?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Gardens in American Suburbs

cucumber6

Can you guess what's growing in the bright, green leaves? :) I think one of the biggest misperceptions about Americans is that we all stuff our faces with fast food and pizza every day. This may be true for some people, but not the majority. I once read a report from a well-known blogger who wrote that gardens are common "only in American ghettos." Such characterization is very strange, because it's ordinary for Americans to grow fruits and vegetables in their yards, and not only in rural areas. This photo is taken from my sister's house, right in the middle of suburbia. Each year, she attempts to grow various fruits and vegetables during the summer in her tiny yard. Hidden behind these leaves is a fruit that most Russians know very well and consume on a regular basis...

1. Cucumbers! This is my nephew's favorite thing to eat, and the fruit is easy to grow. Actually, I thought cucumbers were vegetables but my sister informed me over the weekend that the proper classification of this food is "fruit."

cucumber2

2. Cucumbers to me are tasty only if eaten raw, and I definitely don't like the pickled variety!! Pickles to me are the worst food on the planet, and the mere smell nauseates me. Usually, I simply slice and eat them on a plate with onions. The ones from my sister's yard are completely organic, she uses no fertilizers or special chemicals to help them grow, and most come out huge (though not perfectly shaped!).

cucumber1

3. One of my favorite homemade salads, we eat it during summer barbecues and other family gatherings. Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and avocados, all mixed with light olive oil and various spices.

342953_900

4.  I stopped drinking sodas almost twenty years ago, and consumer only water and herbal tea on most days. During the hot and humid summer months, I also use cucumbers to create tasty alternatives to plain water. It's very simple, yet the taste is somewhat exotic and refreshing. The best combination is to place water, ice cubes, limes, cucumbers and mint leaves in a jar or pitcher and let it sit overnight. Delicious! You can find the recipe here. In fact, you can use any type of fruit to add a spark to otherwise dull water (like oranges, tangerines, melons, etc.).

lime-mint-cucumber-water-recipe

5. This year, we tried to grow strawberries but it was a complete fail! :( Japanese beetles infested the crops and completely destroyed them.

cucumber7

6. I recently left my nice apartment near the city to save money on rent. Now, I'm far away, sitting in huge traffic jams each day on my commute to work. It's horrible, but necessary if I wish to pursue my passion of travel. To pay over $2,000 a month for a 1 bedroom apartment - insanity!! When I was searching for places to live, I was surprised to learn that some complexes now have "resident gardens," making it possible for even apartment dwellers to have a garden. It's great! Here's an example from one of the properties I viewed. Almost all of the dirt plots are occupied and being used by residents in the high rise building. How about in Moscow or Peter? Have you ever seen an owner create such nice garden plots for residents of an apartment building to use?

Resident_Garden

7.  Now, I have tons of cucumbers sitting at home! In all shapes and sizes. Diversity is good. :) What else can I do with them? If you have good cucumber recipes or cooking ideas, share them in comments. I will be grateful.

cucumber9 (1)

Please don't believe all the stereotypes about what Americans eat. There's a wide-variety of food available, and as I've written before you can find organic products in almost every market, from expensive gourmet shops to cheap stores like Walmart. Yes, you pay more for such products but if you're anal about what you eat, or some type of health food fanatic, you can easily survive in the USA. It will just cost you more to eat. And it's possible to have a garden not only at your dacha, but also in suburbia and occasionally an apartment. How about you? Do you grow any vegetables or fruits, or do you buy such products at the supermarket?


Comments

( 134 comments — Leave a comment )
Page 1 of 3
<<[1] [2] [3] >>
green_eegs
Jul. 13th, 2015 03:57 pm (UTC)
I find that cucumbers make excellent additions to stir-fried oriental dishes.

also - cucumber raitah, sort of a youghurt soup with grated cukes and green onions, a nice summer fisrt cours eor salad sauce or to go with saffron rice.

also - cucumber-beet-sour cream salad, a classic jeiwsh dish.
peacetraveler22
Jul. 13th, 2015 04:01 pm (UTC)
I've never tried to stir-fry or saute a cucumber! :) I thought that it would get too soggy and soft because of the seeds and high water concentration of the fruit. The second option sounds good because I love yogurt! Thanks. :)
(no subject) - green_eegs - Jul. 13th, 2015 04:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
andrejefremov
Jul. 13th, 2015 04:09 pm (UTC)
Do you know dzadziki? This is a greek speciality made from cucumbers, yoghurt and garlik. This is very delicious! I promise you:)
https://ru.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Дзадзики
peacetraveler22
Jul. 13th, 2015 04:10 pm (UTC)
No, but it looks delicious. I will try to make it! I have never been to either Turkey or Greece to indulge in the local delicacies.
sectopod
Jul. 13th, 2015 04:09 pm (UTC)
I'm not grown my own food many years but I prefer to help my relatives on dacha or buy it from my friends.
Vegetables in supermarkets are very bad and worse than food from usual market or your own.
peacetraveler22
Jul. 13th, 2015 04:13 pm (UTC)
Why are vegetables in supermarkets bad? I visited Russian supermarkets several times, and the only thing I noticed is that Russian carrots are huge!! This is my favorite vegetable. :) Also, you weigh vegetables and fruits on your own there. In the U.S., the cashier in the store weighs the products when you pay for them at checkout.
(no subject) - sectopod - Jul. 13th, 2015 05:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 13th, 2015 05:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - theodorexxx - Jul. 13th, 2015 07:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
dorli87
Jul. 13th, 2015 04:20 pm (UTC)
It is really unexpected. You ruined my stereotypes about american home food.))
If you think that cucumber is a fruit, that is understandable you don't like pickles.
I am so pity of strawberries - my favorite berries.
peacetraveler22
Jul. 13th, 2015 04:23 pm (UTC)
I want to ruin another stereotype - that American women don't cook! We do! :))
(no subject) - dorli87 - Jul. 13th, 2015 04:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 13th, 2015 04:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dorli87 - Jul. 13th, 2015 04:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 13th, 2015 05:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dorli87 - Jul. 13th, 2015 05:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 13th, 2015 05:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dorli87 - Jul. 14th, 2015 03:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - theodorexxx - Jul. 13th, 2015 07:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 13th, 2015 07:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
moskitow
Jul. 13th, 2015 04:25 pm (UTC)
All my american friends growing some veggies in their backyards :) The best part is that tomatoes here in America can actually ripen right on the bush (back in Ufa it's an "evergreen" vegetable :))
I love cucumber water. Tried it once at some asian restaurant and was very surprised how good it was!
I make tzatziki from my own greek yogurt - very tasty.
peacetraveler22
Jul. 13th, 2015 04:30 pm (UTC)
A lot of hotels now have this cucumber and fruit-infused water in their lobbies for everyone to drink. This is where I first tasted it, and I've been hooked every since. :) We also grow tomatoes every summer, but this year I didn't take good care of the plant and nothing bloomed.

 photo cucumber3_zpsuk6zzc7v.jpg
asharky
Jul. 13th, 2015 04:33 pm (UTC)
«…One of my favorite homemade salads, we eat it during summer barbecues and other family gatherings. Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and avocados, all mixed with light olive oil and various spices…»

Good choice!
peacetraveler22
Jul. 13th, 2015 04:36 pm (UTC)
Yes! If you come to Virginia, I will be pleased to invite you to one of our cookouts. :)
(no subject) - asharky - Jul. 13th, 2015 04:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
creaze
Jul. 13th, 2015 04:39 pm (UTC)
> Please don't believe all the stereotypes about what Americans eat.

Since i'm a fan of a joyful meal, i was wondering what american's cuisine would look like in real life. Before i went there, i mean. I too was aware of the stereotype that americans are rather fat, because they eat in McDonalds a lot. That sounded a bit odd, cause i like McDuck myself, and i've seen plenty of food that's way less healthy; but still, what people won't do to ruin themselves.

Anyway, what i found is that americans are indeed rather fat, but that's not because, but in spite of McDuck: most of them don't even make it there for the lunch. Most eat as they go (i thought that's an exaggeration) i.e. sit on their working desks, and that's chips with soda, cheap buns, sometimes a cold sandwich and worst of all, noodles. You know, the kind that you pour hot water in. We call them 'doshirak', and the other nickname, 'bomzh-packet' will give you an idea, why it's not considered proper food by russians.

This was really stereotype breaking.

Edited at 2015-07-13 04:45 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Jul. 13th, 2015 04:47 pm (UTC)
I don't even eat lunch, but yes it's true most of the lawyers at my work eat at their desk. But I don't see them gorging on chips and sodas on a regular basis. Maybe I just hang around healthy people, not sure. Of course, we all eat these foods on occasion. I ate them all the time during my university days, and lived on Ramen noodles at times. :) But, now that I'm older, I would weigh 500 lbs if I ate like that now. I think Americans are fatter than other countries because we don't move as much, and our restaurant portions are huge. Almost every American has a car, parking is always available (with rare exceptions), we have escalators/elevators almost everywhere... So, we don't walk or climb as much, even though plenty of Americans still go to the gym regularly.
(no subject) - creaze - Jul. 13th, 2015 05:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 13th, 2015 05:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - creaze - Jul. 13th, 2015 05:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - theodorexxx - Jul. 13th, 2015 07:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 13th, 2015 07:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - theodorexxx - Jul. 13th, 2015 07:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 13th, 2015 08:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nesseressi - Aug. 2nd, 2015 02:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 3rd, 2015 02:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
creaze
Jul. 13th, 2015 04:44 pm (UTC)
This:



Short of the avocadoes, was exactly the salad, that my dad served me at his chalet the day before yesterday. Even the onion pieces were the same. And unfiltered ukrainian sunflower oil instead of olive.
peacetraveler22
Jul. 13th, 2015 04:49 pm (UTC)
You can also easily find sunflower oil here, but I prefer olive oil. It's nice to be fed by your parents. :)
(no subject) - creaze - Jul. 13th, 2015 05:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
lolagetty
Jul. 13th, 2015 05:02 pm (UTC)
I live in California and while fresh fruit and veggies are available I wouldn't call it a popular choice among most of my American friends. I never thought of chips a side dish until I moved to the states. A staple snack at any American party is what I call "plastic food" - pretzels, chips, cheese puffs. I remember the most ridiculous TV ad showing "the best mom who cares" because she served cheese-its and pretzels at her kids birthday party. A typical breakfast? A bowl of cereal, which is basically a processed, sugar coated, fake food. If you come to any Russian house to play with you friends and it's dinner time, you will get real food - soup, salad or anything else that was actually cooked at home.
Americans just eat more synthetic, "fake" stuff compared to Russians. Therefore while there are many Russians who get fat from eating too much, Americans are actually obese because they eat food that human body is unable to process properly.
peacetraveler22
Jul. 13th, 2015 05:07 pm (UTC)
Kids at Russian birthday parties are eating vegetables and not cake or chips? I find this hard to believe. :) Yes, at American parties chips/dips are commonly served and even at summer cookouts. However, in Russia, I frequently see people eating a lot of salads covered in tons of fattening mayo, so you simply pick your poison. :) If you want to be a healthy and disciplined eater, it's possible in almost any country. What people put in their mouth is their own choice. My whole life I struggled with weight. When I want to indulge and eat cakes, sweets and delicious foods more often, I'm fatter. When I'm more disciplined, I'm thinner. :)
(no subject) - lolagetty - Jul. 13th, 2015 05:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 13th, 2015 05:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lolagetty - Jul. 13th, 2015 06:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - 323mersy - Jul. 17th, 2015 02:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lolagetty - Jul. 17th, 2015 04:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - creaze - Jul. 13th, 2015 05:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lolagetty - Jul. 13th, 2015 05:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
yarowind
Jul. 13th, 2015 05:06 pm (UTC)
>>In all shapes and sizes.

Second from thе left side - the best!:)
peacetraveler22
Jul. 13th, 2015 05:08 pm (UTC)
It's the most normally shaped. The rest at "American-sized" - big and round. :)))
(no subject) - imur - Jul. 13th, 2015 06:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 13th, 2015 06:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
fesma94
Jul. 13th, 2015 05:24 pm (UTC)
OMG !!! "ice cubes, limes, cucumbers and mint leaves in a jar " !!! You, Americans, so freaky ))) I understood it after steward had added ice to my tomato juice during my flight from Dallas to Philadelphia )))
peacetraveler22
Jul. 13th, 2015 05:27 pm (UTC)
It's delicious! Try to make it. Without ice, if you want. :) It will be a very refreshing drink in the Israeli heat!
vitsky
Jul. 13th, 2015 05:38 pm (UTC)
I like to grow vegtables at my dacha. )
peacetraveler22
Jul. 13th, 2015 05:41 pm (UTC)
What kind? Seems to me that cucumbers and tomatoes are the easiest ones to grow.
(no subject) - vitsky - Jul. 13th, 2015 06:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - scorp_takoi - Jul. 13th, 2015 11:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 14th, 2015 12:04 am (UTC) - Expand
imur
Jul. 13th, 2015 06:10 pm (UTC)
I grow tomatoes on the deck of my townhouse in DC suburbia, cucumbers on a back yard (yesterday picked up the first 2 of them:))), parsley in a pot on the deck as well and flowers on the front yard. It's so nice to watch plants grow (my son loves "helping" me), water them and then enjoy the fruits. I think it's good for your health and for your spirit as well :)))
peacetraveler22
Jul. 13th, 2015 06:12 pm (UTC)
Cool! :) My nephew also loves the garden, and watching things grow. For him, it's like a contest or competition to see who can create the biggest cucumber. :) I've always had a "green thumb," with lots of real plants in my apartment. I agree it brightens the mood, when you're confined to city life or small spaces.
maksipes
Jul. 13th, 2015 06:30 pm (UTC)
I always thought growing vegetables is forbidden in the US. You can even go to the jail if they catch you at it. At least you have to get the license if you want doing it legally.
peacetraveler22
Jul. 13th, 2015 06:33 pm (UTC)
What? :)) No, this is not true!
(no subject) - south_of_broad - Jul. 14th, 2015 05:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 14th, 2015 03:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Jul. 15th, 2015 04:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 15th, 2015 01:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Jul. 16th, 2015 01:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 16th, 2015 01:39 am (UTC) - Expand
k_netalie
Jul. 13th, 2015 06:33 pm (UTC)
the most tasty fruits and vegetables are from your own garden))
peacetraveler22
Jul. 13th, 2015 06:34 pm (UTC)
I remember you told me before that you spend a lot of time taking care of gardens and planting things. :)
(no subject) - k_netalie - Jul. 13th, 2015 07:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 13th, 2015 07:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Page 1 of 3
<<[1] [2] [3] >>
( 134 comments — Leave a comment )

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by yoksel