Our breakfast. Photo Nicky Prouvost    The main activities of the people of Russian villages are agriculture and cattle-raising. Every hostess has one or two cows, several swine, sometimes sheep, and ten or more hens. One or two cats live in every peasant house. Some people keep a dog in their yard.

We will buy most of our food locally, and we will eat whatever foods are in season. Local food includes potatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, spring onions, buckwheat, rice, and millet. There is always fresh bread in every village store. There will be plenty of milk. Supplies of fresh meat may be problematic and we sometimes have to rely on canned provisions. Fresh fish may also be available. Nevertheless to vary ourA volunteer Maria Rohde with a cake for our hostess. Photo Nicky Prouvost diet we recommend that all volunteers pack some nourishing treats to share with the group (tins of meat, cans of fish, spices or sauce, etc.). These also can make good gifts to the villagers, because they are very interested to know what people from other countries eat.

There are food stores (one or two) in every Russian village. Bottled water, soda, snacks and even beer may be found in these stores but such extras lie outside our project budget. Volunteers may want to try Russian vodka or other home-made strong drinks.

A volunteer Nicky Prouvost hunting Russian mushrooms! Photo Janet TaylorWe plan to assign two members of our team to be on cooking  duty (including Principal Investigators) each day. Their responsibility will include preparing breakfast, dinner and supper and washing dishes after every eating. They will also be responsible for fetching water from the village wells that day. Volunteers may be not familiar with ingredients and cooking conditions, so the investigators may plan meals and recipes with them. So every member of a team will have a possibility to surprise us with his/hers culinary skills. Many fresh food products will be at volunteers' disposal, and volunteers who have no culinary knowledge at all may discover in themselves some talents unknown even to them before. According to our previous experience many volunteers enjoy Russian food and learn Russian recipes to cook dishes at home.

Usually we cook on gas-stoves. Water from wells is clean and good to drink but volunteers are welcome to bring filters and boil their water. As we will be cooking for ourselves special diets for vegetarians, diabetics and so on can be accommodated. If you have special needs, please, let us know in advance.

The country people of Russian villages are extremely hospitable. Of course, performers will invite volunteers to share meals and drinks, invite us to wedding ceremonies, funeral dinners and to other family celebrations. It is very important for volunteers to be friendly, because a refusal to share meals or drinks, especially during rituals, is to display of disrespect for Russian people. However no one will be offended if you refuse alcohol.