Sneak Peak

The Russian Celebration of Spring, Maslenitsa

Happy Week-of-Eating-Blini-Every-Day!  Maslenitsa is a holiday that comes at the end of winter, meant to usher in the spring and celebrate the new warmth and coming bounty. In pagan times, the predecessor to Maslenitsa was Komoeditsa, celebrated the week before and the week after the spring equinox. Its celebration consisted of rituals with both a…

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Preface

I have this one memory. It’s pale gray. In it, the white sky and the white snow fade into the one, and the pale gray buildings stand only a shade darker. Only the deep black splotch of my fur coat stands out. It is immobilizing on me, only four or five years old, too young…

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A Brief History: How do we know?

Cyrillic was not invented until 863, so how do we know what went on in nascent Kievan Rus? Much of our knowledge we owe to medieval chronicles, local texts that existed in many regions, written and compiled by monks. The originals of most of these chronicles have not survived, but we find them – cut,…

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About Russian and Ukrainian Soups

SOUP Soups – the first course – are represented in Russian cuisine like no other. No meal is complete without soup, considered filling and healthful, recommended to the elderly and those with a “dry countenance” as soup is thought to protect from dehydration. Soup is simply imperative and to skip the first course is unthinkable.…

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Literature: Anton Chekov, Blini

Did you know that blini have been around for more than a thousand years, from the old, so-called Slavonic ab ovo[1]? They came into the light prior to Russian history, experienced it all from the beginning to the last page, and there is no doubt that, like the Samovar, they were thought up by a…

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Recipe: Borsch!

Borsch is the first thing that most people think of when they think of Russian and Ukrainian food, and it’s no wonder. For the Slavs, borsch isn’t soup, it’s borsch. There are hundreds of recipes, some quite different, some very different. Traditional red borsch is prepared with meat and vegetables: cabbage, beets (to give it…

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Recipe: Herring Under a Fur Coat

Just like olivie, vinaigrette, holodets and borsch, everyone’s got their own recipe for seledka pod shuboi, Herring Under a Fur Coat. They might include hardboiled eggs, fresh apples, greens, cheese and more, layered and decorated differently. The classic recipe involves pickled herring and boiled vegetables, slathered in a large amount of mayonnaise, which makes the…

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