RUSSIAN CUISINE

There is an old Russian cookbook, written by Elena Molokhovets: ”Advise to a Young  Housewife". Cuisine image
I still have an old copy of it, printed in 1896 in old Russian orthography. One piece of advice is:


"If you have unexpected guests and have nothing to serve them for dinner, send a cook to the cellar and let people (or servants) give her …”. and a list of groceries followed.

It was so funny for me in my 20's 30's and 40's to think of someone who had a cook, let alone a cellar where many provisions are kept.

But temporo munantur and the October Revolution were involved deeply in this transition.
Rows of cooks marched willingly to government offices as you know, according to Lenin, "each cook will govern the country."
Orphaned citizens needed now to perform cooking duties themselves, although there was little to cook with imagine making any chef-d oeuvre from frozen potatoes or rusty herring...
Later on, though, some of the cooks returned to their pre-Revolution workplaces, but only to families of the ‘more equal’, a tiny minority of the country's population. The rest- the 'less equal'-were already accustomed to surviving without help.

As time passed, in the mid 1980's, new advice appeared in one of the women's magazines.  But what do we need to know now? 


“If you make cutlets or stuffed cabbage, save a small tennis ball amount of the ground beef deep in the freezer.
And, if you were so lucky one day to buy macaroni, keep them deep in the kitchen cabinet.  And – at last! – “If you have unexpected guests… boil macaroni, fry ground meet, mix it together - and dinner is ready!'

So, different times, different advice: a gap of nearly a century with a whole epoch hidden in between. These were years of revolution and civil wars, years of famine in the Ukraine and along the Volga River. These were cursed war years when pancakes made from potato peels were considered a blessing.
But we endured, perhaps not we, but our mothers and grandmothers. We were doctors, scientists, teachers in addition to great cooks for our families.  We absorbed the old skills of our ancestors and added our young strengths and abilities. We created new recipes, but never forgot our old favorites, the old Russian recipes like bliny, pirogi, pelmeni, and oladji.
Whenever we could buy flour, sugar, eggs,and – especially – yeast, we made our golden brownish round pancakes! Friends came and shared these bliny with sour cream, melted hot butter, herring, chopped hard-boiled eggs, and whatever else we had on hand.
The frozen vodka bottle, the liquid of the Gods, was poured into small shots- and the feast began!

 

So, here they are - the old Russian recipies!

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