This essay was originally published by Kveller.com on Dec. 29, 2016, titled “Embracing the Russian Food of My Youth for the Sake of My Kids”
I never thought I’d miss Russian food, the unassuming cuisine of my birthplace. I was self-conscious about Russian salads, for instance, referring to boiled and chopped root vegetables loaded with mayonnaise, not microgreens. Traditional Russian recipes use just one kind of cheese, called cheese. Growing up as an immigrant kid in the United States, it’s awkward having to always explain that sour cream really does make everything better, that Herring under a Fur Coat isn’t furry, that the jiggly meat jelly is no weirder than the processed American chicken tender.
One January morning, while attempting my first jog since the birth of my 6-week-old baby, I was taken aback by my low endurance as I plodded along, hyperventilating and draped over the stroller’s handle.
Technically, she’s moving out, as evidenced by a “Furniture for Sale” sign taped downstairs by the elevator, a sign with her name, Tatyana. And though I’ve never met her, having recently moved here myself, I’m becoming acquainted with her stuff, which she’s been depositing on the “free for all” bench in the lobby.
On November 8, the glass ceiling didn’t shatter, the balloons didn’t drop, though the champagne was consumed anyway, right out of the bottle, for different reasons. Out of the two imperfect presidential candidates, the one with the most fitting resume, poise, intellect and popular votes lost. The other one, supported by the homophobes, misogynists and racists – as well as by millions of reasonable people – won.
No analyst could have predicted this “stunning” outcome, as the media says, though more than half of this voting nation would call this a “binge eating, ugly crying, social media ranting, Facebook friend-deleting, ‘I’m moving to fucking Canada’” outcome.
Our culture’s obsession with weight, from diet fads to the thigh gap, takes a particular toll after childbirth.
According to medical books, a 25- to 35-pound gain during pregnancy is considered healthy. A woman becomes roughly 12 pounds lighter immediately after childbirth. The rest is supposed to just melt away.
But instead of fitting a statistical bell curve, many new mothers feel like outliers.