How do I begin again? It seems like forever since I wrote the last post on Syrian food. How does one start revisiting the art of cooking? Well here goes…I start with what I know which is to pick up a cookbook and read writings on cooking. I went to the room where my collection of cookbooks reside with each one beckoning to me “pick me.” I looked at French writings, perused Japanese food pictures, and glanced over classical Mexican recipes. I kept getting whispers to pick up and shake the dust off of a 1983 copy of “The Art of Russian Cuisine” by Ann Volokh and Mavis Manus. Russian? I know. I think we can all agree that Russia is not sending out good vibes these days or years. Putin-dare I say more?
Good Vibes Picture
In the past, I have written posts sharing that international food cooking was and still is my protest. When I cooked “country” food in our home, our family learned to embrace that country’s contributions- the people, the problems, and the praises by offering prayers and thanksgivings. This is a reminder on why I started cooking international food and investing my energy in writing. It is an escape from the politics du jour. Eating food is so much better than the biting remarks from political pundits on either side of the isle.
So what about this cookbook that draws me in? I cooked and wrote about Russian food a few years back. I fell in love with the conversations about mushroom foraging (the national sport-hunting all kinds of mushrooms), egg collections, and blinis. Not to mention the decadent Beef Stroganoff paired with a nice Champagne. How about a Zakuski ceremony (hors’dOeuvre), an epicurian feast table filled with piroghi’s, ham, caviar, salmon, marinated salt-pickled vegetables and fruits, dark and white bread and don’t forget the vodka.
My oldest daughter went to Russia a few years back to do some work with orphanages and nursing home facilities. She said that it was hard to find the kind of old time Russian cuisine she was used to eating when I cooked it. No matter where she went, she could not find beef stroganoff. She told me that she had to come home to get some good Russian food. She also told me that some of the places that she stayed were impoverished. After 3 weeks there, she was slightly food disappointed. When my husband and I traveled to Europe, we decided to take unbeaten paths and found some of the best of that country’s food offerings. I have a feeling that as a 22 year old, my daughter might not have felt safe to take the untraveled path alone.
I did what I did best…picked up a Russian Cookbook (a different one) and made the best bef stroganov that Catherine the Great would be proud of.
Join me this fall as I attempt some time honored recipes. Along with Beef Stroganoff, how about some Borsht, fish and mushrooms, Blinis, and pierogis. Follow me again and thank you for your faithful reading. Look for pictures and recipes. I may get out my recipe for Beef Stroganoff tonight and pray for the Russians, and for Americans. I will offer up to God all the divisions and conspiracies and take up my pot and wooden spoon and make my protest heard through food.
Here is this link to a recipe very close to mine: