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Thread: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

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    What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Greetings!

    For those of you who have been following along with some of my posts, you already know that I am writing a book and can skip the intro. For those of you who have not… Well, guess what? At the request of my young daughter, I am writing a fictional book. The main male character, Dmitri, is of Russian decent and that is why I am here on Master Russian. I want to make certain I get my Dmitri and other Russian details correct.

    Today’s question has to deal with food. I am in the chapter about “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Dmitri has had to go away for a while due to business and while he is away Valentina (remember she is American) has decided to work on improving her Russian and also tries to learn to cook some Russian food. She is actually an excellent cook and has cooked for him before, but never Russian food. The season is summer during this chapter, so it is hot in case that makes a difference.

    Now, I still have not decided if Dmitri was born in Russia and left there over five years ago or if he was born in the US of Russian parents... but in either case, he has not seen his family in over five years.

    So, my question (finally) is…

    Ladies… if you were going to cook a meal for when your young man returns to show him you missed him, what would you cook for him?

    Men… if a young lady was going to cook a meal for you and you have not had “home” cooking in over five years... what would you like it to be?

    I know there are certain foods that every mom makes (or dad if your mom is not a good cook) that you just remember and crave. This is what I am thinking about here. For me, it is actually flank steak and a cake called Ice Box Cake that my dad used to make (my mom was not the cook in our family).

    Please remember, while Dmitri and Valentina might be great with Russian, poor me – is still struggling with English. So, please respond in English. You can give the name of the dish in both Russian and English though as that would be cool and if you have a link to a picture or recipe, even better!

    Much thanks!
    Rockzmom.
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    Ladies… if you were going to cook a meal for when your young man returns to show him you missed him, what would you cook for him?
    I don't think I would ever cook a meal "to show my young man I missed him". Well, maybe I'm not enough romantic.

    Men… if a young lady was going to cook a meal for you and you have not had “home” cooking in over five years... what would you like it to be?
    A borsch and some meat with potatoes, I think. Actually, the important thing is not what you cook, but how.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    I don't think I would ever cook a meal "to show my young man I missed him". Well, maybe I'm not enough romantic.
    My husband told me years after we were married that he knew I was the "one" after I had cooked for him because no other girl had done that!
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    Men… if a young lady was going to cook a meal for you and you have not had “home” cooking in over five years... what would you like it to be?
    As for me, pea soup is what I could give my soul for. Five years, you say?.. I would give two souls maybe...
    «И всё, что сейчас происходит внутре — тоже является частью вселенной».

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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rtyom
    As for me, pea soup is what I could give my soul for. Five years, you say?.. I would give two souls maybe...
    Awesome Rtyom! Thanks! I have no idea how old you are so please don’t take offense at this comment, but I think pea soup is my dad’s favorite too. French Onion might be a close second though.

    Keep these coming people!
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    I don't think I would ever cook a meal "to show my young man I missed him". Well, maybe I'm not enough romantic.
    My husband told me years after we were married that he knew I was the "one" after I had cooked for him because no other girl had done that!
    I haven't said I would not cook for him. I said I would not cook for him "to show him I missed him". I would cook for him just so that he would not be hungry and like the meal.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    Men… if a young lady was going to cook a meal for you and you have not had “home” cooking in over five years... what would you like it to be?
    Hmm... maybe some nice hot borshch. While it has not been invented by Russians, it's been a part of Russian cuisine for such a long time now that many Russians consider it a national Russian dish (although our Ukranian brethren strongly disagree ).

    But I think that I would be really touched if a lady made some home-style pelmeni for me (pelmeni are similar to ravioli, except that pelmeni are much better ). In Russia, many people draw a distinct line between store-bought industrially made pelmeni (often thought of as a typical bachelor's food) and home-made pelmeni, which are a real treat. The meat filling for real pelmeni must be prepared at home. The best kind of filling, in my opinion, is made from a mixture of beef and pork with a little bit of mutton. And you should be careful about what kind of meat mincer you use. Some electric mincers with fast-revolving blades ruin the meat by reducing it to a uniform cream-like mass. Not good. The mince should be of that type that is produced by hand-operated mincers.

    Dough can be store-bought, although home-made dough is better.

    But the most important thing is, the real homestyle pelmeni are always made by hand. Machine-made ones often get unwrapped, releasing their filling into the water.

    So, if a lady cooked for me some homestyle pelmeni, I think I would be touched by the fact itself that she had taken the trouble of preparing all the ingredients and making them by hand! Even if the result was not outstanding, I would certainly appreciate the effort and intention behind it. And if she also managed to do it just right, then my palate and stomach would be very grateful too.

