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fd-Russia-msg – 3/31/13


Russian food. Russian cookbooks.


NOTE: See also the files: Russia-msg, kvass-msg, Russia-bib, Rus-Handbook-art, Rus-women-art, fd-Poland-msg, Kiev-Slavery-art, Russian-Snaks-art.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



From: mcs at unlinfo.unl.edu (M Straatmann)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: kvas reference

Date: 29 Nov 1993 22:46:24 GMT

Organization: University of Nebraska--Lincoln  


In my last post discussing kvas with Balderik, I promised the

reference and then promptly forgot to include it.  Here it is:


Bread and Salt

A social and economic history of food and drink in Russia.

R.E.F. Smith and David Christian

Cambridge University Press 1984

ISBN - 0 521 25812X


Good book,




From: ddfr at aol.com (DDFr)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Cook needs translated Russian Sources!

Date: 10 Dec 1995 01:46:34 -0500


Lady Aoife Finn asks for translated period sources for Russian cooking. So

far as I know, there is only one: _Domostroi_. The English translation was

published a year or so ago by Cornell University Press. It is a household

management book, probably composed in the mid-16th century, with some

later additions, and includes a few recipes and a lot of talk about food.

If you use it, you may want to correspond with me about points where the

translation seems to be wrong; in particular, it sounds as though what is

translated as "sour cabbage soup" is something more like Alegar.




So far as period sources for Steppe, Mongol, etc. cooking the nearest I

know of is the _Ain I Akbari_, which contains ingredient lists for thirty

16th century recipes from the Mughal court of Akbar (northern India).


Good luck. If you find other period sources, please let the rest of us

know about it.



From: innana at imap2.asu.edu

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Russian Stuff!!

Date: Wed, 23 Oct 1996 10:40:32 -0700

Organization: Arizona State University


On 19 Oct 1996, 'Jherek' W. Swanger wrote:


> This may be a bit after the period he's interested in but...


> The Domostroi : rules for Russian households in the time of

> Ivan the Terrible / edited and translated by Carolyn Johnston

> Pouncy. --  Ithaca, NY : Cornell University Press, 1994.


       Excellent source, good stuff on culture and there is a section on

food in the back.  This leads me to a question on food.  There is a

reference to "stuffed stomach".  The footnote says that it is probobly

a cleaned pig's stomach stuffed with sausage (yep, Russian haggis).  So

does anyone know of a recipe for this dish?





From: lobel at is.nyu.edu (Sheldon Lobel)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Russian Stuff!!

Date: 23 Oct 1996 22:35:16 GMT

Organization: New York University


innana at imap2.asu.edu wrote:

:       Excellent source, good stuff on culture and there is a section on

: food in the back.  This leads me to a question on food.  There is a

: reference to "stuffed stomach".  The footnote says that it is probobly

: a cleaned pig's stomach stuffed with sausage (yep, Russian haggis).  So

: does anyone know of a recipe for this dish?


I don't know if this will have any historical relevance or identity but -

Russian Jews make a (how do I describe it?) stuffed chicken skin.

The same stuffing is also used to stuff intestine (the russian for

intestine being Kishka - in american kosher stores howevver, these have

become vegetarian).

Anyhow, I could ask my mom for the stuffing recipe if folks are






Date: Sat, 12 Jul 1997 18:04:39 -0500

From: L Herr-Gelatt and J R Gelatt <liontamr at ptd.net>

Subject: SC - Re: sca-cooks V1 #197


>Mark Harris wrote:

>>> Is this Russian Cherry Soup period? Sounds like it probably isn't. Could

>> you please post this recipe anyway? Or send to me by email? It sounds

>> interesting.


>I suspect that it probably is period, or derived from some earlier

>version that is. An earlier version of the "Syrosye" recipe calls for

>the inclusion of "vlehs gret", or great flesh, which is probably chunks

>or slices of a large joint cooked (or partly cooked) whole and

>separately, either by boiling or roasting. The thickening of bread

>crumbs suggests it is quite early, too. Actually the Russian Cherry Soup

>sounds like borscht made with cherries. (Doesn't borscht just mean soup

>anyway? But you know what I mean.)


I'm sorry, I can't post the recipe. I got my copy of "Elena Molokhovet's Gift to Young Housewives" through Inter-Library Loan and, annoyingly, they wanted it back in 2 weeks! Anyone have a copy they'd be willing to thumb through or live near a large library? I didn't save my recipe, since Icouldn't get the stuff to look appetizing (thick pink soup with sour cream by candle light looks like---pardon me, please---vomit). I served something

else at the Russian feast instead---home made stuffed dumplings in vegetable broth.


The recipe itself isn't period. The book (currently, to my knowledge, the EARLIEST KNOWN Russian cookbook) was first published 30 years before the fall of the Czars. It is surmised that there are no other surviving historical Russian cookbooks because the Communists destroyed themanuscripts, whose contents centered largely on cooking for religous observance. An alternate theory is that the Russian people were fairly illiterate, so didn't write down much. Many of the nobility imported French Chefs. It is fairly easy to thumb through "Gift" and observe which recipes show outside influences, however. Tomatoes do not make an appearance, and Corn on the cob appears only in a recipe that instructs one to "slice" the corn, cob and all! So, the general consensus is that over time Russian cooking underwent few changes, or underwent these changes far later than the rest of the world, at the time of Mrs. Molokhovet's writing. BTW I was under the impression that Borshcht was simply Vegetable soup ofsome sort, and didn't have to include beets. I vaguely recall a recipe for aSummer Borshcht that involved pot herbs and summer veggies (and dill).BUT, for my Russian Cherry Soup I used  canned tart cherries (Oregon brand,which had the pits, but lacked a little in color). My kids ate it, though,so it just goes to show you how good it is. They've gotten a little wary of"Mom's Wierd Food". I have noted that it is now possible to get dried,pitless cherries at my grocery store in small quantities, at a large price.Does anyone have any experience with these?





Date: Sun, 13 Jul 1997 01:28:42 -0700 (PDT)

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: sca-cooks V1 #197


At 6:04 PM -0500 7/12/97, L Herr-Gelatt and J R Gelatt wrote:

>The recipe itself isn't period. The book (currently, to my knowledge, the

>EARLIEST KNOWN Russian cookbook) was first published 30 years before the

>fall of the Czars. It is surmised that there are no other surviving

>historical Russian cookbooks because the Communists destroyed the

>manuscripts, whose contents centered largely on cooking for religous

>observance. An alternate theory is that the Russian people were fairly

>illiterate, so didn't write down much.


It depends what counts as a cookbook. _Domostroi_ is believed to be mostly

16th century, and it has a few recipes, along with a lot of stuff about

food. Cornell University Press published a translation a few years ago.






Subject: period Russian cookbooks

Date: Fri, 30 Jan 98 20:01:31 MST

From: Stephen or Stephanie Dale <sdale at mail.tqci.net>

To: "Mark.S Harris" <rsve60 at msgphx1>


In Chamberlain's bibliography, all the works that she cites are

postperiod. However one, _The_Traditional_Russian_housewife_ by N.P.

Osipov, is from 1794 and printed in Moscow, and she has 5 that are from

the 1800's. The biggest problem with Russian cooking is that it was

reworked by Parisian cooks during the reign of Peotyr the Great.

Chamberlain states frankly that early Russian cuisine was nothing but

"peasant food" and mostly vegetarian for all but the wealthy (Mother

Russia has been consistently impoverished since the Mongol invasion).

The French effectively bastardized native cooking and that's why it is

hard to find period cookbooks.


                               In service,

                               Stephanie Dale



Subject: kvas (from Stephanie Dale)

Date: Fri, 30 Jan 98 16:52:27 MST

From: Stephen Dale <sdale at mail.tqci.net>

To: "Mark.S Harris" <rsve60 at msgphx1>


I just found this nifty little book that has period recipes from Russia.

By Leslie Chamberlain, it's called _The_Food_and_Cooking_of_Russia. Not

all the recipes are period, however. I posted info about period noodles

from it on Rialto today. Chamberlaine says that kvas was the national

drink from the 1500's. She gives a recipe that she claims is similar to

hard cider, and she makes it herself.


               1 tbsp dried yeast

               5 0z malt extract

               12 oz rye flour

               3 1/2 oz buckwheat flour

               3 1/2 oz wheat flour

               4 1/4 pts water

               1/2 tbsp dried mint


Add yeast and one tbsp of flour to 1/4 c. warm water. Mix the flours

together. Dilute the malt in some hot water, then add to the flour with

two pints of the water above. Stir well, getting out all the lumps.

Allow to stand 5 hours. Then blend in the rest of the water, the yeast

and the mint. Allow to ferment for twelve to twenty-four hours then

strain and bottle. She suggests that the corks be put on loosely, and

that the brew be served chilled.


I'll try this soon and let you know!


Aislinn Columba of Carlisle

aka Nadya Petrovna Stoianova



Date: Mon, 02 Feb 1998 20:47:36 EST

From: melc2newton at juno.com (Michael P Newton)

Subject: SC - my russian inn- a success


well, winter challenge has come and gone and my inn was quite well

received (the feast is another story, and so another post). I ended up

serving a borscht that was a clear soup, what a lovely red!, and three

types of turnovers- pork and vegetable (the most popular), cheese (which

was a little on the salty side, being a combo of feta and farmer's

cheese) and walnuts. For drinks, I served margaret's grape juice and

vinegar concoction previously posted on this list, and coffee (I know, I

know, <sigh>). My main problem is that I didn't make enough turnovers; if

I had known in advance how popular they were going to be I would have

made a lot more than 25 of each. The borsch was raved over by those brave

enough to try it, but it was a nice sunny day here in Oakheart (that's

Springfield, MO, for whoever wanted to know where we were all at) and not

a lot of people were interested in soup (now if we had a blizzard....)


the recipes all came from Festive Ukrainian Feasts, and are traditional

rather than period; although I did double check in the Domostroi to see

if they were at least period-oid.


Meatless Beet Soup

(Pisnyi borsch)

2 lbs beets

1 carrot

1 parsnip

1 turnip

2 celery ribs

2 medium onions

1 bay leaf

3-4 peppercorns

3 dried boletus or 1/2 lbs chopped mushrooms

1 quart of beet Kvas or 1 teaspoon sour salt (crystallized citric acid)

2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground pepper

2 tsp fresh chopped dill


Soak boletus overnight. Cook in a little water until tender. [I used the

button mushrooms so I skipped this step] Scrub beets and cut into

quarters. Cover with water and cook over low heat until tender, about 1

to 2 hours. Cool and pour off liquid [save this, you'll need it later].

slip off peels. [the fun part!] This may be done a day in advance.

Peel and cut up the other vegetables. Add bay leaf, peppercorns and

mushrooms to vegetables, with enough water to cover and cook in a large

non-aluminum pot over low heat until tender. Strain beet liquid into

vegetables. Shred beets and add. Simmer for about 10 minutes and strain

into a large pot. To keep broth clear, do not press the vegetables.[I

did, it wasn't, oh well]Add souring agent, mushroom liquid [if you did

the first step] pepper, and salt. Bring to a gentle boil then turn heat

low. Taste; the flavor should be tart, mellow, and full. For more

tartness[you should need this, to me, it was plenty tart - but then

growing up in the midwest may have something to do with that], add fresh

lemon juice or sour salt. Keeps well in refrigerator. Reheat gently; do

not overcook or the color will turn brown. Garnish with chopped dill.


Since this is getting long, I'll give the turnover recipes in another




Date: Wed, 04 Feb 1998 20:18:08 EST

From: melc2newton at juno.com (Michael P Newton)

Subject: SC - my russian inn- a success


Ok, now for the turnovers -



(baked Turnovers)


2 1/2 c. flour

1/4 lb. of butter

1/2 c. sour cream

3 egg yolks

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg white beaten with a little water for glaze


Combine flour and cold butter in a processor, or cut in butter with a

pastry cutter into coarse crumbs. Add egg yolks, salt, and cream, and

knead lightly until dough forms a ball. Cut in half, wrap in plastic

wrap, and refrigerate for a least 2 hours or overnight.

Roll out half of the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch

thickness. Cut rounds with a 3 in. cutter or wine glass. Place a spoonful

of filling to one side of each round, then fold over other half. Seal

edges with a little glaze, sprinkle with sugar, and bake in preheated

375F oven about 20 minutes. Cool on racks.


This makes a very sticky and elastic dough.


Orikhova masa

(walnut filling)

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup grated walnuts

       (or almonds)

1 tablespoon whipping cream or evaporated milk

4 egg whites

1/2 cup flour


Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg whites and beat well.Combine

grated walnuts, cream, and flour, and mix well. If almonds are

substituted, add a drop of almond extract.


Pyrohy z syrom

(Turnovers with cheese)


4 oz. dry farmer cheese

4 oz. crumbled bryndzia or dry feta cheese

1 Tbsp. butter

1 large egg

1 Tbsp. fine dry bread crumbs

1 Tbsp. fresh chopped dill or chives (or both)


Force cheeses through a sieve or mix well in processor. Mix in butter,

egg, and bread crumbs. Add chives/dill. Taste and adjust seasoning,

depending of the saltiness of the bryndzia.


Vegetable and meat filling


1 med. turnip

2 carrots

2 large potatoes {I just used 3 turnips                   instead}

2 c. water

2 onions

2 Tbsp. bacon fat or oil

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons pepper

2 beef bouillon cubes

1 lbs. lean pork or beef, minced or coarsely ground

2 teaspoons spiced whiskey (optional)


Peel and dice vegetables. Combine with water, bring to a boil and cook 5

minutes. Drain and reserve liquid. Saute chopped onions in fat until

golden, combine with vegetables, add salt and pepper. Dissolve bouillon

cubes in 1/2 c cooking broth, add whiskey, and add mixture to vegetables.

Stir lightly with wooden spoon, but do not mash. Add meat to vegetables,

cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight for flavor to develop.


the pork and vegetable turnovers were the most popular of the three, with

the cheese and walnuts coming in a very close second.

However, today, a friend told me that a few of the fighters were miffed,

because I opened the inn at 11:30 and was sold out by 12:30, and since

the fighting didn't stop until 2, they didn't get lunch. has anyone else

had this problem?





Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 16:11:47 -0500

From: "Jennifer D. Miller (Yana)" <jdmiller2 at students.wisc.edu>

Subject: SC - cookbook info?


>I recently received a catalog from Jessica's Biscuit (all cookbooks)

>which has one called "Classic Russian Cooking" by Joyce Toomre. It is

>written up as a translation of the cookery recipes from "A Gift to Young

>Housewives" by Elena Molokhovet (date??). Has anyone seen this one,

>and can you tell me if it is what it claims to be?


>Barony of An Crosaire, Kingdom of Trimaris


Unfortunately, the recipes are not documentably period.  It was written in

the late 1800's or early 1900's (sorry) and is a wonderful source of

"modern" Russian cooking, but not SCA period.


- --Ilyana Barsova (Yana)

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/6376/ --Home Page

http://vms.www.uwplatt.edu/~goldschp/slavic.html --Slavic Interest Group



Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 12:28:45 -0800

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - re:  Domostroi


kat asked for Russian recipes; Mordonna referred her to the Miscellany for

one from the Domostroi and kat had trouble finding the recipe in question.

Here it is:


Russian Cabbage and Greens

Domostroi pp. 162-3


Chop cabbage, greens, or a mixture of both very fine, then wash them well.

Boil or steam them for a long time. On meat days, put in red meat, ham, or

a little pork fat; add cream or egg whites and warm the mixture. During a

fast, saturate the greens with a little broth, or add some fat and steam it

well. Add some groats, salt, and sour cabbage soup; then heat it. Cook

kasha the same way: steam it well with lard, oil, or herring in a broth.


Note: the ingredient translated as "sour cabbage soup" turns up elsewhere

in the Domostroi in lists of things to brew: "For brewing beer, ale, or

sour cabbage soup, take malt or meal and hops. Beer from the first grade

makes good sour cabbage soup. You can make vinegar, too, from a good mash."

This suggests that it may really be something like alegar (beer vinegar).

We therefore substitute malt vinegar.


Version 1

2 3/4 lb green cabbage (1 head)

3/4 lb turnip greens

3 c water

meat: 1 1/2 lb beef or lamb

6 egg whites

1 c dry buckwheat groats (kasha)

2 t salt

"sour cabbage soup": 4 t malt vinegar


Version 2

2 lb green cabbage (1 head)

5/8 lb mustard greens

2 1/2 c water

1 1/4 lb pork butt roast

1/2 c cream

4/3 c dry buckwheat groats (kasha)

1 1/2 t salt

"sour cabbage soup": 1 T malt vinegar


Chop cabbage and greens very fine. Bring water to a boil, add cabbage and

greens and simmer 30-40 minutes covered. Cut meat into bite-sized chunks.

Add meat and simmer another 25 minutes (this time probably depends on the

cut of meat). Add groats, salt and vinegar, and cook another 15 minutes

uncovered on moderate heat, until the liquid is almost absorbed. Stir in

egg whites or cream, heat for a minute or two, and remove from heat.


These are two possible interpretations of a recipe with lots of

alternatives. In particular, it is not clear whether the groats, salt, and

"sour cabbage soup" belong only to the fast-day version or to both meat-day

and fast-day versions; we have assumed the latter.


Elizabeth/Betty Cook (who has finally caught up with the list)



Date: Wed, 25 Aug 1999 10:19:40 -0500

From: "Chris and Trish Makowski" <roecourt at mindspring.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Lefse/hleifr


>As a final comment, the way I read this, the rye referred to is the grain

>and the flour is rye flour.  No other flours or grains are mentioned.  This

>matches the historians opinion that rye was the common grain of the north.

>Since this is a cook book for households, it suggests that other grains,

>such as wheat, may have been expensive or difficult to obtain.  If there are

>other recipes in the cookbook which use different flours, it may be that

>other grains were just hard to find.  If no other flours appear in the

>cookbook, then prohibitively expensive is a strong contender.

>Thank you for putting this within my grasp.



for those intrested, there is a copy of the Domostroi in english now, and

lists alt, rye, wheat and oats as grains avaliable in the time of Ivan the

Terrible. Granted that's right at the end of period, but considering that

it's Russian it's probably a bit behind the times.


I got my copy at Half Price Books:


"The Domostroi: Rules for Russian Households in the Time of Ivan the

Terrible", edited and transated by CArolyn Johnston Pouncy, Cornell

University Press, Ithaca and London, 1994


Has 2 ISBN's: cloth; alk paper 0-8014-2410-0

                        pbk; alk paper  0-8014-9689-6


It also has chapters on feast foods, and two chapters of "recipies" on

drinks and maily veggie dishes.



Anastasiia Iliianovna Kiianin



Date: Fri, 27 Aug 1999 16:03:06 -0500

From: Jenn/Yana <jdmiller2 at students.wisc.edu>

Subject: Re: SC - Domostroi Recipes


>Have you checked the original of the term that she translates as "sour

>cabbage soup?" In context, it sounds as though it might be alegar or

>something similar.



I thought you'd like to know that.  :)


The original term is "kislye shchi", which does literally translate to

"sour/fermented cabbage soup" (shchi).


Conjectures follow:


I am wondering if it (the sour cabbage soup) might just be the juice

leftover from making pickled cabbage/sauerkraut ("kislaia kapusta").  Maybe

"kislye shchi" is a term for the juice?  I don't know.  Maybe it is a soup

in and of itself like rassolnik.


As for alegar, there are modern Russian recipes for making soups that use

beer or kvas (lightly fermented mash beverage) as a base or use pickle

(various types) brine.


*Rassolnik (cucumber pickle and brine soup)

*Solyanka (a savory, tart soup/food in which sauerkraut or pickled

cucumbers are one of the main ingredients).


Modern recipes for shchi say that you can use sauerkraut instead of fresh

cabbage, but you have to drain the juice first.  Perhaps the Domostroi

recipe has you adding some sourness by pouring in some reserved juice?



Ilyana Barsova (Yana)  jdmiller2 at students.wisc.edu


Slavic Interest Group http://www.uwplatt.edu/~goldschp/slavic.html



Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 15:48:00 -0500

From: Traci_Bjers at radian.com

Subject: RE: SC - Russian dishes


Bit of a late reply (working on getting a newsletter out the door) - but

here is an entry I submitted in our kingdom cooking competition earlier this

year and it tied for first place (probably because of the vodka shots) and

all the dishes received raving reviews from the populace we invited over



It's an age old custom that seems to still be in practice today (according

to Web search finds of modern day Russian hangouts).  So, it should qualify

as comfort food for your visitors, while still incorporating your historical

interests; yet it's not a presumptuous full course Russian meal that only

their grandmothers could make (and potentially snicker at after they leave).

You may want to ask your visitors for a recommendation (or to bring some) of

their favorite vodka.


