"We're Not Gluttons, we're Gourmans"
"OK" Magazine Interview
trans. M. Diffley
The family couple of Maria Petrova and Aleksei Tikhonov, world and 2-time European champions in pair skating, heroes of the TV show "Stars on Ice", destroyed myths about the dry laws for athletes. "One glass of light wine after dinner won't hurt" they smile. "Alcohol has a mass of plusses - stress reduction and it gets the body ready to fight a cold the minute you start to notice one is starting. The main thing is to know moderation and not drink before training and definitely not before competing."
What's your favorite drink?
Maria: "Glintwine. It smells like a lemon or orange peel, which probably is what gives it its sense of celebration, New Year. For me, this hot drink is irreplaceable in the winter. I'm always cold. Although lately some heated rinks have appeared…but we train without gloves, because otherwise lifts are uncomfortable. I remember how we skated in a show in Garmish-Partenkirkh ene, New Year 2001. At midnight, all the people flood out on the street and drink this hot wine out of clay mugs. The aroma was like a fairy tale! Then people took the mugs home for the memory or broke them right there for good luck. When I got home, I asked my mom to help me boil this magical drink. Now it's easy, in the store they have mixes, but when you make it of your own ingredients, it tastes much better."
Aleksei: "We also love to run over to friends for tea. In our own Peter(burg) we go past our friend’s house, (Olympic champion singles skater Aleksei Urmanov) and I say, 'Masha, let's go have a cup of tea'. She warns me, 'we have to get up early tommorrow'. And, really, it can't be quick. We see each other rarely and want to tell each other so much. Plus, I'm godfather to their 5 year-old sons. The twins, Vanya and Andrusha, meet us at the doorstep "Hooray, Maha and Leha came!" After TVSOI we got new friends. For example, we recently visited the home of Masha's partner Igor Butman and his wife Oksana. After rehearsal, we ran over for a second and gabbed until 3 a.m...."
...On to food...what' s the favorite?
A.: “Oh! We're such gluttons, that I'm simply lost.”
M: “We're not gluttons, we're gourmans! Each nationality' s food has its own awesome quality. We love Italian pasta (especially with seafood), light vegetables, Greek salads, Japanese sushi and sashami.... “
A.: “But, most of all, we like Russian food. I think there is nothing better than homemade crumbly potatoes, seledka (Maureen: salted, raw fish that goes hard and has to be crushed by hand or knife into bits) and pickled foods made by our parents. A shot of vodka is a great addition to that bouquet.”
M.: “Recently, I find myself growing fond of soups. Especially borsht. It's fantastic, I don't know how I lived without it.”
About food while living in Japan
A.: "Now I adore Japanese food, but it wasn't so easy for me at first. My acquaintance with the local delicacies developed gradually. The president of the club where I trained took me out to a restaurant with European food first. I remember how I was so impressed with the high quality of the food. Then, a bit later, he invited me to try shabu-shabu. There was a pot on a fire in the middle of the table and you had to dip into this boiling pot different vegetables, tofu cheese, finely cut pieces of pork and beef. It was very beautiful. At first, I was wary of sushi, but when I saw how touchingly respectful Japanese were of this food I decided to try it."
Have you tried the super delicacy - poisonous fish fugue?
A.: "No and I don't plan to".
M.: "Two years ago, Lesha and I were in Japan and stayed at a hotel, where there was no English-speaking restuarant in the vicinity. We went to the nearest one because we didn't want to go far after the long flight and travel. Lesha pulled out some Japanese fish names out of the pockets of his memory and they brought us such unusual sashamis. They just melted in your mouth. I never had anything more tasty in my life!"
A.: "It was also in Japan that I first tried Indian food. It's very spicy - my head even began to sweat. I also found Chinese food very interesting. In Peking our friends Shue Zhen and Hongbo Zhao (3-time world champions) took us to local restaurants. I'll never forget chan with oily sauce in which bits of fish were swimming."
A.: "Masha did things as you should - learned it all from her mom and grandma. I was different. I lived with my parents in Samara and was in grade 7. I decided to make a cake. The kitchen was full of smoke. I burned the crust. Now it's tough to say that it turned out and was tasty, but my parents ate it and even praised me."
Cooking for Self - Time?
M.: "We only cook what's quick and simple. Like tomato sauce, tomato and mozzarella salad with wine vinegar and basil. I checked that out in Cyprus on holiday."
A.: "Sometimes Masha makes me meat, baked with cheese, onion and mayonnaise."
M.: "My grandmother and parents keep a cow, and bring me steak. I was trying to say no for a long time, because it's not hard to find it in the store these days. But if I don't want to take their meat, they get offended, "Could it be bad for you? We're giving you real meat, not that synthetic stuff." There used to be whole pasture of cattle in our village, but now there are only 5 cows left. “ (Maureen: Maybe she should turn down that steak! Just kidding….)
M.: "When I was 20, my body was changing and I really didn't eat after 6 p.m. and even skipped dinners. It was terrible suffering. But now, I have no problems with weight. Unlike Lesha, I don't even gain a gram on holidays."
A.: "Actually, we have to make sure that we don't lose weight. At competitions we each can lose up to 4 kilograms (almost 9 pounds). A quick loss of weight affects coordination and can hurt jumps and spins."
Is there an ideal weight ratio for partners?
A.: "I never thought about that.... Masha is half my weight - 45-46 kilos (about 100 lbs). So it's easy and pleasant for me to do the lifts. On the other hand, our large height difference (I'm 187 cm, she is 152 cm) interferes. So that the lines will look good, I have to sit low in the stroking. It's a huge pressure on the hip muscles, which is really tough for me at the end of the program."
Breakfast - fruit yogurt, tea or coffee with something sweet (unfatty cookie, cottage cheese in chocolate, or nuts in condensed sweet milk)
Lunch (in between morning and evening practices). A light soup or piece of meat.
Dinner. (The main meal. Usually at 9 - 10 p.m., they just can't manage to eat earlier. But they never go to bed less than 3 hours after the last time they ate.) Salad and meat dish.
Breakfast is the same.
Lunch is quickly digested food: some small portion of pasta, rice, fish, or light soup (depending on what's on the hotel menu)
Before leaving the hotel, about 2 hrs 15 minutes before the start, they have tea or coffee with a piece of chocolate. Masha puts on make-up in between, Lesha plays with the TV remote.
After the competition, they have dinner, which can be well after midnight.
500 grams beef
1≈2 sour apples
2 small beets
400 grams mayonnaise
Lesha inherited this recipe from his mom. You boil the beets, carrot and beef. The beef has to be cut in tiny pieces and mixed with mayo, and laid in the salad dish. Then the layers, finely chopped onion, grated apples, grated carrots and grated beets. After putting down each layer, lay on the mayo! On top put down a heavy layer of pomegranate granules. Give it a chance to sit. (Maureen:I'd guess make it in the morning, put in fridge and have for dinner, so it all soaks in.)
2 average-sized onions
800 grams cut beef slices
250 grams mushrooms
300 grams cheese (maureen: Probably a soft one)
250 grams olive-flavored mayonaisse (maureen: or without olive flavor)
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the beef into large thin slices, beat the meat, pepper and salt it.
Cut the onion into ring slices.
Cut small pieces of mushrooms. You can use Champignons (field mushrooms) but Masha prefers to use the mushrooms from her mother (she freezes them to keep them good) or white ones.
This all goes into the pan in layers. Onion, then meat, mushroms, grated cheese, mayonnaise. Bake in oven for 40 minutes (Maureen : no temperature is listed because you usually can't tell - 300-350 should do it). Parsley and other green herbs make a nice look and potatoes a great garner.