"After graduating from Carleton College in June of 2007 with a B.A. in Russian, I'll be spending my Fulbright year in the city of Krasnodar, researching and writing a collection of creative non-fiction essays on the collision of and interaction between traditional and contemporary food culture in Russia's agricultural heartland.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, an influx of foreign foods, fast-food chains, and Western ideas about proper nutrition and food safety challenged customary Russian foodways head-on, and has wrought dramatic changes in the ways people buy, prepare, consume, and socialize over food. I'd like to investigate the scope and impact of these changes as they affect real lives, putting down the stories of individual farmers, vendors, home cooks, and restauranteurs I'll meet over the course of the year.
Studying abroad in Russia in 2005, I constantly used my writing as a tool to make sense of an unfamiliar and captivating world. The term I spent living with a host family in Moscow and soaking up Russian language and culture alongside my friends and professors stands among the most fulfilling periods of my life thus far. Summer in Vladimir, where I was volunteering for a local youth organization, brought with it berry-picking at the dacha and all-day picnics in the forest. It was always over food and drink that the cultural and linguistic barriers separating "Russian" from "American" were most readily broken down, and through these sorts of experiences that I believe international community and understanding can most effectively be forged."