- - Angelika




Origin: 9th Century, Northern Russia


The cuisine of zakusky (meaning "to bite it down") are appetizers that are

served to chase down shots of vodka.  Serving zakusky with vodka is a

typical Russian dining custom, which dates back to the ninth century.  It

was adopted from the convivial Scandinavian smorgasbord, or cold board, when

Rurik became the first czar of Russia.  This tradition is usually conducted

as a social hour in Russia as a chance to relish in frequent toasts before

the main meal is served.


Originally zakusky consisted of herring and other fish, game and meats.

Herring, the favorite chaser, is generally accompanied by dark rye bread and

pickled vegetables.


MENU: Vodka; Rossolye served with rye bread; Pickled Mushrooms; Pirozhki




Rossolye (herring salad): Russians almost always eat herring with vodka.

The salted or preserved fish may be served with oil and vinegar in a

marinade or made into some inventive dish. (Recipe from modern cookbook)


1 medium tart apple, cored, peeled and chopped

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

1 fillet of pickled herring, diced

2 hard-cooked eggs, shelled and diced

1 cup sour cream

2 Tb wine vinegar

2 Tb sharp mustard

1 tsp sugar

salt to taste

Mix together sour cream, vinegar, mustard, sugar and salt and spoon over

other ingredients.  Mix.  Serve in a mound on a plate or in a bowl.  Garnish

with slices of beets and wedges of egg.  Serve with rye bread.  Serves six.


Pickled Mushrooms: Mushrooms would be preserved to use throughout the year

and pickled mushrooms are one of the most popular zakuska. (Recipe from

modern cookbook)


1 lbs small mushrooms

2/3 c red wine vinegar

1 small bay leaf

6 whole peppercorns

3 whole cloves

2 tsp salt

1 Tb vegetable oil

Clean mushrooms and remove stems.  Put caps in a saucepan with lightly

salted water to cover.  Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes.  Drain and

cool. Spoon into a jar.  Put vinegar, bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, and

salt in saucepan, and bring to boil.  Pour over mushrooms.  Spoon oil over

them and cover jar tightly.  Leave at least 3 days before serving.  Remove

from marinade to serve.  Serves 4 to 6.


The above Russian version of Pickled Mushrooms falls in line pretty closely

to the following period recipe from Sir Kenelme Digbie's The Closet Opened,

as found in Cariadoc's Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks.


"Pickled Champignons"


"...Cut the great ones into halves or quarters, seeing carefully there be no

worms in them; and peel off their upper skin on the tips: the little ones,

peel whole.  As you peel them, throw them into a bason of fair-water, which

preserves them white.  Then put them into a pipkin or possnet of Copper (no

Iron) and put a very little water to them, and a large proportion of Salt.

If you have a pottle of Mushrooms, you may put to them ten or twelve

spoonfuls of water, and two or three of Salt.  Boil them with a pretty

quick-fire, and scum them well all the while, taking away a great deal of

foulness, that will rise.  They will shrink into a very little room.  When

they are sufficiently parboiled to be tender, and well cleansed of their

scum, (which will be in about a quarter of an hour,) take them out, and put

them into a Colander, that all the moisture may drain from them.  In the

mean time make your pickle thus: Take a quart of pure sharp white Wine

Vinegar (elder-Vinegar is best) put two or three spoonfuls of whole Pepper

to it, twenty or thirty Cloves, one Nutmeg quartered, two or three flakes of

Mace, three Bay-leaves; (some like Limon-Thyme and Rose-mary; but then it

must be a very little of each) boil all these together, till the Vinegar be

well impraegnated with the Ingredients, which will be in about half an hour.

Then take it from the fire, and let it cool.  When the pickl is quite cold,

and the Mushrooms also quite cold, and drained from all moisture: put them

into the Liquor (with all the Ingredients in it) which you must be sure, be

enough to cover them.  In twn or twelve days, they will have taken into them

the full taste of the pickle, and will keep very good half a year.  If you

have much supernatant Liquor, you may parboil more Mushrooms the next day,

and put them to the first.  If you have not gathered at once enough for a

dressing, you may keep them all night in water to preserve them white, and

gather more the next day, to joyn to them."


Pirozhki: Small round plump pastries made with non-sweet dough and filled

with various food combinations.  The term is derived from the old Russian

word pir, meaning feast.  Can be made with either raised dough or plain

pastry. (recipe from modern cookbook)


1/2 lb ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

1 hard-cooked egg, chopped

1 Tb fresh dillweed or 1 tsp dried

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

Cook beef and onion.  Stir in rest.



3/4 c butter, soft

2 c flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 c sour cream

Cut butter into flour/salt.  Stir in sour cream.  Gather into ball.  Divide

into fourths.  Cover with damp towel.  Roll each into 12" circle.  Cut out

3" circles.  Place filling in center of each.  Fold over and moisten edge

with water and seal.  Place seam side down on cooking sheet.  Brush with egg

yolk. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.




Vodka: Vodka ("little water") is the preferred Russian alcoholic drink.  It

is an unaged grain alcohol distilled from wheat, rye or other grains.


Herring: Herring has been caught in large quantities for centuries in the

North and Baltic Seas.  Preserved fish was another practice the Russians

adopted from the Vikings.


Rye: Eastern Europeans started cultivating rye in 1700 BC.  It became the

major bread grains of Slavs in northern areas where the growing season is

too short for dependable wheat production.


Mushrooms: Mushrooms of many varieties have always grown in abundance in

Russia. Again, due to the severe winters, Russians learned to preserve

foods for winter use, such as pickling vegetables.


Dill: Dill is the favorite herb for Russian flavoring.  The herb is a

native to southern Russia and the Mediterranean region, and was well known

throughout Russia dating back to the first century.




Grieve, M.  A Modern Herbal.  Dorset Press, New York.  1992.


Nelson, Kay Shaw.  The Eastern European Cookbook.  Dover Publications, Inc.,

New York.  1973.


Trager, James.  The Food Chronology.  Henry Holt and Company, New York.




[This is a Postscript sent to me by email about the feast in the previous message - Stefan]

Subject: RE: SC - Russian dishes

Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 19:24:03 -0600

From: Traci_Bjers at radian.com

To: stefan at texas.net


My Lord Stefan, hope this finds you in good health and spirit-


The feast went very well, thank you. That's sort of why I'm still

overwhelmed by it all - that I actually fed that many people and didn't have

any big problems (and stayed within my budget!).  I'm only receiving the

digests from the lists now (since I'm picking it up at work) - so I'm not

interacting much with it - but I'll give you a rundown:


It was the Anniversary Banquet for Golden Rivers (Principality of Cynagua,

Kingdom of the West).  Since the guest of honor is our champion, who's

persona is 3rd Crusade - that was my theme.  I took them on a "culinary tour

from Hereford to Mersailles to Acre."  Seeing as how that is a pre-recipe

time period, my dishes were an interpretation.  Since I believe that a good

meal shouldn't rely on the food alone - that presentation and atmosphere

play a key role to the enjoyment of the meal, I had my husband and friends

do some reenactment to introduce each course:  recruiting troops for King

Richard and giving them this send off meal for their long journey; meeting

up with the French and having one last night of enjoyment and entertainment

before heading across the sea to battle; and then being presented with the

exotic food and dancers of Jerusalem. Anyway, the menu was:


1st course:

Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

Onyon Pies (well received)


Beef Soup (my favorite, since I spent weeks corning beef to make the soup)

Perrey of Pesoun

Assorted Bread

Appel Potage


2nd course:

Entrement: Goce Farced and Gravy (tried to decorate it as our mascot - a

golden salmon - but I lost the fish parts during the day.  Still had it

laying big red "salmon eggs" though.  And it was carried in swimming against

a current of blue streamers swooshed about by the servers accompanied by

flute music)

Poucins Farcies and Cold Sage Sauce (well received)

Champignons (baked with brie & leeks - most requested recipe)

Herb Salad (well like by veggie eaters)

Assorted Bread

Poires d'angoisse


3rd course:

Leg of Lamb


Buran (well liked by eggplant eaters)


Sanbusak Bel Loz with Sweet Filling and Cheese Filling

Lauzenay (well received)

Ices with Orange syrup, Lemon syrup, and Pomegranate Syrup (topped off the

evening very nicely)


We had a great time - I can't wait to plan my next feast - maybe something

that has recipes this time... (but that would be too easy, huh?)





Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 15:42:07 -0500

From: Jenn/Yana <jdmiller2 at students.wisc.edu>

Subject: RE: SC - Russian dishes


Not to knock your wonderful essay and your thoughtful attempt to provide us

some Russian food history, but there is actually no evidence for zakuski

having a 9th century origin.  The first mention of "zakuski" isn't seen

until the 18th or 19th century (I'll need to look up the exact date).

There aren't any images of zakuski being served and there aren't any

archaeological finds to support an early origin that I know of.  The idea

that zakuski evolved from the "Viking" smorgasbord (is smorgasbord even

period?) is folklore and is perpetuated in many English _and_

Russian-language cookbooks (and yes, zakuski is still very popular today).


>From pp. 174 of _Bread and Salt_ by Smith:

"As a result of West European influences upper class meals were modified in

two main ways [in the 19th century].  First, the formal meal was no longer

started with bread and vodka as in the sixteenth and seventeenth century,

or cold soups as later, but with open sandwiches of meat, fish or

cheese...Such food sometimes constituted a meal.  This development was a

stage in the emergence of the Russia hors-d'oeurve, called zakuski, of

which the great range known today only arose in the nineteenth century."

(the second influence was that sugar began to replace honey, FYI)


And vodka (from potatoes anyway) isn't period either.  There may be some

evidence of it being made in the late "medieval" period from grain, but

text evidence shows that the most popular drinks in late-period Russia were

meads, beers and various types of kvas.  Sorry.  :(


>...Rurik became the first czar of Russia.


Er, there were no tsars in Russia until Ivan Grozny ("the Terrible", mid

1500's) and there wasn't really a Russia that early (9th cen) either, but

we won't get into that.  :)


>Preserved fish was another practice the Russians

>adopted from the Vikings.


We don't know this.  Scholars still continue to debate the amount of

influence the Vikings (Rus') had over the native Russians.  Unfortunately

there is extremely little evidence on medieval Russian foodways.


Yana (Ilyana Barsova)  jdmiller2 at students.wisc.edu




Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 10:17:04 -0700

From: "Schumacher, Deborah (AZ15)" <Deborah.Schumacher at iac.honeywell.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Assistance Please - Kiev 1300s feast?


Mel had said,

>I friend of mine is planning to run a time/place feast set in Kiev in 1300s

>(I believe set around Alexander Nevsky?)


I happened to have My Compleat Anachronists here with me at work today, and

lo and behold, issue  #99 us Life in 13th Century Novgorod. It has about 6

pages on food, with a bibliography. It may be helpful for your friend.




Date: Sat, 27 Nov 1999 16:16:01 -0600

From: Jenn/Yana <jdmiller2 at students.wisc.edu>

Subject: Re: SC - Assistance Please - Kiev 1300s feast?


Ras wrote regarding the possibility of Russian cookbooks within SCA period:

>Considering that Communism and it's stranglehold has only recently been

>broken in the Eastern nations of Europe, I would think your statement is

>rather broad. Personally, I think that encouraging them to publish and/or

>allow such manuscripts to be published and translated would be far more

>practical than dismissing the possibility of their existence based on

>availability from past repressive regimes......


>With all these questions unanswered, speculating that period Russian

>cookbooks do not exist is just as absurd as speculating that they do. We

>simply do NOT know and those that are in a position to tell us the facts have

>simply not done so.

>For that matter, there are numerous college and university professors on this

>list who have a far more reasonable chance now than ever before to get their

>hands on these documents if they exist. Why have they not diligently pursued

>this path? And, if they have, why have they not spoke publicly on the matter

>or shared any information they may have received?


Well, here are the facts as I know them:

My husband (a university professor, if that matters) specifically looked

for information on SCA-period Russian culture, including food, when he was

doing research.  He checked the holdings of the Russian State Archive for

Ancient Acts (RGADA, in Russian) for this information.  RGADA is the place

where all pre-Petrine (Peter the Great) documents are kept.  There

unfortunately are NOT any cookbooks, per se.  And there are not likely any

reasons why the Communists would have held back on publishing a cookbook.

Food and foodways are mentioned within various documents of course, and an

archive catalog isn't going to show that, unfortunately, but that doesn't

mean there is a hidden cookbook out there, and certainly not something that

would have been hidden for ideological reasons.


The Russian Academy of Sciences published a book a few years ago which

catalogued all archaeological finds of this period (Kievan), and it didn't

mention any cookbooks.  I've looked.I guess we can all hope that somewhere, sometime, someone will dig up a hoard of letters with Anna Ivanovich explaining to her daughter how to makekasha, but it ain't happened yet.  I am pursuing a degree in anthropology(with an archaeological emphasis) with medieval Russia as my interest area, my particular interests are foodways and material culture, so you've got at least one academic on this list who is definitely interested in this subject.  I am always actively looking for information, and if I find any, I'll let people know.


>There is at least one group of SCA members in Russia as a request this past

>few months for information on our organization and a request for some sort of

>equipment or what not indicated. They received information and equipment

>needed, SFAIK.

>I see no reason why they shouldn't be contacted and specifically asked to see

>if such manuscripts exist. Does anyone have the e-mail addy of the group that

>was posted? I would be more than happy to post them such a request. Such a

>request would be far better than 'supposing' this or that.


The Slavic Interest Group has been in contact with them (the Proto-Incipient

Shire of Wildenburg in Vladimir and Suzdal).  If you would like to ask them

to try to find information, I am sure they would do their best.  Contact

them through their German liaison, Wolfgang(wolfgang.mueskens at fen.baynet.de).


For more info on the group, check out issues 9 and 13 of the SIG newsletter at<http://www.uwplatt.edu/~goldschp/slavic.html>;


>[Many people] of this list have went out of their

>way to post or web hitherto unavailable documents and many of them not

>speaking English as their native tongue have translated those documents or

>parts of documents into English while many in a position to do so have chosen

>not to do. Information only becomes accessible when someone is willing to

>make it accessible.


True. All I can say is that I'm working on it and eliciting help from

others in the field.-





Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 15:43:24 -0500

From: Jenn/Yana <jdmiller2 at students.wisc.edu>

Subject: RE: SC - Russian dishes


>What's the documentation for vodka in the 9th Century?  I can place

>distillation of spirits in Europe in the 14th Century, but the 9th Century

>is way too early according to my sources.



Bread and Salt by  R.E.F. Smith says that some people feel that vodka was

introduced as early as the 14th century, but that probably vodka did not

appear until the 16th century.  The distillation process was probably

introduced by the West.


In the Pouncy translation of the Domostroi, there are references to

distilled spirits (which she translates as vodka), but the Russian term

used is vague (it simply means "spirits") and it could mean brandy (from

wine) or vodka (from grain) or both.


- --Yana


Yana (Ilyana Barsova)  jdmiller2 at students.wisc.edu




Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 02:23:21 -0600

From: "RANDALL DIAMOND" <ringofkings at mindspring.com>

Subject: SC - Replies to Centre, marmalde and russian recipe queries


Yanna wrote re: Russian cookbooks availability on 27 Nov 1999 16:16:01:

>Food and foodways are mentioned within various documents of course, and

>an archive catalog isn't going to show that, unfortunately, but that doesn't

>mean there is a hidden cookbook out there, and certainly not something that

>would have been hidden for ideological reasons.




>I guess we can all hope that somewhere, sometime, someone will dig up a

>hoard of letters with Anna Ivanovich explaining to her daughter how to make

>kasha, but it ain't happened yet.


Well guess what interests I have on this subject with a name like Akim

Yaroslavich? Perhaps there are documents in the Novgorod-Seversky

excavations that we may discover available,  I would bet that if 12th

century recipes exist, it will be from those digs. My hunch is based on this

reasoning. Unlike their contemporaries in western Europe at this period, a

majority of the citizens of Novgorod-Seversky were generally literate; not

just the nobility or the church heirarchy, everyone.  Literacy  there was

very comparable to modern America, perhaps even surpassing it.  They used

the plentiful bark of the white birch tree, writing with a stylus as the

bark surface darkened when compressed.  The soil acidity and low

temperatures of this city have preserved literally tons of notes and

personal letters written on birchbark.  We have letters of mundane subjects

like a husband asking his wife to send him his two best shirts and new

underwear. This hoard of preserved data is unique to this city-state of

ancient Rus as conditions did not preserve similar data in more southerly

cities like Kiev.   If "Mrs Ivanovich" wrote her recipes down, it is most

likely that they still exist here.

I have recently discovered a Russian national selling Russian subject books

on Ebay who has sold me some absolutely wonderful resource texts on

Novgorod. She is Lyudmila Khononov, in Brooklyn NY.  Perhaps she could use

her contacts in book-selling to see if in-period cookery books are now

available. Her address is Lkon5 at aol.com .  Her company name and Ebay

sellers i.d. is"Russiantroyka".


Akim Yaroslavich



Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 15:19:45 -0500

From: "Jeff Gedney" <JGedney at dictaphone.com>

Subject: SC - Russian Birch Beer?


While reading Hakluyts "Voyages" (published in very late Period - about 1590

or thereabouts), I came across a reference in the section covering the

Muscovy Company, from about 1530, or so, when a corresponcent was

describing the foods and drinks of the Russians with which he was

presented while essentially trying to hammer out a trade deal in Moscow.

He described several types of "meades" ( including a good working

description of kvass ), one of which was " mayde of the root of the Birche

tree" ( I forget now what it was called. It was named, but the book went

back to the library ).

Do any of you know what this was, and how it was prepared?

any have a copy of the Domestroi? is it in there?





Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2000 13:03:54 -0500

From: Jenn/Yana <jdmiller2 at students.wisc.edu>

Subject: Re: SC - pickled melon documentation


Bonne wrote:

>The info from Yana on this thread was more particular. I'd appreciate

>knowing more what is meant by 'the period part' of the Domostroi.  Date

>Range and locale would be helpful.  (Or a complete title or ISBN so I can do

>it myself.)


I am currently working on an article on the Domostroi as a source for SCA

research and I will post its existence to the List when it is finished (it

will be on my website and the Russian Knowledge Page).  In short, using the

Pouncy translation of the Domostroi (the only English translation

available), chapters 64-66 were added between 1600 and 1625, chapter 67 was

added in the same manner somewhat later.  In the introduction, Pouncy

states that the menus (chapters 64-66) were separate texts that were later

added to the Domostroi (and also possibly from a translation of another

European language).


My personal view is to use the menus in my SCA research, but I don't call

them "SCA period", only plausibly "SCA period", as I prefer to have people

make up their own minds about what time range should be considered "period"

for Russia (I like to use up to the time that Peter the Great came into

power). I also always keep in mind that some of the recipes/menus may not

be Russian (but apparently known to some Russians) and that there is

possibly a class shift from middle class to upper class in the later chapters.


The Domostroi: Rules for Russian Households in the Time of Ivan the

Terrible. Ed and trans by Carolyn Johnston Pouncy, 1994.


- --Yana



Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000 00:05:25 +0100

From: TG <gloning at Mailer.Uni-Marburg.DE>

Subject: Re: SC - pierogys


<< I am considering an eastern european feast. I would like to include

pierogys with a riccotta like cheese filling with currents, honey and a

few spices. ... >>


Adam Olearius, who travelled to Russia and Persia around 1635 mentions

them in his travelogue:


"Vnter andern haben sie auch eine art Gebackens/ als Pasteten/ oder

vielmehr Pfankuchen/ so Pyrogen genandt werden/ seynd in grˆsse einer

Butterwecke/ jedoch etwas l‰nglichter/ welche sie mit klein gehacktem

Fische oder Fleisch vnd Zipollen f¸llen/ in Butter oder zu Fasten Zeit

in Oel braten/ haben einen nicht vnangenehmen Geschmack/ mit solcher

Speise wil ein jeglicher seinen Gast/ wenn er jhm g¸tlich zu thun

vermeinet/ bewirthen" (Olearius, Muscowitische vnd Persische Reyse,

second ed., 1656, p. 204).


Here, he describes the preparation of the dish ("pyrogen"): they are

filled with fish, meat and onions; they taste good; everybody wants to

serve them to a guest, if the guest is welcome.


The description looks as if this dish was something very common around

1635, so I guess one could find earlier descriptions in other



For those interested in Russian food and drink, the whole chapter "Von

der Russen Hau?stand/ gemeinem Leben/ Speisen vnd Vnterhalt" would

deserve a closer inspection [On housekeeping, ordinary life, food and

nutrition of the Russians]: Qua?, mead, "Ikari", raspberry brandy, a

dish for recovery after being drunken, ...





Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2000 03:57:24 +0100

From: TG <gloning at Mailer.Uni-Marburg.DE>

Subject: SC - Russian food/spices 15th/16th century


Just got an article that might be interesting for some of you:


- -- George Thomas: Sprachliche Belege f¸r die im Mittelalter nach

Russland eingef¸hrten Gew¸rzarten. In: Hansische Geschichtsbl‰tter

(1971) 92-103. [About spices imported to Russia from Northern Germany

and elsewhere; discusses the linguistic evidence.]


Among the sources mentioned is the report of Sigmund von Herberstein,

who was in Russia as an ambassador in 1517 and 1526. He says, a.o.th,

that he was offered "Konfekt aus Anis" (anise sweets?) in Moskow. Now,

it seems there is an English translation (I don't know if is a complete




Edited By Bertold Picard. Translated By J.B.C. Grundy. New York [1969].





Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2001 10:38:34 -0700

From: Susan Fox-Davis <selene at earthlink.net>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Russian soups was Re: [Sca-cooks] Gazpacho?


Beety Borscht and Shchi, the traditional cabbage soup, are both served hot or



Here are a couple of recipes I've found online that look good



Cold Sweet Borsch

Source: Olga, RussianFoods.com Editor

Mail to: cuisine at russianfoods.com




Cold Sweet Borsch is a traditional

summer dish. Light, refreshing and rich

in vitamins, it will diversify your summer table.




400 g beet.

400 g potatoes.

4 tb dried fruits.

3 tb vinegar.

2 ts salt.

3 1/2 ts sugar.


sour cream.

hard-boiled eggs.

spring onion.



Wash dried fruits carefully, pour over

cold water, add sugar and cook on

medium heat. Cut beet into strips,

pour over hot water, add vinegar and

salt and cook until beet is soft. Add

cooked fruits with water and cubed

potatoes to beet, boil for 20 minutes.

Cool down. Serve in deep plates with

chopped eggs, green onion and sour cream.




Shchi (Russian cabbage soup)

OK so this particular recipe contains tomatoes, they can probably be omitted.

The margin notes include a reference to shchi in a Baba Yaga tale.  What an

interesting web site this is, full of literary, historical and mythical

references to Soup in all its forms, from Aesop to Garrison Keillor!



Shchi can be made with meat or without it--with sauerkraut or with cabbage

or with both. The only thing all cooks seem to agree on is that it should sit

and cure for as long as possible, up to a day or two, before eating. This

particular recipe is meatless--and can be vegetarian if you use water or

vegetable stock instead of beef stock--but it is unusually rich and hearty, full


of flavor and textures, using both sauerkraut and cabbage. Serve hot as a meal

to 6-8 people, with lots of pumpernickel or rye bread and butter on hand.


Souptale: There is evidence that shchi was known in Rus long

before 988 AD, when Christianity was accepted--so long before

that shchi actually meant "liquid food" in the beginning, and

only came to mean specifically "cabbage soup" when that

vegetable was cultivated there. As has been described in Faves

of the Stars, shchi has been a favorite soup of characters as

diverse as a 13th century Mongol khan, Ivan the Terrible,

Nicholas II, his assassin Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong, and

Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Alexander Dumas liked it so much in

the 19th century that he included it in his cookbook. Lewis

Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, found it "quite

drinkable, though it contained some sour element, which

perhaps is necessary for Russian palates." When Russian

soldiers marched into France in 1812, they were so desperate

for the taste of fermented cabbage that they picked vine leaves

and started pickling them so they could make shchi. Its

associations, always, are with peasants, the earth, common

soldiers, ordinariness. Thus when Russians call someone "a

professor of sour shchi," they mean he's a fraud--cause you

can't earn respect by making something so common.


8-10 dried mushrooms, preferably cepes/porcini, but even

shiitakes are okay, hydrated in 1 cup hot water for an hour

3 Tablespoons butter

4 cups shredded cabbage

2-3 cups sauerkraut (cold pack--not canned, if possible),

rinsed well with cold water and squeezed dry

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

12 cups beef or vegetable stock

3 Tablespoons butter

1 carrot, peeled and cut into a julienne

1=BD cups onions, chopped

1 stalk celery, diced

1 large turnip, peeled and diced

1 16-ounce can tomatoes, drained, seeded, and chopped

salt and pepper

1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed


Garnish: chopped fresh dill mixed into sour cream


Begin by soaking the mushrooms in water. In a large Dutch

oven, melt 3 Tablespoons of butter over medium high heat,

then toss in the cabbage and sauerkraut and saut=E9 for 15

minutes, stirring often. Stir in the tomato paste and 1 cup or so

of stock, cover, and simmer of low heat for 40 minutes.


Meanwhile, squeeze the mushrooms dry and slice finely. Melt

the other 3 Tablespoons of butter in a skillet and saut=E9 the

carrot, onions, celery, turnips, and mushrooms until soft and

slightly brown--about 15 minutes. Seed and chop the tomatoes,

reserving them.


When the sauerkraut and cabbage are nicely stewed, stir in the

saute=E9d vegetables, the tomatoes, and the stock. Season with

salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low

heat--cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add garlic and

cook 5 more minutes.


Let stand at least 15 minutes--but ideally a day or so in the

refrigerator to cure. When ready to serve, reheat slowly. Ladle

into bowls and garnish with spoonsful of dilled sour cream.



From: jenne at fiedlerfamily.net

Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 08:17:48 -0400 (EDT)

To: SCA-Cooks maillist <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] olives in period Russia


> > BTW, other oils such as poppyseed, hempseed and flaxseed were used.

> Used where? In northern Europe? Or do you mean in Russia?


I believe all three were used in Russia. Poppyseed and hempseed oil were

used in Poland. Hemp oil is mentioned in the Domostroi. Smith and

Christian talk about the use of hempseed and flaxseed oil in _Bread and

Salt_. However, looking at my notes, I don't see any documentation for

poppyseed oil, though the Domostroi mentions keeping poppyseed on hand.


> Which of these plants were grown in northern Europe? If there are

> native plants that oil can be extracted from, does this mean that

> it is less likely that they would have paid the price to import olive

> oil? Or would taste (or even the extra expense) mean that olive was

> still preferred?


All of these plants: hemp, flax, field poppy, were grown in Northern

Europe and Russia. In Poland, Olive oil was imported as a special luxury

(according to Dembinska). Again, I don't have any references to olive oil

in my few sources on Russian food. I'll try to remember to ask on the SIG



-- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa



Date: Tue, 01 Jul 2003 13:06:49 -0500

From: Yana <yana at merr.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] RE: Cheese in the Domostroi

To: SCA Cooks List <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> Does anyone know if the Domostroi has anything about cheese or cheesemaking,

> or should I point her to one of the secondary sources like "Bread and  

> Salt"?


Why, yes, the Domostroi does have info about cheese. Cheese was recommended

to be produced at home (Pouncy:150), in order that you [the homeowner]

would "celebrate your good fortune every day.  You will never have to go to

market." So cheese was also commercially produced.


Cheese was kept in either the cellar, the icehouse, or in the small

storerooms (Pouncy:165).  The text lists many different foodstuffs, and

doesn't say which was stored where.


The above is from the SCA-period parts of the Domostroi.  There is no

mention of how the cheese was made in the Domostroi, in either the period,

or non-period sections.  I checked the original Russian, to see what was

being translated as "cheese," but it is just "syr", the generic word for

"cheese." I was hoping that it might be "tvorog" (a certain type of

Russian cheese) or something more specific.


In "Bread and Salt" (I'm going to abbreviate it "BaS", and may I say that

boy, you are good. You actually made me move some computer equipment

around, just to get to my cooking files.), cheese is mentioned as one of

the items eaten on Easter Sunday, as well as placed on the altar (a common

practice even today, for parts of the Easter feast to be brought to church

to be blessed) [BaS:98-99].  Cheese was also used as a filling in breads or

rich breads (korovai) in the very early 17th century [BaS:116].  There is a

mention of caviar being pressed into cheese [BaS:125], but no date that I

could find (it's hot, gimme a break).


Now since I couldn't check the original Russian for the Easter references,

it might possibly, *possibly* be that the cheese in question eventually

became part of what is called today (don't know about then, but likely the

same) "paskha," a sweetened cheese mixture that was molded into a pyramid

and marked with the Cyrillic initials "XB", which stand for Khristos

Voskres (Christ is Risen).  Think of it as a slightly grainy, crustless

cheesecake. Very yum.  It is traditionally made with tvorog, a dry cottage

cheese. Tvorog can also be pressed and drained, so that it is much more

firm and can actually be sliced (kinda crumbly, like feta).  This is  what I

would keep in mind when thinking about period Russian cheeses, that they

may have been very similar to the modern tvorog.  Easily made at home,

could be pressed and dried, which would keep much longer than in the  

more liquid-y form.


To sum up, yes, the Russians ate cheese (at least the upper-middle classes

did, and perhaps their servants), but no, we don't know what type of

cheese, or how it was made.  Hope this saves some research!


--Yana (Geez, I just rejoined the list yesterday!)




Date: Sat, 2 Oct 2004 10:05:55 -0500

From: "Susan Gideon" <twilit16 at swbell.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Russian Recipes

To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


I know this is a modern site but it does have some good recipes.

A lot of them have been passed down and are on this site so they will

not be lost to us all like so many that are passed down orally and not

written down anywhere. I hope this helps.


Elayne MacDuncan Baroness of the Eldern Hills





Date: Mon, 04 Oct 2004 08:52:26 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Russian Sources

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


This PhD might be of interest--

Cabbage and cuisine :

food in Russia before the great reforms by

Alison Karen Smith. 2000

   University of Chicago. 2 volumes


I own the following and thought the bibliography was interesting--

Bread and salt : a social and economic history of food and drink in

Russia by  R E F Smith;  David Christian

1984 Cambridge University Press


You can get always look at the actual 19th century Russian recipes

in translation from their most famous cookbook--

Classic Russian Cooking: Elena Molokhovets' a Gift to Young Housewives

translated by Joyce Toomre. It's the Russian Mrs. Beeton.





Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2004 16:39:10 -0400

From: Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise <jenne at fiedlerfamily.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Russian Sources

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


> This PhD might be of interest--

> Cabbage and cuisine :

> food in Russia before the great reforms by

> Alison Karen Smith. 2000

>   University of Chicago. 2 volumes


This covers specifically 18th & 19th century foodways, by the way...


-- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at fiedlerfamily.net



Date: Sun, 18 Sep 2005 17:07:36 -0700

From: lilinah at earthlink.net

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] sauerkraut

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


This weekend i camped at the Principality of the Mists Coronet. Our

current Prince is Russian, no really, he mundanely came to the US

from Russia. And he decreed a Russian pot-luck and party on the Eric

on Saturday night. We were requested to bring enough to feed 12


All this talk of sauerkraut stimulated me to make an adaptation of a

modern Russian soup - someone suggested it is called shchi, but i'm

not sure. - i'm sure i made enough for many more than that :-)


Anyway - i didn't use a written recipe, but...


