From Russia with Love

Passport to Community Education series introduces learners to foreign cultures and cuisines.
Moscow on the Hill executive chef Gary Krasner adapts Russian mainstrays for delicious dishes that resonate 5,000 miles away from Mother Russia.

Sochi, Russia, will host the XXII Winter Olympic Games this month. Sochi is a large resort city on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. You may be surprised to learn that temperatures in this Russian city are typically warmer than in Minnesota this time of year.
But there is much more to learn about Russia than climatology. And here in Edina, families can discover Passport to Community Education, a series of classes focused on strategically selected global cultures, including Russia. From fitness to cuisine, crafts and literature, check out these Russia-related educational offerings, just in time for the Olympics.

Introduction to Kettlebells is a workout class featuring this popular exercise tool that was developed in Russia in the 1700s. Kettlebells were allegedly once used to measure grains and other goods. As Russian culture values physical strength, vendors would swing and lift kettlebells to show their strength during festivals and fairs, and quickly recognized the health benefits related to this activity. The class helps enhance core strength and burn fat; open to various fitness level, all in a supportive environment.
Five weekly classes begin February 24, 6-7 p.m. at the Edina Community Center. Price is $75.

Crime and Punishment: Novel Study
Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment was the literary sensation of 1866 in Russia. Immerse yourself in this stunning psychological portrait of an intellectual who loses his moral compass and the detective who hunts him down. Impress your friends, family and co-workers by rattling off Russian names with flair and ease.

The Romanovs: Reality and Myth

In 1613, 16-year-old Mikhail Romanov became Tsar of Russia, inaugurating a 300-year dynasty. The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis recently opened a new exhibition, “The Romanovs: Legacy of an Empire Lost.”
This class is an introduction to the exhibition and the centuries of Romanov rule it reflects. Carol Rhode, lead docent at the museum will help you explore the culture through historically significant objects, photographs, paintings, works on paper and books.
Learn more about the tragic end of the dynasty in 1917-18 and the dispersal of the remaining family members and their treasures after the Bolshevik revolution.
Classes offered 10–11:30 a.m. or 6:30–8 p.m. February 10. $10 per person. An optional tour of the Romanov exhibit is February 13 at 10:30 a.m. Tour sign-up is offered during class and costs $9 for adults and $7 for seniors.

Blini, Borscht and Beyond: A Series on Russian Cuisine

A review in the Minneapolis Star Tribune of an amazing-looking cookbook/cultural history, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing by Anya von Bremzen prompted Cheryl Gunness at the Edina Community Education to contact the author of the review, Danny Klecko McGleno, who is CEO of St. Agnes Baking Co. in St. Paul. He in turn introduced Gunness to Gary Krasner, executive chef at Moscow on the Hill in St. Paul.
These connections led chef Krasner to teach a Russian cooking class for Edina Community Education. “This is exactly what community education is all about,” says Gunness. “Making connections in the community and finding people to share their passions with their neighbors!”
Krasner was born in Belarus and later moved to Israel, where he worked in several French restaurants and earned a culinary degree. He traveled to Minnesota in 1999 to visit relatives and decided to stay. His culinary style adapts Russian mainstays for delicious dishes that still resonate some 5,000 miles away from Mother Russia. Three evenings (6:30–8:30 p.m.) at the community center (5701 Normandale Road; 952.848.3952) are planned: Russian soups, savory pastries and salads on February 11 for $59; Fall in Love with Russian Dumplings for $49 on February 25; and Russian dinner party favorites on March 11 (also $59).

Mommy/Daddy & Me: Discover Russia

Discover Russia through its folk art. In this class, you’ll create your own Russian-inspired project while learning a little bit about the country hosting the Winter Olympics. Professional art teachers from Abrakadoodle Art Education provide a positive and nurturing environment for art exploration in this class where giggles, grins and individual creativity are encouraged.
This class meets weekly, February 25-March 11, 10-10:45a.m. at the Edina Community Center. Price is $39 per parent/child pair. Register one additional child for $8.

Visit for more information and to register for all Passport to Community Education classes.