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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Oh, Оля you are too wonderful. You make my day everytime you write to me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    I would cook for him just so that he would not be hungry...
    You need to put some love and passion in that meal woman! He has been away, you are young and in love and trying to express your feelings and remember this is a G/PG rated book so nothing to physical here. So, I don't have a lot of choices. He has not had home cooking in five years... He is a single guy...

    But... if you still feel that cooking a meal is not your thing, what would you do? Remember G/PG rated. I am always open to suggestions, you should know that.
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    But... if you still feel that cooking a meal is not your thing
    Why "still"? I don't feel that cooking a meal is not my thing.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Quote Originally Posted by translationsnmru
    pelmeni
    Translationsnmru,

    I looked at the site you gave me and I see that there are half moon and round ones and the half moon ones do look like the Chinese potstickers that we get here.

    If I am reading it correctly, the kind you are used to are the round ones? "a typical pelmen' is roughly spherical and is about 2 to 3 cm in diameter, whereas most other types of dumplings are usually elongated."

    They also state that they "are served on their own or topped with melted butter or sour cream. Mustard, horseradish, tomato sauce, and vinegar are popular as well. Some recipes suggest frying pelmeni after boiling until they turn golden brown."

    So, is there a more "traditional" way?
    How would you like to have them?
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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Olya, I wholeheartedly agree. I'd probably think "He must be tired and hungry, I should cook him something", and not "I missed him, I should cook him something". I just don't see the connection between the two.
    The fact that any girl in question would probably cook his favourite dish is a bonus, not the main sign of her missing him.

    Anyway, the answer to your question is "his favourite something".
    Also I know from experience that people after a long absence often crave for the most "boring" everyday dishes, a traditional home cuisine, something that's usually considered unimaginative, like borsch (борщ), pelmeny (пельмени), salads "Herring in a Furcoat" (селедка под шубой) and olivye (оливье), etc., or some things that are mostly unavailable abroad (or differ significantly from their Russian analogues) like sour cream, raspberry "varenye" (which differs from jam), etc.

    So to emphasize the fact that Valentina cooked that "favourite something" because she missed Dmitry you need some extra detail, like maybe she couldn't cook it before and learned to do it when he was away because she, well, missed him.

    PS.
    Herring in a Furcoat: http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Сельдь_под_шубой
    Olivye: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_salad

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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    If I am reading it correctly, the kind you are used to are the round ones? "a typical pelmen' is roughly spherical and is about 2 to 3 cm in diameter, whereas most other types of dumplings are usually elongated."
    More or less. If you look at that page again, you'll notice three small images which display some of stages of the pelmeni-making process. First, you make some round flat pieces of dough (the leftmost image). Then you put a bit of minced meat in the middle of it. Then you fold the dough in two and pinch the edges together. This must be done very thoroughly. At this stage, our pelmeni are halfmoon-shaped, and this is where most nations stop in making their national varieties of dumplings. But, of course, we in Russia have to do it our own way, so we pull the ends of the halfmoon toghether and press them to each other. Now our pelmeni are nice and round, as they are supposed to be . You can see the end result in the rightmost picture.

    As to what they are served with, it depends. The most traditional seasonings include dairy butter, vinegar, and sour cream. In our family, we used a mixture of pelmeni broth with vinegar. It was served in small saucers. You pick one pelmen with a fork and dip it in the vinegar mixture before eating it.
    It is pretty common to put a small dollop of dairy butter in a plate of hot pelmeni, let it melt and stir the content gently so each of the pelmeni is covered with a thin film of butter. But I preferred vinegar, because properly made pelmeni have enough fat in them.

    They were never served with sour cream in our family, but I know some people who prefer sour cream to any other seasonings or sauces.

    And, by the way, there is a sizeable group of people (mostly—but not exclusively—males) who believe that you MUST have some vodka with pelmeni (That was a joke, but, as you know, every joke is only partially a joke).

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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    So to emphasize the fact that Valentina cooked that "favourite something" because she missed Dmitry you need some extra detail, like maybe she couldn't cook it before and learned to do it when he was away because she, well, missed him.
    gRomoZeka,

    Thank you. It is hard for me to sometime post these questions as I know these characters and the story line any you all only know what I have told you and I don't want to bore you all by posting over 153,000 words to get you caught up!

    And yet, amazingly, you actually understood me better than I wrote my question! That is exactly the idea that I am going for in this scene. While he is gone she does find that she misses him. More than she could have ever imagined possible. This is what causes her to want to do something special for him. She could feed him anything upon his return, but instead she has gone the extra step, the extra mile to create something that she hopes will mean more to him than her just saying "hi honey I missed you and you look hungry I've ordered take-out it will be here any minute why don't you sit down."