1 bag of "baby" carrots (as a time saver)

parsnips equal in weight to the carrots

vegetable soup base (or broth of your choice...

----- an excellent cook with a Russian persona says he prefers  

chicken broth

----- i've heard some cooks say they prefer veal stock)

3 small cans chick peas/ garbanzo beans

1 large bottle of German sauerkraut (32 ounces?)

1 TB or more dill weed or more to taste

1 TB. caraway seeds or more to taste

1 lb full fat sour cream


Peel and cube parsnips.

Put cubed parsnip and "baby" carrots into stock or water...i dunno,

maybe 3 quarts... if using water, add vegetable broth concentrate (my

preference is for "Better than Bouillon" brand).

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender.

While they're cooking add dill weed and caraway seeds - i used dried  


Drain and rinse canned garbanzo beans.

When carrots and parsnips are tender, add garbanzos and sauerkraut -

the brand i had was packed into the jar *very* tightly and had very

little excess liquid which i just dumped in.

Let stand until slightly cooled.

Serve with sour cream - i just stirred the whole pint in since it was  



For home service, you could stir in some of the sour cream and serve

the rest on the side, letting diners help themselves. OR you could

dish the soup in the kitchen, and garnish each dish with a dollop of

sour cream and a sprinkling of dill.


I made my soup around 3:30 AM on Saturday, then i drove to the event

(about 2 hour drive, i got there around 8:30 AM) and i kept the pot

of soup in the shade (it was near the ocean and had cool breezes -

okay, it was windy - and was maybe in the low 70s in the sun). Dinner

didn't start until around sundown...7:30 PM? I noticed that the dill

flavor had increased in a very pleasant way.


I didn't add salt because so many of the ingredients were already

salted. If you like, you could add some black or white pepper.


Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)

the persona formerly known as Anahita



Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 11:13:33 -0400

From: "Stephanie Ross" <hlaislinn at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Zakuskas

To: "SCA-Cooks" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


The Domostroi is only marginally period. Most of it is way out of period.

The zakuska table is a 19th Century invention. I am sure that you did

a great job of it and that it was most tasty and delicious, but the concept

isn't period.




I am unsure why you think The Domostroi is OOP, especially WAY OOP. Its

translator and the text itself puts it firmly within the 1500's, during the

time of Elizabeth and when she sent envoys to Russia in hopes of becoming

the first European country to trade with them. "It was not printed until

1849 - partly because printing did not become established until the 1630's,

at least 50 years after the Domostroi, partly because when printing was

introduced, the chuch controlled the presses for its own use. By the time

private printing presses became established (after 1775) public interest

had passed the Domostroi by..." Pouncy, p. 38. Basically, by that time the

book was too quaint for the masses to care about mass-producing it.  There

are 42 hand-written editions of The Domostroi, and while the sections in

the back on feast days and wedding info were probably not written by the

original author, there is nothing in it to suggest they were from the

1800's. The wedding sections state that furs were being used as currency,

the architecture of the houses mentioned in passing was firmly 16 century,

and the structure of the wedding feast was common only during the Middle

Ages. This book is definitely period, in all its parts.


Also, you folks with European personas for whom the Middle Ages ended

before 1630's Cavalier (If Digby can be used for documentation for brewers,

then the cutoff is not firmly set at 1600 IMO), must understand that the

Middle Ages did not end in Russia until 1700. That was when Peotr the Great

made his reforms. He brought in French cooks which mortally changed the

cuisine of the nobility, and declared that only French fashions could be

worn at court. He exempted the peasant and clergy from changing the

fashions however, and it is known that he continued to wear kaftans and eat

traditional Russian cuisine when not at court. The only things that changed

Russia through the centuries until 1700 were their invaders, and then the

Russians absorbed the fashions and cuisine of their overlords, never

actually changing, just adding to what was already there. The kaftan is a

good example. It is not native to Russia per se, but when the Mongols

brought it with them, it just became another layer of clothing while the

peasants wore what they always wore underneath it. In fact, parts of

Russia's peasant costume, "folk costume", haven't changed from the time of

the Rus (1000 AD), namely the shirt and lapti, birchbark shoes still

produced in Russia. Up until the 20th century, married women still covered

their hair with the traditional towels (what rushnyks actually were - they

became table linens when covering the head went out of fashion). Life

changed excruciatingly slowly in Russia, and some villages in Russia still

cling to the old ways and styles of dress. I need to write a paper/article

about how things didn't change to educate my European friends. The Laurels

in my kingdom think that all peasant clothes are 19 century, and it just

isn't so.


As far as the concept of the "zakuska table" being period, I'm really not

sure it isn't. A lot of cultures put out a variety of dishes for feast

days, especially Christmas when people came visiting. The Russians

commercialized the zakuska table during the 1800's, selling a set number of

dishes for a set price, but the idea is far older. I have been trying to

find out if the smorgasbord table of the Swedes is traceable to period. It

has become a Christmas custom also, but started out (supposedly) as a type

of "pot-luck". http://www.scandinaviancook.com/page10.htm  So many things

came to Russia from Scandanavia that the concept of smorgasbord as zakuskas

is not really much of a stretch. Russia is a culture that always feeds its

guests (a very old Ukrainian greeting is to offer black bread and salt as

welcome), and putting out bilini pancakes with herring, caviar, sour cream

and butter at Easter for guests to eat is a type of zakuska table. If you

read the description of dishes "put on the table" during feast days at the

back of the Domostroi, one could extrapolate from the wording that all the

dishes were put out on the table together, creating a zakuska table. My

thought is that setting a variety of dishes out for people to eat from is a

concept from at least the later Middle Ages. The term "zakuska table" as

the starter to a meal is probably not that old however. Russian noblity

during the time of the Tzars was driven to excess, and a zakuska table with

beaucoup vodka to wash it all down before the main meal is a vivid symbol

of that excess.


A zakuska table for the Judge's luncheon was the perfect format for the

Laurels. They could nibble on it all afternoon and not have to take a

complete break from judging to eat. The theme for the event was Russian, so

there really was nothing else to be done but do a zakuska table, even

though it might be OOP. More on my zakuska table next post.


~Aislinn Columba of Carlisle~

aka Nadezhda Petrova Stoianova



Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 13:50:31 -0400

From: "Stephanie Ross" <hlaislinn at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] zakuskas

To: "SCA-Cooks" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Ok Jadwiega, here is what I served at the Judge's Luncheon. Smoked

whitefish, smoked salmon, kippered herring, smoked oysters, red and black

caviar, 2 kinds of Polish sausage that I didn't get the name of, sour

cream, cocktail pumpernickel, cocktail rye and small wheat toasts, kotleti

(beef meatballs in a sour cream gravy), kurnik (a chicken pie with rice and

sour cream), pickled cucumbers, three kinds of piroshki - mushroom and

hard-boiled egg, cabbage, and beef and rice in sour cream, cheddar cheese

cubes, homemade kalach bread, homemade pickled beets (Polish style with

onions), pickled mushroom with fresh dill, and a modern version of Russian

pickled eggs made with fresh dill and juniper berries, vatrushki

(curd-cheese tartlets), Russian teacake cookies, and some Polish honey

cookies I picked up at the deli when I bought the sausage. For drinks I

served cranberry/raspberry juice and hot tea with cherry, raspberry or

blackberry preserves to go in it. I wanted to make blini but I ran out of

time because I also served breakfast that day and helped put together

luncheon for the populace that was done for donations. The feastcrat

refused to do breakfast or lunch or allow me to use any equipment in the

kitchen for my luncheon. Her feast was spectacular, but the whole thing

pissed me off because it was all about making herself look good and not

about feeding people. Different philosophies I guess. The autocrat

requested breakfast so that the event workers could eat. The feastcrat gave

me $20 for my breakfast budget. I served portable food so that the populace

could vacate the feasthall quickly (we close the feasthall during judging)

that included hard boiled eggs, breakfast sausage links, homemade honey

cake, and for the more adventurous, kasha with onions and ham. Some sweet

and some protein for those of us who are hypoglycemic and need protein

first thing in the morning.


Most everything I served was mentioned somewhere in the Domostroi. While

there are no recipes, the book gives good descriptions of dishes and many

are still considered traditional fare in Russia today, like vatroushki

(described as "sweet pies stuffed with cheese"), pirogs (big meat pies,

like Elizabethan coffins) and piroshkis (little meat pies), pancakes which

must be blini (I wish I could talk to Pouncy and find out what the original

word was in the manuscript), kasha, schi (cabbage soup) and cheese  



Smoked fish p.164, smoked salmon p.191, herring p.195, rye bread p.161,

chicken p.190, pickled beets p.154, pickled cucumbers in brine p.175,

mushrooms p.165, caviar p.165, sausages p.193, piroshki p.161, pirogs

p.162, chicken pie p.192, making berry juices p.198 with cranberry juice

p.176 and raspberry juice p.152 being mentioned specifically. Sour cream is

only mentioned in a footnote on p.192, I couldn't find it anywhere else. I

wonder if its use became widespread after French cuisine became

fashionable. They used cottage cheese p.203 alot, and sour cream is a step

to making cheese. Kasha with ham and onions is specifically mentioned on



Other books I referenced:

The Food and Cooking of Russia - Lesley Chamberlain

Food in Russian History and Culture - Glants and Toomre

Food and Drink in Medieval Poland - Maria Dembinska (has a reference to sour cream)

The Best of Russian Cooking - Princess Alexandra Kropotkin (used for

descriptions of modern zakushka table dishes and recipes)


See, you got me started, are you sorry yet?!




Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 17:46:53 -0700 (PDT)

From: Huette von Ahrens <ahrenshav at yahoo.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Zakuskas

To: hlaislinn at earthlink.net,     Cooks within the SCA

      <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Okay. I concede that the Domostroi isn't as OOP as I thought it was.


But according to many books, zakuski was introduced to Russia by Peter the

Great in the 18th Century.  The Food and Cooking of Russia - Lesley Chamberlain

states this in her book.  And all that I have read about smorgasbord is that

it was introduced even later that zakuski.  Very likely 19th century.


However, I have just been reading about "mezze" and one expert, Ayla Algar,

feels that there is some evidence to an ancient Persian origin for mezze.

If I were trying to substantiate that there was a older form of zakuski before

Peter the Great, I would think that to connect mezze to Russia would be a better

route to go.  But that is just my opinion.


I understand the problems of trying to research pre-1600 practices in a culture

that didn't document its practices in writing often.  You have a hard  



I have to admit that I have a knee-jerk reaction to hearing about zakuskas as

several people here in Caid have tried to introduce it, with the explanation of

"Well it is hundreds of years old.  It just had to have been done prior to 1600."

With no further research done.  In my humble opinion, they just wanted an

excuse to drink vodka...






Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 23:43:17 -0400

From: "Stephanie Ross" <hlaislinn at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] mezze

To: "SCA-Cooks" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


> From http://www.inmamaskitchen.com/FOOD_IS_ART/mideast/mid_meal.html


"A typical middle eastern meal starts with Mezze. This can be an elaborate

spread of forty or fifty hors d'oeuvres, little bits of tasty treats to

please the palate.


The origin of the word mezze is unclear. It may be derived from the Persian

"maza" meaning "taste, relish," or from the Arabic "mazmiz" which means to

nibble at food. Either way is represents the pleasure of savoring little

pieces of food. The mezze tradition extends from Turkey into the  Balkans,

including Greece, and spreads to Middle east countries. Almost anything

that is small and tasty qualifies as a mezze dish. A basic mezze table can

be as simple as a basket of warm pita, a plate of fresh herbs, another

plate of feta cheese or yogurt cheese, a dish of olives, some dips and

salads and a pitcher of iced water. You can also find hummus, a dip made of

ground chickpeas, fattoush, a salad of green vegetables mixed with pieces

of pita bread, grilled eggplant and zucchini. Other popular dishes are

tabouli, a bulgur wheat salad, and kibbeh, made from freshly ground lamb

and/or beef - a dish which can be eaten baked, fried or even raw.  Mezze can

include miniature versions of main dishes. To give a mezze table the status

of a mezze feast, simply increase the number and variety of dishes,

including perhaps a few heartier choices like small kebabs or one or two

bean dishes that can be served cold."



Well isn't that interesting! It sounds to me like the zakuska table could

be traced through _Byzantium_ back to ancient Persia. That is definitely a

way that the concept of mezze could come to Russia. Even the words have

similar meanings - zakushka means "little bites".  Perhaps mezze came with

Orthodox priests into Russia? Byzantium had a major impact on Russia on all

aspects of life, even down to the peasant level via the religion. Why

wouldn't native Russians have copied the foodways as well? Does anyone know

if mezze was popular in Constantinople and Eastern Rome during the Middle






Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 12:35:51 -0400

From: Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise <jenne at fiedlerfamily.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Zakuskas

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


> I am a bit ignorant of much Eastern European development around the 1600 to

> 1800 era.   am asking in the hope of gaining further knowledge.  Did

> technology, science, trade and transportaion lag as far behind fashion and

> social reform?  Some things that I see as indicators to me of significant

> cookery/cuisine change include additions of new world foodstuffs, change in

> the construction and techniques of food preparations, and access to

> information and knowledge from already advanced cultures.  I certainly can

> understand that the choke-hold of info and literature can lag a

> nation/culture behind others parts of European development.  I can also see

> that the nobility class that we focus on (in general) has greater resource

> pool and greater access to "stuff".  If new foods are coming in and making

> impact on cuisine, the rennaisance techniques and dishes are sneaking in,

> and/or ccoking technology is appearing, then we may have to consider that

> the culture has moved into Early Modern era ahead of the rest of the

> culture.


Well, there aren't a lot of recipes out there before the Domostroi,

of which one part dates from before 1600 and the majority of recipes to

a longer part written before 1650. However, both the Domostroi and the

foodstuffs mentioned in Olearius's Travels (circa 1615-1640) seem to be

in the same category as, say, Rumpolt or other texts from the 1500s.

There does not seem to be widespread adoption of new world foods...


Ok, here's more from Olearius from The travels of Olearius in

Seventeenth-Century Russia, ed. Samel H. Baron (Stanford, CA: Stanford

University, 1967):

"We recieved daily 62 loaves of bread, each worth a kopek; a quarter of

beef; four sheep, 12 chickens, and two geese; a hare or a partridge; 50

eggs; ten kopeks for candles, and five kopeks for the kitchen. In

addition, we recieved weekly a pud ([36] pounds) of butter, a pud of

salt, three buckets of vinegar, two sheep, and a goose. We daily

recieved 15 tankards for the ambassadors and hofjunkers; three small

ones of vodka, one of Spanish wine, eight of various meads, and three of

beer. In addition, they provided for our attendants one barrel of beer,

a small cask of mead, and another small cask of vodka.

These provisions were furnished in double measure on the day of our

arrival and also on Palm Sunday, Easter, and the young prince's

birthday...." (p.96)


Ok, again from Olearius, from The travels of Olearius in

Seventeenth-Century Russia, ed. Samel H. Baron (Stanford, CA: Stanford

University, 1967):

"In some places, especially in Moscow, there are also fine garden

plants, such as apples, pears, cherries, plums, and red currants. Thus

the actual situation here is very different from the one depicted by

Herberstein, Guagnino, and others, who contend that, because of the

extreme cold, there are no fruits or delicious apples to be found in

Russia. Among other good apples, there is one kind whose flesh is so

tender and white that if you hold it up to the sun you can see the

seeds. However, although they are of excellent appearance and taste,

they cannot be stored long, unlike German apples, because of their

extremely high water content.

They also have all sorts of kitchen vegetables, notably asparagus as

thick as a thumb, which I myself sampled in Moscow at the home of a good

friend of mine, a Dutch merchant. Besides, they grow good cucumbers,

onions, and garlic, in great quantities. The Russians have never planted

lettuce or other salad greens; they paid them no attention and not only

did not eat them but even laughed at the Germans who did, saying that

they ate grass. Now some of them are beginning to try salad. They grow

melons everywhere in enormous quantities, thus providing an important

article of trade and nutriment. The melons grown here are great not only

in number but also in size, and are so delicious and sweet that they may

be eaten without sugar. In 1643 a good friend sent me a pud of these

melons when I left Moscow."


-- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at fiedlerfamily.net



Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 14:41:16 -0400

From: "Stephanie Ross" <hlaislinn at earthlink.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] zakuska table

To: "SCA-Cooks" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Ok, the book I cited earlier by Princess Kropotkin is very chatty on the

subject of zakuskas. She claims that Rurik brought the idea of the zakuska

table with him from Scandinavia in 862. Perhaps this is where I got the

idea myself. She states this in the introduction, but she devotes a whole

chapter to the zakuska table and recipes for the "little bites". At a

family dinner Kropotkin says that just three or four items are served, like

pickles, cheese, herrings or sausages, and put on the dining room table.

For special occasions and when entertaining, a special table is set up

similar to our buffet. People nibble at the hors d'oeuvres, wash it down

with cold vodka, and talk and talk. This "zakuska hour" does last an hour.

During the sixties it was common in our country to have hors d'oeuvres and

cocktails and mingle before sitting down to dinner. In Russia this has been

going on for a number of decades. In Russia, a minimum of ten zakuskas are

expected at a dinner party. To quote her, "Before the Revolution every good

restaurant in Russia used to throw out shameful quantities of untouched

zakuskas every day in the week, for the entire assortment had to be made

new and fresh everyday, while only a fraction of it ever got eaten.

Actually the zakuska were a free lunch. You weren't charged for them on your

bill; you merely paid for the glasses of vodka you drank with them. But

restaurant patrons in general were Russian men who took an astonishing

number of glasses, and the profit from the vodka was so enormous it more

than covered the cost of all the wasted zakooskas" (as she spells it).

Basically the zakuska hour is analogous to the American happy hour,

complete with food put out so the customers wouldn't get too drunk. Once

again, there is nothing new under the sun. Bet they would have loved

Buffalo wings!





Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 15:52:17 -0400

From: "Stephanie Ross" <hlaislinn at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Russian food- vatrushki

To: "SCA-Cooks" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Vatroushki to Serve with Borsch



1 lb pot cheese (I used ricotta, but you could also sieve cottage  


1 tbsp sour cream

2 eggs

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt


Wrap the pot cheese in a cheesecloth and place it in a sieve with a plate

on the cheese and a weight on the plate. Leave it three or four hours to

press out the excess water. When the cheese seems quite dry, rub it through

a fine sieve. Add the sour cream. Stir until smooth. Add the sugar, salt

and eggs. Mix thoroughly. Set aside to chill one hour.


Short Pastry

2 c sifted flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c butter

1/2 c ice water (approximately)


Sift flour and salt together; work in the butter, which should be very

cold, using the fingertips or a pastry blender until the flour resembles

course meal. Add the water to the flour mixture and stir. The dough should

be rather stiff, but this will depend somewhat on the quality of the flour

used. It may require the full cup of water. Roll out to 1/4" thickness.

Stamp out rounds about 3" across. On each round of pastry put 1 1/2 tbsp of

the cheese filling. Pat the filling flat, leaving a border of pastry.  Turn

the border up and pinch in scallops. These vatrushki are like small open

tarts. Brush the cheese filling with an egg yolk diluted with 1 tbsp water,

then prick lightly with a fork and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake 15 minutes in a hot oven, 400 degrees. Serve immediately.



I cheated and used ricotta instead of cottage cheese and used philo dough

tart shells instead of making my own. I ran out of time after making a

couple hundred piroshkis and so cut corners where I could. This recipe is

supposed to use a sour cream dough which is also used for piroshkis. I

didn't like the dough however. It was heavy but rose puffily and seemed too

doughy for my taste. Next time I will use short pastry instead. The philo

was wonderful, just not authentic.





Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 16:22:13 -0700 (PDT)

From: Huette von Ahrens <ahrenshav at yahoo.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Russian food- vatrushki

To: hlaislinn at earthlink.net,     Cooks within the SCA

      <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Instead of ricotta, which is a good cheese, but very wet, use hoop cheese.  It

is essentially cottage cheese without the moisture.  I have gotten hoop cheese

various places.  Sometimes at a good deli, sometimes at an upscale market.  Whole Foods seems to be carrying it regularly here.




--- Stephanie Ross <hlaislinn at earthlink.net> wrote:


> Vatroushki to Serve with Borsch

> Filling:

> 1 lb pot cheese (I used ricotta, but you could also sieve cottage  

> cheese)

> 1 tbsp sour cream

> 2 eggs

> 1/2 tsp sugar

> 1/2 tsp salt

> ~Aislinn~



Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 20:42:37 -0400

From: Elaine Koogler <ekoogler1 at comcast.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Russian Cooking...Zakuskas

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


<<< I forwarded Aislinn's message about zakuskas to one of my apprentices,

and she turned it over to her husband, Lord Mikhail.  He is a Russian

translator for the Army, and is currently working on a translation

(newer and hopefully better) of the Domestroi.  I am forwarding his

response to Aislinn...hopefully you'll all find his responses

interesting. He has given me permission to do so and said that if

anyone wants to talk with him privately about this, I can supply them

with his email addy. >>>


OK...Looks like the forward didn't work, so here's the text of his  



We think the Domostroi is OOP *in part*.  The main body of the

text--specifically, chapters 1 through 64--we're happy with

as being within period.  The next three chapters (65, 66, and 67) were

attached between 1600 and 1625 (Pouncy, p.40).

