Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Photo from http://www.followmefoodie.com
Photo from http://www.followmefoodie.com

My father fled Russia in the early 1990s; he was a victim of harassment and persecution based on his religion. He was a young Jewish man and Jews often experienced this kind of treatment in Russia. My mother came here in the late 1990s for completely different reasons. Disappointed by the heavy corruption and lack of economic opportunities, she left Saint Petersburg on a business trip and never came back. 

Though in a lot of ways my parents have assimilated after being in the United States for around 20 years, traditional Russian cuisine is something that they have refused to give up. Nothing reminds me of this more than Olivye, a traditional Russian potato salad, typically served during special occasions such as birthdays and in order to welcome in the New Year. Made with very simple, common, and easily substitutable ingredients, my mom never had trouble finding the products necessary to make Olivye. In the past few years, my sister and I have started to help her and the experience has become shared and immersive. We chatter away while classic Russian movies play on the television, dicing pickles, bologna, eggs, carrots, and potatoes. Nowadays it stands on our table among newer additions: my family has taken a liking to Kani Salad, sushi, and pizza, among other foods. Regardless, Olivye always has a spot. It is a staple at all of our celebrations, a and a reminder, at least to my parents, of home. 

Place(s): Russia
Year: 1996

– Jenn Dikler

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant