First of May is a great holiday for the Russian people. In Soviet times, it was celebrated as International Workers’ Day when all Russian people got together in peaceful demonstrations to show their solidarity with working people all over the world.

People at demonstrations met with their old friends, socialized, laughed and sang songs. The holiday always had a good spirit and was loved by all Russians. Those times have past, however, and nowadays, 1st of May is known in Russia as Spring and Labor Day. It remains a pleasant holiday but it’s not celebrated as much as before.

There are still reasons to celebrate it. First, it’s the most pleasant time of the year, when nature comes alive to its fullest extent. Second, it’s a wonderful reason to invite your friends and family for a barbecue lunch. You might surprise your guests with a lovely new spring dish.

If you’ve never before made shashlik, it’s perfect time to do it. Originally a national Georgian dish, shashlik was very popular in the Soviet Union and it still is in post-Soviet Russia. Shashlik is usually made from lamb meat cut into bite size pieces, marinated, threaded on skewers and grilled. For a healthier choice, you can make shashlik from lean meat or even chicken breast.

The most important thing about making this delicious dish is to marinate the meat properly by coating it with special shashlik spices, sprinkling with vinegar or wine and leaving it overnight to absorb the flavors. Before grilling, the meat is threaded on skewers alternating with tomatos and onions. Just before serving, spread special sauce on your shashlik. M-m-m… My mouth is watering.