ELP Cooks

Dear Parents, AKA. Officers – First – thank you for assisting your classroom with this adventure. The ELP experience is one you and your child will remember for a lifetime. This packet is to assist you to ready yourself and your group for the overnight experience to Colony Ross. The more prepared you are, and the more prepared the students are, the better the experience for all. Please read the packet carefully. The packet is in two sections: first section is for pre-site preparations and the second section is for the onsite visit. You will want to bring the on-site section with you as it has pertinent information you will need.

Please remember that you are coming to a state park. Do NOT remove any objects that are lying on the ground: rocks, shells, glass, bones etc.

If you find anything that appears to be historically or environmentally important please leave it where it is found and advise Park Interpretive Specialist of the item's location. All features of the park are protected. Remember: Take only pictures and leave only footprints.

Also remember that many things that have been done in the past are not acceptable today.  Butchering of live animals on-site or bringing in weapons is not permitted.  All butchered meat must be dressed before you bring it to the fort. State Park rules and regulations must be observed. If you have any questions please call the Interpretive Specialist.

And now - welcome to the kitchen at Fort Ross. The beautiful views, the sounds of daily life and the warmth of the fires make cooking in the outdoor kitchen a pleasure. The abundance of food at Ross was a luxury. The cultural exchanges between the Russians and the Spanish, Mexicans, Kashaya, and Native Alaskans created a unique and diverse menu. Nowhere else along the California coast were these pleasant exchanges of foods and cooking ideas taking place. There was a wide variety of foods available in the Russian day: raised and hunted meats, ocean foods, cultivated grains, fruits and vegetables, native berries, wild nuts, along with the trade foods from around the world. This bounty gives you plenty of options in planning your menu.

As cooks, you are responsible for the Fort Ross kitchen and the preparation of meals for the inhabitants. Your task starts before your arrival at the Fort and continues through the overnight stay.  We expect that Russian or local Native California (Kashaya or Coast Miwok) foods or foods from the following list be served. Use it as a guide for the recipes you may choose. Making up the menu with different foods is an important part of the experience. We strongly encourage that the children who are the cooks decide on the menu. Make your menu with one or two recipes only.

You will be cooking outside on open fires that may be a new and exciting challenge.  If it rains hard, you may have to move inside the Officials' Quarters and use our back up propane camp stove.

Brief History and Walking Tour - Read this to your employees in your group in the classroom and bring this information with you for your onsite tour.

Regulations and Privileges of the Employees (historic) - Read this to your employees

Classroom Preparation

1.                  Review the recipes and eating habits of Russian people. Learn Russian words used in the kitchen.

2.                  Prepare a menu for dinner, Night watch to include Russian Tea Cakes and hot drink, breakfast, and snacks. Keep your dinner menu simple.

3.                  Use a variety of foods and let the students choose.

4.                  Purchase supplies that you will need to make the recipes you have chosen. As you pack for the big trip, box the ingredients for each recipe in separate boxes. That makes it very easy to find all your ingredients when you start to cook.

5.                  Pack a tin of cookies and cocoa for each group for night watch.  Tins can be purchased at secondhand stores, or you can ask class families for spare tins.

6.                  Ideas - Make a banner for your group, stencil dish towels, tablecloths, aprons, or head scarves. Learn to embroider. Make a pot holder.

The Fort will supply: A box of various cooking utensils, 6 large stainless steel pots, 2 frying pans, 4 griddles, 6 stainless steel bowls, 3 cast iron three-legged pots, 6 cutting boards, 1 butter churn, a box of various knives, can openers, ladles, spatulas, 3 washtubs and 6 buckets are available for your use. All kitchen items are in the ELP storage room in the Officers Barracks.

You will need to bring:

Drinking Water. Our water is safe to drink but may have an off flavor due to treatment. It is a good idea to bring some bottled water with you. Depending on the weather and the size of your group, you might need from 2 to 6 gallons.

One half gallon of heavy whipping cream or manufacturing cream for churning butter.

Oil for seasoning cast iron.

Dish soap and bleach for dishes.

Linens/Towels can be purchased rather cheaply from your local linen supply house. Used linens are sold for about a dollar a pound. You would only need about 10 pounds. They are useful to cover the tables as well as for dish towels, drying towels and miscellaneous clean up chores.

Thrift shops are handy for buying baskets, wooden bowls, silverware, aprons, and other costume and kitchen needs for each student.

Please DO NOT BRING individually wrapped food items (no Capri Sun or anything with straws etc.) as the wrappers end up on the ground.

Kitchen Tips 

  1. Children eat less than a full serving. Plan 2-3 ounces of meat per person.

  1. Plan quantities carefully. Too much food is hard to keep organized and leftovers are a nuisance.  (Too little can be a problem, too.)  Wash all your produce at home before packing if the weather is cold. It is painful to constantly have your hands immersed in freezing water and it is wonderful to have things ready for cooking or snacking. Pack and unpack like items together (staples, produce, snacks, breads) so that way things won't get lost or forgotten.

  1. Plan one-dish recipes when possible - stews, soups, etc.  Too many dishes are hard to prep and even harder to keep track of when cooking for a large group.  Simplify the recipes - it is not usually necessary to include exact measurements or quantities if you purchase ingredients in the correct proportion.  Type out your recipes in large font and put them in sheet protectors so that the children (employees) can refer to them.

  1. "Authentic" foods are really appealing.  It is good to have choices at each meal. The employees will be quite willing to try everything when they don't feel they have to.  Don't forget dietary restrictions like vegetarians and allergies (nuts, etc.)

  1. It helps to set up a beverage area and a snack/grazing area - self-service. Keep these areas away from your prep and working areas. A little planning and organization will help the employees be self-sufficient, an important Ft. Ross lesson. It will also keep you sane and prevent the constant chorus of "Where is X?" This is critical when weather is stormy, because your work area is constantly filled with employees visiting or coming inside to warm up.

  1. Having three cook officers is really helpful. The Head Cook can meet with the employees to make menu decisions develop recipes, shop, oversee and give orders. The second cook officer should be available to organize the employees, chat with them, help them with their skit, make sure they understand their chores, organize breaks, hikes, crafts and churning. The third cook can tend to fire and carry pots etc. Of course, other divisions of labor can work equally well, but have a plan and try to have three parents in this role.

  1. Encourage the employees to be resourceful and self-sufficient. Resist the urge to do things for them. Give clear, concise verbal instructions, and then allow them to find solutions. This is respectful and they will appreciate it. You will see that they are usually quite adept at asking for help! This approach will also keep you from feeling stressed from being constantly called upon. If you discover they haven't followed through, follow up with suggestions for how they might proceed. If you expect a lot of them, they will surprise you with their capability and enthusiasm and you will be overflowing with genuine praise for them. What a happy circumstance!

  1. A cook's meeting to decide on menus will really help to galvanize everyone to the task at hand. Give them choices among "authentic" dishes, and you will not end up with demands for hamburgers! A baking day is also fun if you can fit it in. If not, enlist parents to make Russian teacakes and jam filled cookies.

  1. A starchy Russian diet is actually great for employees! Include lots of "carbs" in the menu and even the fussiest eater will not go hungry.

  1. Cooking over a wood fire is hard work. If you need a hot flame, use a grate that is not too high above the fire. Start boiling water early and make sure that the fire is stoked in cold weather! Don't be fancy. It's easy to braise and stew, so plan accordingly. Don't be afraid to adapt to circumstances and innovate - employees love this - as long as you know what you are doing with the main course. Let the employees do all the prep because they are usually not able to withstand too much open fire cooking - smoke burns their eyes (yours too!) and if it's cold and rainy you will be struggling to convince them to stay warm and dry (insist on this!). They can certainly stir pots, draw water, fetch ingredients, run messages between the outdoor fire and the Officials' Quarters, gather kindling (including paper), feed the fire and keep tabs on the status of water, spider pot, dishwashing tubs and the activity of the "employees". Work hard to engage the employees in the activity at hand and you will be amazed at the camaraderie and affection that grows among you. Remember, they can do it. Most of all have fun; they will never forget their Ft. Ross experience.

  1. Breakfast: Please create a breakfast menu from the menu items. You can leave on the table some snacks for grazing. Bagels and cream cheese work well for morning snack. Pancakes or blini's are not a good idea. They can drip and make a mess on the fireplace stones and are hard to cook on an open fire.

  1. Lunch:  Plan a lunch that requires little or no prep, no dishes, and almost no cleanup, because by this time you are packed up, almost ready to depart and you want to savor the remaining time. Lay out the food as a buffet. At each meal officers can serve to expedite the line. Plan for this and enlist help. Always say yes when someone offers help! They'll feel good and your job will be much easier.

Encourage students to bring a minimum of personal gear.


2.   WARM SLEEPING BAG, PAD & GROUND CLOTH--You will sleep on wood floors in the fort buildings.

3.   EATING UTENSILS: Cup, plate and/or bowl, knife, fork, spoon, and water bottle.

4.   PERSONAL TOILET ARTICLES:  Don't forget sun screen, the sun can be very strong. Bring toothbrush and toothpaste.

5.   ANY NECESSARY MEDICATIONS:  Include written instructions for the teacher; give medications and instructions to the teacher upon departure.

6.   PENCIL:  For writing in journals and sketching.

7.   HEADGEAR: Russian scarf for girls and/or a warm hat for night watch. Sun hats are highly recommended for students and adults alike, especially for spring or fall dates.

8.   CHANGE OF CLOTHES AND SHOES:  Children and parents should wear their costume to the fort. Bring a second set of clothes as well. Even if the weather looks warm, evenings are always quite cold on the coast. Students' feet and clothing often get wet during the day's activities therefore two pairs of shoes are essential. Black rain boots are highly recommended.


10.  NAME TAGS: Create your own name tag with a Fort Ross design and character's name.


Olga - A Kodiak- Wife of Naneshkun Avvakum (a Kodiak) died August 1820. It is not known how she died.

Ayumin Mar'ya - A Kashaya - She had a daughter, Maria with the Russian Promyshlennik named Rodion Koroliov. He died December 9, 1820 of "some disease".  Ayumin and Maria returned to her native village near Ross after his death.

Kunuchami - A Kashaya - She had a son, Izhuaok Peter, with a Koniag named Tlyualik Trofim.

Unitma - A Coast Miwok - She married a Chugach man named Sipak Ishkhatskiy. She died in September of 1821 for unknown reasons. They had two daughters, Anusha Maria and Aglal'ya.

Katerina Ukkelya - A Coast Miwok - She was living with but not married to Vasilii Antipin, Russian promyshlennik, a carpenter who died at Ross in the end of 1821 or 1822. They had a son, Alexander and daughter, Matrena.

Chaikku - A Coast Miwok -. She was the wife of Chazhvahkak Nikita, a Kodiak of Razbitovskoe village. They had a daughter, Akki Arina.

El'bus'shika - A Coast Miwok from the Bodega region - She was married to Avenge Ivan, a Kodiak from Pasko village. They had a daughter, Anis yak Maria, and a son, Atunnuki.

Paraskov'ia Kulika - A Creole - She was employed as a cowherd for the Company at Ross. She was married to the scribe, Kulilalov, who died in 1820. She died in 1827 leaving no property. She owed the Company 51 rubles and 59 kopeks. The Company wrote this off as a loss.

Anna Vasil'eva - A Creole - She was married to Vasilii Vasil'ev. They had five children, three of which lived at Ross. She had a house, a field, a vegetable garden, and various livestock. When she died her dresses were given to her children. Her eldest daughter married, and other employees adopted the other minors.

Vaimpo - A Coast Miwok - He worked at Ross in 1820 to pay off obligations to the Company.

Chichamik - A Coast Miwok - He worked at Ross in 1820 to pay off obligations to the Company.

Kapisha - A Coast Miwok - He worked on the Farallones to pay off obligations to the Company.

Chilan - A Kashaya - He worked at Ross to pay off obligations to the Company.

Iik - A Kashaya - He worked of his own free will in the kitchen

Ukayla - A Coast Miwok - Living with Kili Fedor, a Kodiak.

Mit'ya - A Kashaya - Married to Aniehta Nikolai, a Kodiak. They had one son, Chanian Vissarion.

Vera Grudinin - A Kodiak and wife of Vasilii Ivanovich Grudinin. They lived in a home outside the Fort compound possibly along one of the creeks. They had a son Mikhail. They had a baby daughter January 11, 1825, named Agrafina. The family left Colony Ross in March of 1825 for Sitka. Mikhail died in August. Another daughter, Natalie, was born August 18th.

Kobbeya - A Southern Pomo - she had lived along the Russian River. She married Agchyaesikok Roman, a Kodiak. They may have lived in the Alaskan neighborhood out on the front terrace. They had a son, Kiochan Mitrofah. Kobbeya returned to her home and people along the Russian River in 1820. The father raised the young boy, until the father drowned. A Kodiak, Alexey Chaniguchi, was said to have raised the boy.

Food Glorious Food!

Soups like Borsch or Shchi served with hearty breads.

Piroshki (meat and/or vegetable pies) are traditional fare in Russian homes. They are easy to make and are delicious. Make these ahead of time before your visit.

Potatoes cooked any number of ways: in a stew, creamed, or boiled with sour cream or churned butter on top.

Marinated beets are often a new and interesting food to try (kids do like this).

Kasha or grains can also be served in a variety of ways.  Different grains can include a 9-grain cereal, wild rice or buckwheat. Try roasting them on the fire before cooking.  For a tasty breakfast, add nuts and dried fruits or berries to the grains, serve with cream if you wish.

Pancakes or blini's made on-site are not a good idea for breakfast. They can drip and make a mess on the fireplace stones. Please consider other options for breakfast.

Dark Rye Breads or "Mission" style grain breads can be ordered from your local bakery. It is most important that the bread be different from the bread that the children usually eat. Using round loaves of bread can add to the difference.

Fish: It is possible that the hunters may bring in a fish or two. Be prepared to pan-fry the hunters' catch.

Churning butter is a fun and traditional activity. Manufacturer's heavy cream, which is far superior to regular whipping or heavy cream for churning, can be special ordered from most supermarkets or dairies. However, do not worry if you can only get the regular cream.  A half-gallon container should be plenty for your group. The cream will turn to butter more easily if it is at room temperature. Take cream out of the cooler shortly after you arrive at the fort.  Wrap a towel around the churn, including the top, to keep it from cooling from the action of churning. Churning action is up and down with a twist of the wrist in both directions. Churning must be continuous! Don't stop before butter has formed.  The crock is very fragile. Please be very careful with it. Place it on the ground and straddle it.

Coffee can be a different experience when you bring green coffee beans. Roast them on the open fire, grind and then pour boiling water on top. Then let grinds settle. It makes great coffee and will help parents and teachers get through chilly afternoons and night watch.

Herb teas are a treat for the employees. Herb teas could replace cocoa for night watch.

Russian Tea Cakes can be served with herb teas or cocoa for night watch.

3:00 Snack:

Dried fruit – cranberries, apricots, pineapple, etc.

Mixed Nuts

Beef jerky


Soft cheese with crackers and/or bread

Whole fruit – apples, pears, grapes

Sliced Veggies - carrots, cucumbers, green beans, radishes, etc. 

Dinner ideas: Pick at least three items

Soups - borscht, shchi, stews,

Fresh fish – Salmon when in season


Green Beans

Whole Grain Breads

Churned Butter


Berries over sweet grain


Pumpkin Porridge

Nightwatch Snack:

Russian Tea Cakes

Hot Cocoa or Hot Tea


Kasha – Mixed grain hot cereal served with butter,

Brown sugar, yogurts, and molasses to drizzle on the cereal

Breads, Bagels & Cream Cheese


Dried Fruit



Sliced cheeses

Scrambled eggs


Tea and/or Coffee

Sack Lunches for the second day: This could be a repeat of the layout of foods mentioned under snacks: or

Hard Boiled Eggs


Whole fruit


Here are some recipes you can make on-site:

Russian Borsch

Serves 20

1 cube of Butter                     

Caraway and dill seeds

5 Onions peeled                                 

4 Veggie Cubes

24 Beets – use canned or fresh.                   

8 Tbs Honey or to taste

6 Carrots                                

Fresh dill

2 small to medium cabbage heads   

Sour Cream

4 cloves of garlic

Put all ingredients except sour cream and fresh dill in one big pot.  Cook for a few hours on the open fire.  Top each serving with sour cream and dill.  That is the Fort Ross way.

Alaskan Beef and Berry Stew

Serves 30

15 lbs. stew beef

Flour for dredging beef

Olive oil for browning

9 medium white onions

13 small cans beef broth

10 cups of blueberries or blackberries

6 T honey

Salt to taste

Roll meat in the flour and brown in olive oil in large spider pot. Than add sliced onions and more oil. Add some broth to deglaze the pots and than add remaining broth and berries. Add water if needed. Stir in the honey. Cook over a low fire until all is tender and blended. Salt to taste.

Vegetable Shchi Soup

Serves 10

4 oz. dried mushrooms                2 Tbs Butter

3 onions                                   2 Tbs dill

2 leeks                                     2 carrots

2 lbs sauerkraut                         Sour Cream

3 med. Potatoes

Kasha - Buckwheat Groats

Serves 6

1 cup buckwheat groats

2 cups boiling water

½ tsp salt

1 Tbs oil

Brown buckwheat in an ungreased skillet (cast iron works best).  Cool.  Bring water to a boil and add salt and oil.  Stir in the cooled groats.  Cover tightly.  Reduce to low heat and continue cooking on low heat, stirring carefully once or twice.  Allow to simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes.  When water is all absorbed and kasha looks fluffy it is ready to be served with butter, milk or as a side dish.

Green Beans with Yogurt

Cook green beans.  Let them cool and add 1 cup of yogurt per 1 lb. of beans.  If you like, spice up the flavor with sautéed onions and garlic.  This is a very typical Russian fare.

Soft Cheeses with Herbs

Serves 20

1 cup sour cream

1 cup cottage cheese

2 cups cream cheese

Minced fresh herbs like basil, dill, garlic, chives, parsley, thyme and pepper.

Combine all ingredients.  This is great with dinner or as an afternoon snack

Marjoram, bay leaves, garlic salt and pepper

Add all ingredients except sour cream to 3 quarts water. 

Bring to a soft boil, simmer for 2 hours.  Serve with sour cream on top. 

Pumpkin Porridge Dessert

Serves 6

1 pint cooked pumpkin

1 cup brown sugar

1 pint cream

Pumpkin pie spices to taste

3 eggs

Half box or more of Graham Cracker crumbs.  Combine all ingredients.  Cook over low heat, stirring very attentively. This dessert can burn very easily.

Syirniki  (Cheeses)

Serves 20

4 cups yogurt cheese or ricotta

4 eggs

1 to 11/4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

Beat eggs.  Add sugar, cheese, stir well.  Add flour and stir till blended.  Form into balls using a rounded tablespoon to measure each.  Roll balls in flour.  Flatten into patties about 1 inch thick.  Fry in a little butter until both sides are deep and golden and seem set.  (If they are brown but not set, try covering.)  Eat hot with sour cream or cool.

Here Are More Recipes and Ideas from schools that have come on site.

Russian Period Foods at Ross

Food was abundant at Settlement Ross. Below is a list of foods known to have been either grown by Ross residents, introduced to the settler's diet by Native Alaskan or Pomo cultures, or brought to the colony through trade. All but the foods known to the Pomo people were, of course, introduced to the region's ecology. Seeds and plants were brought from all over the world. Radishes, for example, came from China. The Spanish introduced the peppers grown at the settlement from South America. The list is not intended to be a complete inventory, and research is ongoing.

Grown Fruits: 

peaches, apples, pears, apricots, cherries, quince, plums, grapes, melons such as casabas, watermelons, cantaloupes.                 

Grown Vegetables:                                                                 

winter squashes, pumpkins, cabbage served both fresh and as sauerkraut, beets, turnips, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, radishes, horseradish, peas, beans, lettuce, parsley, mints,

Grown Grains:

millet, wheat, barley, buckwheat (kasha).                                                

Grown Flowers: roses, calendula.                                            

Honey: from beehives in the orchard

Mushrooms: gathered from nature

Domestic Meats:

Chicken for meat, feathers, or eggs. Cattle for meat, milk, cheese, butter. Pig for meat and hides. Goat for meat and hides.  

Wild Animals

Deer for meat, hides, and horns.

Elk and Bear for meat and hides.  Quail for meat and feathers.

Fish: various ocean and freshwater

Pomo Influence:

purslane, miner's lettuce, mustard greens, wild onion, bay laurel, acorns, hazelnut

wild grains, roots of cattail, shellfish

dill, fennel, wild carrot, blackberries,

huckleberries, thimbleberries

Trade with Spanish, European, Chinese, or merchant ships

Rye, cornmeal, oats, rice.          


Herbs and seasonings

Sage, pepper, rosemary, ginger, dill, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, molasses, poppy seed.

Olive oil.

Beans: garbanzo, Mexican frijoles.



Tea, coffee.

Cranberry juice or other locally grown fruit juices

Russian Kvass (a yeasted fruit drink

Native Alaskan Influence:

Sea Lion: meat, skins.

Seagull: eggs, feathers.

Seal: meat, oil, intestines

Meal Time at Colony Ross

As in many cultures, the kitchen is the favorite or central spot of the home. Russia is not different. It is where families gather for meals, friends get together to chat over a cup of tea and welcomed guests feel the warmth of Russian hospitality.

Depending on where you are from, Russians refer to the three meals of the day differently.  To most Americans, these are breakfast, lunch and dinner or supper. Russians start the day with breakfast or zavtrak. It is a hearty meal, unlike most Americans who either skip breakfast or just grab a quick bagel. A Russian breakfast will include a protein such as eggs, sausage, cold cuts and cheese.  This is accompanied by bread and butter with tea or coffee.  Hot cereals are particularly popular with mothers. Yes, Russian children get their first shot of energy from a hot bowl of oatmeal, just as most of us did!  Cold, boxed cereal was introduced to Russia in the early 1990's and is, generally speaking, found only in specialty stores.

Russians don't have a meal called lunch.  In fact, this was a generally not understood term until the 1990's.  The second meal of the Russian day is taken around 1 o'clock p.m. and is called obyed or dinner.   This is the main meal of the day. Appetizers, zakuski, highlight this meal.  One can easily make the mistake of making a meal out of a selection from such delights as caviar, pickles, smoked fish and various combinations of vegetables. Soup is a part of dinner along with the main course of meat or fish. The main dish is usually accompanied by a starchy food: potatoes, rice, or noodles and vegetables: fresh or marinated. Finally there is dessert!  Last course might be cake, stewed fruit or vegetables.

The evening meal is served around 7:00 p.m. or later.  It is supper or uzhin. It is similar to dinner but without the soup and often, dessert.  One notable exception is, in the agricultural regions, field workers take their soup with supper and not with dinner.

Children and the elderly enjoy a mid-afternoon nap followed by a snack. Everyone, young and old, enjoys a nice cup of tea. It is the most common breakfast beverage.  Orange juice is not a breakfast staple in Russia.  Water and soft drinks may be served with dinner or supper. Coffee and tea are offered at the end of these two meals.  Of course, festive occasions and celebrations mean the presence of wine, vodka or cognac! 

Tea was introduced to Russia in 1640.  Russian ambassadors from the Mongol camps brought with them packets of tea.  It was instantly praised for its medicinal powers and ability to refresh and purify the blood.  By the beginning of the 18th century tea had become the national drink and asking one to partake in tea was a traditional sign of hospitality.  A samovar was essential to the brewing of tea and they began appearing at this time in a great variety of shapes and sizes.  The traditional spherical, cylindrical and tapered samovars began to be made in great quantities so that by the end of the 19th century production was around 1/2 million per year.  The samovar creates its own coziness at the table and the participants generally declare the tea is usually tastier.

Tea from the Samovar

A Russian Tea Party begins when the hostess fills the samovar with cold water and puts burning coal in the draft chimney.  She boils the water and carries the samovar to the table.  To make the tea she rinses a porcelain or ceramic (never metal) teapot with some boiling water.  She fills the teapot with loose tea (using 1 tbs. of tea for every 3 cups of water) and pours boiling water until 3/4s full.  After letting it steep for 5-6 minutes, she tops the essence off with some more boiling water. 

Tea from a samovar is a mixed drink: strong tea from the pot, diluted to taste with hot water from the spigot.  Serve with sugar cubes and a slice of fresh lemon. 

Russian Terms

First course                   Pervoe Bludo

Appetizers                    Zakuski

Soup                            Sup

Salad                           Salat

Main Dish                      Vtoroe Bludo

Dessert                         Sladkoe

Bread                            Hleb

Rice                              Rees

Rye                               Rozh/Rzhanoi Hleb

Wheat                           Pshenica/Pshenichnii Hleb

Sausage                        Kolbasa

Beef                             Govyadina

Pork                              Svinina

Lamb                             Baranina

Rabbit                            Zayac

Chicken                         Kurica

Veal                              Telyatina

Ham                              Vetchina

Dumplings                      Pelmeni

Fish                              Ryba

Trout                            Forel'

Egg                               Yaitso

Omelet                          Yaeshnitsa

Sandwich                       Buterbrod

Apple                             Yabloko

Pears                             Groosha

Peaches                         Persiki

Cucumber                      Ogurets

Tomatoes                      Pomidor

Potato                          Kartofel

Cabbage                       Kapusta

Onion                            Look

Sour cream                   Smetana

Milk                              Moloko

Juice                            Sok

Tea                              Chai

Coffee                           Kofe

Salt                               Sol'

Pepper                          Pyearets

Sugar                            Sahar

Parsley                          Petrushka

Dill                                Ukrop

Basil                              Basili

Beets, Potatoes and Tomatoes

What contains vitamins A and C and potassium, has been used as a bone salve, a sinus remedy, rouge, a cure for toothache, and the base for a really tasty soup?  Why, the humble beet, of course. Named for its resemblance to the Greek letter beta, the beet is a relative of leafy spinach.

There are three groups of beets: root beets, leaf beets, and the uncultivated sea beet. The leaf beet was the first to be domesticated, its name, chard, was derived from the Latin cardus, or thistle. Leaf chard was eaten 2000 years ago by the Greeks and Romans but the root of this early beet was unimpressive and used chiefly as a medicine. In the second or third century, Italian farmers developed larger roots and beets began appearing at mealtimes throughout Europe. During the Middle Ages, in the first of several historical collaborations between the two countries, German farmers improved on the "Roman beet" developing the rosy, round root we enjoy today.

Beets have been used and prepared in a wide variety of ways throughout culinary and nonculinary history. Sixteenth century sinus sufferers were advised to inhale beet juice to "purge the head".  It was recommended that cooks of the same period wipe their beets with fresh dung before cooking them. One assumes that the beets were then peeled prior to consumption; and one is glad that twentieth century cooks use a common vegetable brush. Young women in the nineteenth century used beet juice as rouge, but that is the extent of the practical use for beet dye.  Although it will redden the cheeks, fingers, and Easter egg shells, beet dyed fabric will fade upon washing.

So beets can't be used to make dye, but they can be prepared in many dishes to die for. Russian borscht, a hearty beet soup, is a fine example.  Many people enjoy beets pickled, although some beetophiles feel that pickling obscures the beet's distinct sweetness. If a small beet is added to apples being cooked for sauce, the resultant product will be a pretty rose pink.

Potatoes were first domesticated in the Peruvian Andes about 6000 years ago where they were a staple of the Incan diet.  The Spanish discovered potatoes while searching for gold and took as many as 80 varieties back to Spain.  These plants so intrigued the French and Italians that soon they could be found growing throughout Southern Europe.  People refused to eat potatoes, though, because they were thought to resemble the hands of lepers and it was feared that they carried diseases.  The first potatoes in Europe were grown as novelty.

Despite a bitter-tasting introduction into England where the tubers were discarded and the leaves eaten, the English took to eating potatoes.  They were especially welcome in famine-plagued Ireland where it was discovered that a family of six could, with relatively little labor, live for a year on the potatoes produced on only an acre and a half of land 

Still, throughout most of Europe the potato was snubbed as livestock or slave food.  In the late 1600s, after a disastrous crop failure, Emperor Frederik Wilhelm ordered all peasants to plant potatoes as famine relief or lose their noses and ears.  At first disliked, the potato soon became part of the Prussian diet.

King of France Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, in an apparent effort to appease the masses, embraced the potato to the extent of adorning their hair and clothing with potato flowers. The potato soon became a popular French vegetable.

The potato has become a staple throughout the world.  In 1845 when black rot attacked Ireland's potato crop 1.5 million Irish citizens died and another million immigrated to the United States.

Today most of the controversy around the potato has dissipated leaving us only to argue about whether or not the spuds are fattening. They are not. They are loaded with many vitamins and minerals. A potato plucked fresh from the ground and steamed or baked to perfection needs no butter – its delicious plain. Honest!

Tomato: In 1591 when the Spanish arrived in Mexico, Europeans had their first contact with the tomato.  A native of Western South America the tomato was widely grown from Peru to Mexico.  The Spanish found the plants, with their gangly vines, ugly but the curious red fruit was interesting enough to be carried back to Europe. Since it is a member of the deadly nightshade family it was thought to be poisonous and planted only as an ornamental.

Within a few years taste overcame fear and tomatoes became a popular addition to the cuisine of old Spain. Portugal, Morocco and Italy followed the Spanish lead but England and France viewed the tomato as attractive on the outside, like a peach, but deadly on the inside.  This view is how the tomato came to be called the "wolf Peach" in England.

The English brought their tomato fear with them to colonial America. It was common for doctors and ministers to speak out against the tomato.  All of this changed on September 26, 1820, when on the courthouse steps in Salem, New Jersey, Robert Johnson ate a tomato in public.  Quite a crowd gathered but Mr. Johnson failed to die.  Soon seed companies began to offer the "love apple" and by 1860 commercial harvesting of tomatoes had begun. 



By the time the long and winding car ride is over (you may want to supply each car with a few plastic bags in case of car sickness emergencies), the students are truly excited. It is a VERY good idea to burn off a bit of that energy before they arrive at the fort itself.

The walk from the Reef Campground to the fort is a wonderful experience. It is a short walk (only about a mile, 15-30 minutes), safe away from the edge of the cliffs, beautiful and a great way to begin the students' historical experience.  It is a wonderful visual experience to see the fort looming ever larger on the coastline as you get closer and closer.

The campground is about ten miles north of Jenner. It is a good idea to plan for a snack when you arrive. When everybody has arrived, all cars will drive to the fort to quickly unload the gear, leaving behind the teacher, children and enough adults to make the walk safely. Note: The campground is closed December 1 through March 31. Please walk around the gate. There is a pay phone at the campground entrance.  You must monitor the students at all times, to avoid misuse of this phone.


Walk downhill through the campground until you get to the parking area/turn-around at the bottom of the road. Look up the hill to the North for the trail to Fort Ross. The trail is marked. Follow the trail to the Sandy Cove; descend to the sand, cross the creek, and up to the fort. Don't rush on the hike. Encourage them to ask questions. Look at the local flora and fauna on the marine terrace and out to the sea for ships or whales. Taking your time to enjoy and learn gives the drivers more time to unload. If the cars are still unloading in front of the fort, then slow your walk or spend some time at the cove.

WARNING:  On very rainy days or on days just after heavy rains, the creek may be impassable. If it has been raining, please call us at the fort a day or so before your program date to ask if it is possible to safely cross the creek.


Drive from the campground a few miles north to the fort entrance. Go past the entrance kiosk and drive to the dirt road at the end of the parking lot. Follow this road to the fort itself. The speed limit on this road is 10 mph. Please drive slowly.


Please find the Park Interpretive Specialist inside the Officials' Quarters for instructions. It works best to take personal gear out of the cars and put it just inside the fort wall or if the ground is very damp to pile it up on the benches or the picnic tables inside the fort. If it is raining all the personal gear will go in the Rotchev House for the day. Do not put gear into the buildings in which the children will be sleeping. Personal gear will be moved into sleeping quarters after the fort is closed to the public at 4:30. Food and kitchen gear can be carried to the kitchen area by the fire pits in front of the Officials' Quarters. You will need to unload very quickly to insure that cars are moved and drivers are back at the fort before the children arrive from their walk.  As soon as the vehicles are unloaded, drive your car back to the Visitor Center Parking lot. Cars must remain in the upper parking lot during your visit! The next morning when you are ready to leave Colony Ross, you may bring cars to the front gate of the fort only long enough to load supplies.

For groups who cannot walk from the campground (light rain, heavy mist, creek too high) we request that you let the children off at the end of the parking area with supervision. It is best not to stop at the Visitor Center when you arrive in the morning because it can detract from the historical experience of the fort. Parents drive the cars down to the fort, unload gear, and then drive back to the parking area.  When everyone has reunited, walk to the fort compound together to be greeted by the Interpretive Specialist.  If it is raining hard please drive directly to the Fort and unload gear.

Cooks'  Onsite Task Sheet

Officers: 1.) ________________________ 2.) _________________________

Fort Ross Cooks:

1.  ______________________________           AKA ______________________

2.  ______________________________           AKA ______________________

3.  ______________________________           AKA ______________________

4.  ______________________________           AKA ______________________

5.  ______________________________           AKA ______________________

6.  ______________________________           AKA ______________________



1.      Organize pots, pans and cooking materials on the tables in the kitchen area. Look at recipes and decide in a group when you have to do what.

2.      Churn butter.

3.      Prepare snack to serve at 3:00 pm.  Make beeswax candles for class.

4.      Prepare dinner meal to serve at 5:15 pm (varies with sunset)

5.      Prepare a group skit, song or presentation for the evening that will communicate what your group did and experienced.  Write in journal.

6.      After 4:30, move personal sleeping gear into Kuskov House.

7.      Know when to stand your night watch and what your morning clean up chores will be. 

8.      Morning:  Prepare and serve breakfast by 7:30 AM. Make sure everybody is up!!!

9.      Return kitchen equipment to proper place in ELP room. Please be sure all utensils are thoroughly cleaned, pots washed inside and out and dried before taking back to the storeroom. Please be neat.

Rules and Responsibilities:

1.                  Follow the Officers' instructions at all times.

2.                  Obey all safety rules--be especially careful with knives, axes and fire.

3.                  Keep the kitchen area as neat and clean as possible.

4.                  Wash hands before handling food.

Night Watch:   9:00 – 11:00   Wake up Artisans in front of the Rotchev House.

Morning Responsibilities: Pack personal gear, and remove it from the Kuskov house.  Check for wax and litter.  Continue with breakfast and cleanup. If your group is finished and another group is not, ask: "What can I do to help?"

Stockade Litter Pick Up – All groups line up shoulder to shoulder and walk the inside of the fort for a full stockade cleanup.

Morning Hike (optional): Orchard, beach, or cemetery.

Night watch is a unique part of the ELP and it is mandatory.  It becomes a time of reflection. Surrounded by the coastal night and sounds, students can imagine what it must have been like at the fort in the "old days".  An on-site night watch log is available to record any thoughts the students may have while on the night watch. Your students may also bring their own journal to write in at night watch.  Parents must sleep in the same area as their assigned group so they can get the group to watch duty quickly and quietly.


Each group will have three tin candle lanterns.

Lanterns should be out when the group sleeps.

No lanterns burning without adult supervision inside buildings.

Night Watch Duties:

·        Keep close eye on glass candle lanterns.

·        Keep the fire going- a small fire is all that is necessary.

·        Parents pour the hot water for one cup of cocoa or tea. Keep the teapot filled with water.

·        Each employee will have two Russian tea cakes.

·        Write in night watch log.

·        Take a night hike; star gazing (weather permitting).

·        Walk the perimeter of the fort as a group.

·        Quietly play checkers, staves or cards to pass the time.

·        Clean up your mess when your watch is over.

·        Keep doors closed in the OB – watch for raccoons.

·        Visit privies before you go to your sleeping quarters.

·        Wake the next group as quietly and quickly as possible.

·        Notify the teacher in case of any kind of problem.

Night Watch Reminders:

·         Each employee will be accompanied by an officer at all night time activities.


·        Block the privy doors with a piece of wood to prevent them from slamming.

·        Students are not to play with candles or candle wax.

·        At no time should students wander off alone.

·        The First Aid Kit will be kept at the kitchen area.  Emergency phone is in Interpretive Specialist's office.

Night Watch Schedule and Sleeping Arrangements:

Night watch is important for the safety of the fort and the group. The following schedule is for an all-night watch.  The sleeping arrangements described work well for waking one watch group while not disturbing others. Militia serves the fifth night watch to start fires for cooks.

First watch:                          9:00 -  11:00             Cooks                 sleep in the Kuskov House

Second watch:                  11:00 -   1:00         Artisans:           sleep in front of Rotchev House

Third watch:                      1:00 -   3:00          Hunters:           sleep in Northwest Blockhouse

Fourth watch:                    3:00 -   5:00          Gardeners:        sleep in the back of Kuskov House

Fifth watch                        5:00 -   7:00          Militia:              sleep in Southeast Blockhouse

Wake-up for breakfast        7:00 -                        Cooks:                sleep in the Kuskov House

Additional Clean Up


Personal gear removed, floors swept, candle wax scraped off, mud/dirt swept out, litter picked up.

Washing dishes

For washing dishes, we provide three large washtubs:  one for soapy water, one for sterilizing bleach rinse, and one for a clear water rinse.  You will need to bring bleach and soap.  The first washtub should contain hot water and dish soap.  The sterilizing solution should contain warm water with 1 tablespoon of 5% chlorine bleach to each 2 gallons of water.  The utensils should be soaked for 30 seconds or more, and then rinsed in the third tub of hot, clear water.  Please dry all the utensils before putting into boxes or sending them to the ELP closet. Use ash to get the soot off the pots and pans. It really works!

Red Vinyl Table Cloths

Wipe clean and dry the tarps used to cover the tables in the Officials' Quarters before you fold them.

Caring for Cast Iron

There are many fine cast iron pots available for your use.  They are wonderful to cook with and are very authentic, but need a little care.  After cooking in one of the pots, it should be wiped clean, using mild soap, never a strong detergent.  Do not scour; scouring will remove the natural seasoning of the pot and cause rust and possibly metallic taste.  If at any time it is necessary to scour or scrape, be sure you do it as little as possible.  Wipe a little oil around inside of the pot and lid to season.  DO NOT SEND WET POTS BACK TO THE ELP CLOSET!

Putting Things Away

All of the items we provide for the ELP must be put back into the ELP storage closet by the group

Broken Items

Please let the Interpretive Specialist know if anything is broken so we may be able to replace it before the next ELP group arrives.