I think it’s time you finally meet the Russians. They’re my in-laws! They are loud, large, and in charge. It’s wonderful! I always wanted to marry into a giant family with lots of extended relatives and lots of great parties. Well I got my wish when I married Yevgeniy. I wasn’t sure how things were going to turn out when we first met, but boy am I glad it worked out. He has the most wonderful family.
They love passionately, which means family celebrations are often christened by an animated disagreement, but you can’t fight if you don’t care. Anger is the dark side of passion, and I have never met people who love the way they love. It’s honestly inspiring.
Their house is a multi-generational, multi-lingual establishment where grandparents, parents, and a little brother reside. When you call the house, they answer the phone in Russian. The use Ukrainian, Russian, and English in the house, depending on the generation speaking. They like to eat lunch for breakfast, which I’m sure they’d disagree with me on. They find it perfectly normal to eat last night’s leftovers for breakfast. Which I don’t understand because they make a mean breakfast.
I know I’ve told you about the Irish breakfast, but it doesn’t hold a candle to a Pinchuk breakfast. I have never had fried potatoes like these. To be honest, I didn’t even eat carbohydrates when I met them, but that definitely changed once I had my first bite of the crunchy goodness that is “fried potato.” They start by peeling the potato with a knife, not a peeler. You can’t even find a peeler in their house. They swear they’re faster with a knife, and I’ve watched them; it’s true. They can skin and dice a potato in about the time it takes me to chop one in half. It’s extraordinary.
Then they heat the pan up with canola oil in it and tip the potatoes in, once the oil is hot. The trick is to flip the potatoes as little as possible. The more you flip, the less they crunch. So while the potatoes are crunching it up, they whip out a second pan, throw some butter on it, and let it heat up. They crack the eggs with a knife, so they land perfectly in the pan, sunny side up. Sometimes they throw some kielbasa or sausage in the pan as well.
Then it’s tea time. I’m a diehard boil-water-on-the-stove person, but they have that nifty hot & cold water spout. Although I believe tea only steeps well with piping hot water, the hot water tap makes things a lot easier when every burner is occupied for breakfast to feed the immediate 16 relatives.
So we’ll sit down together at the kitchen island, side by side, with hot skillets in the center of the breakfast bar. There will also be Persian cucumbers and homegrown tomatoes for me to nibble on, while everyone else will generally gravitate towards the homemade pickled veggies or radish salad. There will always be dessert, whether it’s something simple like fruit or cake left over from the most recent birthday.
Voila! Russian breakfast. But the funny thing is, we never eat this for brunch holidays. Like Easter or Mother’s Day, the King and Queen of egg-bacon-champagne holidays, where we end up eating lunch at like 10:30 in the morning. It’s always delicious, but sometimes I miss my eggs and bottomless mimosas for Brunch.
But honestly, this is a pretty minor complaint on a very short list of differences. My in-laws are amazing, and I’ll take lunch for breakfast any day, if it means I get to spend my time with them. I usually visit them more than my husband, as I’ll pop over during the week with the kids, and this is a necessity. In our family, a once-a-week visit isn’t even considered a minimum. A once-a-work-visit garners a phone call that goes something like, “How are you? How have you been? I haven’t seen you in a while. We were getting worried about you.”
I’m not even kidding. But honestly, I love it. I felt like I waited most of my life to be part of a giant Russian, Ukrainian, Jewish, Christian family. It gets even better when my side of the family joins the craziness 😍.