one I make is very similar to this recipe, but we use beef.  There are vegetarian recipes too! Here is a link to a bunch of different recipes if you are in the mood to do some adventurous healthy cooking! My goal for the year was to cook at least one Russian dish every week for the year!  So far, so good! My last Bilingual Babies post talked about Blini!
I really enjoy the flavor combinations of Borscht and can't help but thinking this is one of my favorite dishes to make for my hubbie on a cool winter day! Cooking a traditional meal is a great way to encourage talk about Russian traditions, family, and the language.  When the meat begins to cook in the pot of water, I saute the onions and carrots and prepare the other vegetables.  While I am cooking, we sing about adding vegetables in the soup using the Russian words for the vegetables.  Unfortunately, Borscht is more of a grown up recipe as it cooks on the stove top for a long time AND the beets stain everything!  I do let the kids add the vegetables into the pot, but do most of the cutting and cooking myself. For some reason, just the smell of Borscht makes me want to visit Russia.  I find on Russian baking day we all miss our Russian family dearly and end up Skyping or calling them just to hear their voices!
Haven't cooked with beets yet?  You don't know what you have missed!  These are some of the most nutritious and delicious vegetables around!  Adding them to the soup not only gives it the flavor, but also the bright red color! (and your hands)  Don't worry - it washes =) Someday, I would love to die some white clothes with beets!
In addition to talking to the kids about the vegetables while I cook, I am also to label things!  I am not super organized, but I like to have environmental print around the house, especially in the languages we are teaching our children.  Something as simple as labeling the items in our fridge may remind me to ask them if they want this or that in Russian (our second language) and may prompt my kids to read that word while it is in my hands (developing literacy in that language).  I'd like to make a poster of all the food groups in Russian to post on my cupboards. (someday...) For now, I'll just stick to simple labels!
As Kim has been blogging about eating healthy with balanced meals I am trying to be more aware of making sure to eat the right amount of all the food groups.  I can't help but think that sometimes by exploring food from other cultures our children will be exposed to a greater variety of fruits and vegetables.  Just this one soup has carrots, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, and beets with a very limited amount of fats and a serving of protein.  No matter what language you are speaking at home with your families, you can always try different recipes from around the world.  Who knows, maybe you will find out your children LOVE beets!!!

For more information and ideas on things to make and do related to Russian Culture, please stop by our Pinterest Board! If you need an invite to join Pinterest, send us an e-mail at theeducatorsspinonit (at)


Robyn said...

Wow! I'm saying wow to lots of elements of what you've posted... not least of all how nice, orderly and clean your refridgerator looks. I'm impressed.

Amanda said...

Thanks Robyn! I did have to laugh at your comment because taking a picture of my fridge gave me a good excuse to clean it out =) =) =) If you ever run into children's books about cooking Russian food - please let me know!!! I'd love to find a good Borsht book =)

Kate said...

Thanks so much for this post! I found you through the Carnival. And then read every one of your posts on Bilingual Babes! I'm so inspired!!! I plan on collecting ideas such as these to use with my 2-year-old. We speak German at home, although I'm a non-native speaker. So I'm always looking for ways to improve my own vocabulary, too! I'll be checking back in the future... :)

Sarah @ Baby Bilingual said...

I love the idea of labeling items in the fridge! I've long recommended doing that sort of thing with furniture, toys, and so forth, but never food--brilliance! I'm going to start this now that Griffin (age 4) is eager to learn to read. (And maybe my hubby will understand French better, since he's more of a visual learner.) Besides, the more interesting and relevant we make the information, the more people are motivated to learn it. In this case, the way to a man's (and little boy's) brain is through his stomach!

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