1. I know your hand is reaching for that freshly chopped dill… ready to smother every dish with the verdant weed. Foreigners find the Russian use of dill to be “excessive and inappropriate.” Keep the dill separate!
2. Have mercy with the alcohol. Every Russian man I know likes to go shot for shot with visitors. You guys know what the consequences are for the vodka-untrained belly.
3. Mayonaise: buy the light stuff, and keep it on the side. Check out Jennifer Eremeeva’s Great Mayonaise Debate for more.
4. Your carrots don’t have to be works of art. Although it’s kind of cute when they are flower shaped, and I do this sometimes too.
5. Don’t be offended if your guests don’t LOVE meat jellies (kholodets) or if they can’t finish everything you have spread on the festive table.
6. Don’t try to translate names of dishes like I did above. “Herring under a fur coat,” “very old milk,” and “meat jelly”… shudder!
7. Offer ice for water! In Russia, we hate cold drinks. Not so in other countries.