1. You couldn’t imagine a holiday without holodets.
Ah yes, jellied minced meat. Our ancestors used to cook the solid meat broth with herbs and then put it outside to jellify. Back in the days this entrée was especially popular among the hunters because it didn’t spoil in the frost, and they could eat it either cold or turn it into hot soup by warming it on the fire. Your mom definitely serves it with homemade mustard.
2. You stuff bliny with almost everything.
We Siberians eat them all year and especially during the week of Maslenitsa when we celebrate the beginning of Great Lent and the end of winter. A Siberian mother has made so many of these Russian pancakes in her life that she can cook them blindfolded. How comes we are not sick and tired of this always-to-be-on-the-table snack? A Siberian mom’s creativity is an answer — except for ordinary stuffing of jam and condensate milk, she may surprise you with meat, mushrooms, and even cheese filling.
3. You use black tea to cure body and soul.
We sip it between and after a meal, when we are bored, when we are cold and just for a company because the conversations tend to run smoother with this magical drink in a cup. A Siberian mom can make a regular black tea a masterpiece by adding the mix of leaves and dry fruits of blackberry, raspberry, or strawberry in it. The aroma and flavor will take you away from all the troubles and routine at least for the time of enjoying it. Your mom knows that good tea can heal disordered stomach, relief the stress and brace you up for the day. What else do you need?
4. You are ridiculously superstitious.
From the very early age, a Siberian mom teaches you to pay attention to the signs. These signs may bring you luck or misfortune and predict how your day will go. We have an expression “Ne svisti, deneg ne budet,” meaning “Don’t whistle or you won’t have money.” We believe that if you want your business or household to prosper, you’d better never make this sound in the area. Also, there is no way your Siberian mom will let you go without sitting before hitting the road, because she believes that it’s a key to a safe journey. “Posidim na dorozhku” is a common offer before leaving for a trip after which everyone sits and stay quiet for a while. During the minutes of silence you may remember something you’ve forgotten. It’s all may seem funny in our era of technologies and science, but us Siberian folk appreciate this knowledge because it’s a part of our history and a collection of our ancestors’ wisdom.
5. You take hygiene to the extreme.
In addition to a non-negotiable rule of taking off shoes at home, your Siberian mom has also taught you how to keep your body and house germ free. You never realize what a clean freak you are until you leave your nest and share the house with a roommate. You get really pissed every time someone tries to cook or even to pour a drink without washing their hands before. You don’t understand how someone can go without a twice-a-day shower and minimum once a week bubble bath or banya. And, of course, walking around the house in outwear is your turning point.
6. Your biggest fear in life is to disappoint your mom.
No matter how old you are, you always want your mom to think of you as the sweetest child ever. You are ashamed of anything she might think of as a bad habit and would never allow yourself to smoke or curse next to her.
7. She will never think you are sufficiently dressed.
Even if you move to the Sahara desert,”Are you dressed warmly?” will always be your mom’s first question. Living in a brutal Siberian climate for most of the life makes your mom a winter-garments professional.
8. You have endless amounts of homemade wool mittens and socks.
She knows how to knit the apparels that will keep her child warm during the harsh winter. She puts her heart and soul into these handmade mittens and socks so that they become absolutely indispensable items to survive in the icebox called Siberia.
9. You believe in the power of homemade remedies.
When it comes to her child’s health, a real Siberian mom prefers homemade, natural treatment to anything pharmaceutical. At the times between the seasons when the risk of catching a cold or a flu is at its highest, your mom makes you a vitamin cocktail from berries, nuts and honey that prevents you from being sick and cleans your body from almost all types of dangerous bacteria. You pass this recipe to the next generation and sometimes cure your friends with it.
10. She adores your kids and considers your spouse another child of hers.
A Siberian grandma is always there to babysit and help with anything the grandkids might need. She constantly pampers your children with gifts and goodies. You basically could leave them with her and pick them up at the age of eighteen in order to drop them to military or university. As for your spouse, she’ll ask him or her to call her “mama” and will do everything to make you all one big happy family.