*Given Russia’s prominence in the news and the murder of Boris Nemtsov, we have a few more “All Things Russia” posts for this week! See links below.
If it hadn’t been for the Cold War, Darra Goldstein’s A Taste of Russia (1983) would likely have received a favorable review in The New York Times.
In fact, the Times had scheduled to run a piece doing just that, until, Goldstein writes, “as luck would have it, the Soviets shot down the KAL jetliner on publication day, accelerating hostile sentiments”, thereby halting publication of the review.
Published during Ronald Regan’s presidency in 1983, when the U.S. and Soviet Union were “still locked in the Cold War”, Goldstein’s book provides a plethora of historic information and recipes on Russian cuisine, featuring everything from borsch to blini. Read more
Mystery seems to roll across the vast Russian landscape like a Siberian blanket of snow, spreading a dusting of enigma on nearly every aspect of life – including food. Or so is the case with Borshch, one of the great soups of the world that serves up its own culinary mystery in its seemingly endless varieties and different spellings.
Borscht. Borsch. Bortsch. Borstch. Borshtch. Borsh. Borshch.
But, what exactly is Borsch?
While “cultured” Americans are likely to spell it with a ‘t’ (Borscht) and describe it as “a beet soup served chilled”, with a little detective work we learned that during the long Russian winters, Borshch is served piping hot and is spelled without the ‘t’ (Borshch). Read more
Russians may not necessarily be known for their fairy tales, but they certainly know how to create a fairy tale setting – or so is the case with the Russians running a cozy restaurant tucked away in New York City’s Flatiron District: Mari Vanna.
Walking into Mari Vanna’s is truly like stepping into a fairy tale setting: adorned with old photographs, worn flowered wall paper of another era, Matrioshka dolls, porcelain figurines, crystal chandeliers, a library full of Russian literature and comfortable linen tables decorated with fresh flowers, it is as if you are entering your “babushka’s” house – the Russian equivalent of “grandmother.” Read more