    What I am doing now by asking you these questions, is I will plant that information within the story as a conversation that happened between Dmitri and another character at a point in time before. So this way when Valentina is looking to do this, this character will be just so happen to be around and "remember" the conversation and tell her the inside information so that she will know what to cook.

    Am I making any sense?
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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Quote Originally Posted by translationsnmru
    And, by the way, there is a sizeable group of people (mostly—but not exclusively—males) who believe that you MUST have some vodka with pelmeni (That was a joke, but, as you know, every joke is only partially a joke).
    Funny that you mentioned it.
    I remember how once in my late teens walking down the street on a cold winter evening I felt such an immense longing for a plate of hot pelmeny and a shot of cold vodka that it actually spooked me badly. I realy can't describe that feeling, it was so strong. Since I do not even like vodka and at the time I didn't even know that it goes with pelmeny it must be some genetic memory. And when you think about it it looks like a great way to warm oneself (it happened on a cold winter evening).

    But I preferred vinegar..
    Eeee! Me too! Vinegar + butter (sometimes + fresh dill). But the only reason I don't use sour cream or mayonnaise is that when combined with vinegar it turns into rather unappetizing clumps.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    Am I making any sense?
    You make perfect sense.
    Hmm... So what should she cook in that case? It must be something complicated enough so we could believe that she couldn't cook it before (without making her look like a dimwit). Pelmeny are ridiculously easy, I know 6 year olds who can cook them.
    From all the dishes that were mentioned before the most troublesome is borsch - the slight change in ingredients or their peoportion makes it taste and even look different. That's why many people love their "mama's" (or wife's) borsch and despise all others.

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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Quote Originally Posted by translationsnmru

    Hmm... maybe some nice hot borshch. While it has not been invented by Russians, it's been a part of Russian cuisine for such a long time now that many Russians consider it a national Russian dish (although our Ukranian brethren strongly disagree ).
    Funny you should say that, as there's also a great deal of Poles believing "barszcz" is a traditional Polish meal

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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Quote Originally Posted by kamka
    Funny you should say that, as there's also a great deal of Poles believing "barszcz" is a traditional Polish meal
    I know

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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Quote Originally Posted by translationsnmru
    Quote Originally Posted by kamka
    Funny you should say that, as there's also a great deal of Poles believing "barszcz" is a traditional Polish meal
    I know
    I wonder what is the true origin of the soup.
    Then again, for years, we've been fighting with the Slovaks over Janosik, might as well fight over "barszcz"

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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Quote Originally Posted by translationsnmru
    And, by the way, there is a sizeable group of people (mostly—but not exclusively—males) who believe that you MUST have some vodka with pelmeni (That was a joke, but, as you know, every joke is only partially a joke).
    Quote Originally Posted by translationsnmru
    But I preferred vinegar..
    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    Eeee! Me too! Vinegar + butter (sometimes + fresh dill). But the only reason I don't use sour cream or mayonnaise is that when combined with vinegar it turns into rather unappetizing clumps.
    You do realize people that I am going to have to actually try and cook all these things!! My daughters and I are going to have a fun time in the kitchen over the winter holidays! Now I actually don't drink; however, I sounds as if I might have to get one of those airline size bottles of vodka! Or is that like drinking toilet water and I need to get some good stuff if I am going to drink it at all?
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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    You do realize people that I am going to have to actually try and cook all these things!! My daughters and I are going to have a fun time in the kitchen over the winter holidays! Now I actually don't drink; however, I sounds as if I might have to get one of those airline size bottles of vodka! Or is that like drinking toilet water and I need to get some good stuff if I am going to drink it at all?
    Well, vodka is not a part of the recipe . So if you have never drunk it before, don't try and force yourself, you won't like it. Dmitri, however, is probably used to strong liquors, and could enjoy a shot or two. And if you decide on making him a real Russian born and bred in Russia, remember that most males in Russia take their vodka straight. Many people like their vodka very very cold, but I have never seen anyone taking it on the rocks (it is served that way in some western-style bars and restaurants, but never at home).

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    Re: What to cook to win a man’s heart?

    I have been gently reminded that I should be reviewing replies for English spelling and grammar. I am sorry that I neglected this.
    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    Americans spell it "favorite" I believe the Brits are the ones that spell it "favourite"
    Where is our good Lt. Columbo?

    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    From all the dishes that were mentioned before the most troublesome is borsch - a slight change in ingredients or the proportions makes it taste and even look different. That's why many people love their "mama's" (or wife's) borsch and despise all others.
    Alright then, where does pea soup fit in to all of this Rtyom? Why is that your favorite? Is it from your area?
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