Significantly, these three were specifically about food.  A final

chapter, #68 (about weddings), was added shortly later.


As Lady Aislinn mentions, progress in Russia was glacial at best.  I'm

happy enough using the recipes and food from the

Domostroi (indeed, I'm slowly cobbling together some documentation on

Mead from one of these chapters), provided I can

point to something *else* somewhere indicating use of the foodstuff

during that timeframe.  Cooking techniques were slow

enough to change that I don't mind fudging 25 years.  I'm not sure where

she's going in pointing out that the Middle Ages in

Russia didn't end until Peter the Great's reforms; rather than confuse

the issue, I'll mention that no matter when the Middle Ages

ended in Russia, the timeframe covered by the SCA is (loosely) up to the

17th Century.  I parse that as technically ending

December 31, 1600.  But that's just me.


<costume costume, blah blah blah...>


If the Swedish smorgasbord can be shown to be period, I'm *very* happy

postulating that the Russians borrowed the

concept. (In point of humor, the Russian term for a smorgasbord

translates literally as "Swedish table.")  The zakuska

table itself, however, I haven't seen in any of my other research.  I've

read accounts from European travelers to the

Courts of the Tsars, and nothing of the sort is ever even alluded to.  I

*did* see reflections of another practice that is

mentioned in the Domostroi: The food is brought to the Master's table en

masse, then distributed from there, with the

guests being sent "food from [the Master's] own dish."


As to the second message, listing the food items, etc.:  The actual *Old

Russian* version of the Domostroi in fact gives

some fairly decent recipes, for those who can read them.  Part of the

problem, in my opinion, is that Pouncy isn't a cook,

and so glossed over the foodstuffs.  Large sections of the translations

are simply abominable.  That being said...

The "pancakes which must be blini" are, in fact, blini.  At least,

that's the word being used in the Old Russian text.  I found

sour cream (smetana) mentioned at least three times in the text--and

Russian smetana is a different enough creature from

Western European sour cream, and such an ingrained part of their

culinary culture, that I'm hesitant to suggest that it was

"borrowed" from the French.  From the Mongols?  Maybe, but I'll not go

there in any depth.  Lastly, the kasha with ham

and onions "specifically mentioned on p.161."  I looked it up.  Kasha is

mentioned, as is ham, and onions--but I couldn't

find them put together in a meal.  Kasha and ham, yes--but no onions.

Not in either the Pouncy translation, or the Russian.


If Lady Aislinn wishes to peruse a Russian Domostroi version that

contains most of Pouncy's version, it can be found at:


Warning: It's in cyrillic.  And it's not modern Russian--although it's

not exactly Old Russian, either.  Looks like the Old

Russian, cleaned up somewhat for modern readers.  Likewise, the chapters

aren't laid out as in Pouncy's edition, so some

digging may be necessary to find "matching chapters."


As mentioned, I'm playing with this in my free time; it's slow going,

and certainly not my full-time occupation.  That being

said, I'm happy to chat with anybody about it, and I'll gladly sit down

one-on-one with folks and compare specific parts

of the Pouncy with the relevant parts of the Russian.  If you wish, I'll

keep you updated on my progress from time to time.


S Uvazheniem,

--Mikhail Pavlov-syn Novgorodets,

   mka  Michael Suggs


Hope this helps with the discussion....





Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 22:19:28 -0400

From: "Stephanie Ross" <hlaislinn at earthlink.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] new translation was Russian food - zakuskas

To: "SCA-Cooks" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>,   "Mairi Ceilidh"

      <jjterlouw at earthlink.net>


<<Lastly, the kasha with ham

and onions "specifically mentioned on p.161." I looked it up. Kasha is

mentioned, as is ham, and onions--but I couldn't

find them put together in a meal. Kasha and ham, yes--but no onions.

Not in either the Pouncy translation, or the Russian.>>


You're right, I screwed up on this. I was reading from notes I took last

summer as I went through the Domostroi. I think I actually got the idea

that onions were in kasha from _Russian Cooking_ the Time-life series of

cooking books. My notes read (and it's the first thing I wrote down

actually), "Kasha - buckwheat groats mixed with a little onion, boiled in

broth, with ham p161". No cite for everything before the ham. Sorry I was

sloppy on that one. All the modern cookbooks I looked in to see where it

might have come from mentioned onions and kasha, but I didn't find it in

the Domostroi when I skimmed it just now. P. 161 just says, "...thin  

kasha with ham...".


As mentioned, I'm playing with this in my free time; it's slow going,

and certainly not my full-time occupation. That being

said, I'm happy to chat with anybody about it, and I'll gladly sit down

one-on-one with folks and compare specific parts

of the Pouncy with the relevant parts of the Russian. If you wish, I'll

keep you updated on my progress from time to time.





Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2006 13:07:49 -0400

From: "Stephanie Ross" <hlaislinn at earthlink.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Slavic pickled stuff

To: "SCA-Cooks" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Russian Pickled Mushrooms


1,5 kg small mushrooms

4 c boiling water

1 1/2 tbsp salt


3/4 c sugar

3/4 c vinegar

1 3/4 c water

10 peppercorns

3 bay leaves


Cook well-washed mushrooms over medium heat in salted boiling water until

they are on the bottom for 15-20 minutes. Boil 1 3/4 c water with

peppercorns and bay leaves for 30 min. Stir in salt and sugar until

dissolved. Add vinegar and bring to a boil. Drain mushrooms and place in

a sterilized jar. Pour over sugar/vinegar mixture. Cover and refrigerate

for three days before serving.


For almost 1 gallon:


4 lbs mushrooms

1 c cider vinegar

1 c white vinegar

5 bay leaves

15 peppercorns

1 c water

1/2 c sugar

2 sprigs dill (optional)



Polish Pickled Beets


24 oz canned small whole beets

1 lg onion, sliced into thin rings

4 tsp prepared grated horseradish

8 whole cloves

1/2 cups each white, red wine and cider vinegar, beet juice (2 cups  


1 tbsp natural cane sugar

2 tsp salt


Layer beets and onions in a glass jar, sprinkling layers with  


and cloves. Boil vinegar with sugar and salt 2 minutes. Pour over beets.

Cover and refrigerate 24 hours. Makes 4 cups.


For 1 gallon of beets:


10 small cans of beets

3 small onions, sliced thin

2 tbsp prepared horseradish, or more to taste

20 cloves

1 c each white and apple cider vinegar

1/2 c red wine vinegar

1 c beet juice

3 tbsp natural sugar

1 tbsp salt

(The horseradish is what makes this uniquely Polish, IIRC)


Russian Pickled Eggs


I found this recipe webbed here:



"This recipe was in a book simply titled, Smörgasbord. The ingredients were

peeled, hard boiled eggs (no number listed), 1 Ltr. (4½ C) white vinegar

(no indication of distilled or white wine vinegar; fairly securely I

believe it to be distilled white vinegar as it was mentioned in other

recipes in the book), 60 gr. (2 Tbs.) coarse salt, 30 gr. (1 Tb.) each of

juniper berries and black peppercorns, lots of fresh dill (judging from a

black & white photo in the book). The instructions were: layer eggs in a

glass jar with dill and a few peppercorns and juniper berries in each

layer, pour in vinegar-salt mixture after each layer (in the photo it

looked as if 2-3 eggs made a layer; it was not a wide jar but had a ground

glass lid) being careful to move the eggs with the handle of a wooden spoon

to rid the jar of any air bubbles."


These came out super tart due to the white vinegar. Next time I may use

cider vinegar and white wine vinegar. Some sugar added to the brine may

help to reduce the tartness. I used plain white vinegar because I wanted to

make sure the eggs were thoroughly pickled in case they needed to sit out

without refrigeration before I served them. I was leery about cutting the

strength of the vinegar, but perhaps I could have increased the salt and

reduced the vinegar to make these a bit more palatable alone. Anybody here

skilled at pickling that could tell me how to make these less tart? I still

have some in the back of my 'fridge. They are very good diced into tuna and

chicken salad. A shot of vodka after eating one of these eggs does help to

clear one's mouth of the tartness. They do not taste anything like the

Pennsylvania Dutch pickled eggs I grew up eating, but they are very good in

their own right.





Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2006 12:01:36 -0400

From: Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne Heise <jenne at fiedlerfamily.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] mezze

To: hlaislinn at earthlink.net,     Cooks within the SCA

      <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


> Yep, and maybe the Vikings brought the concept of mezze back with  

> them when they came home.


I would suggest that the most likely connection between Russia and the

Levant is always Byzantium. Somewhere in my notes from Olearius (buried

in my blog at the moment) there is something about offering guests a

variety of little things to eat as part of the greeting ritual, and I

believe there's also something about that in the period part of the

Domostroi but my brain is rotting at the moment.


-- Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at fiedlerfamily.net



Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2006 01:13:34 +0100 (CET)

From: sera piom <serapiom74 at yahoo.it>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] commemoration meals in a 16th century Russian


To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org


Same old thing: you look for one book in an OPAC and you find a  

different one ...


I found an edition of a Russian manuscript, that was produced around  

1581/82. It specifies the annual commemoration meals for the dead/the  

donators of the monastery. As far as I can see, there are no recipes.  

But there are the dishes for many days of the year of the Iosif  

monastery near Volokolamsk, something like 120 kilometers west of  



The bibliographic information:


Das Speisungsbuch  von Volokolamsk : eine Quelle zur Sozialgeschichte  

russischer Kl?ster im 16. Jahrhundert = Kormovaja kniga Iosifo-

Volokolamskogo monastyrja / hrsg. und ?bers. von Ludwig Steindorff.  

Unter Mitarb. von R?diger Koke ... - K?ln; Weimar; Wien : B?hlau 1998.

ISBN 3-412-09597-4


The volume includes an introduction, a facsimile of the manuscript,  

an edition of the 16th century Russian text, and a translation into  



The food and drinks mentioned include pirogies, noodles, soups,  

different kinds of kvas, fishes, different kinds of bread, mead,  

ingredients like pepper, cabbage, etc. etc.





Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2008 21:24:57 +0000 (GMT)

From: emilio szabo <emilio_szabo at yahoo.it>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Period Hungarian Food (and other Eastern


To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Here is one of the previous mails. (There has also been a thread on a recipe in Messisbugo in an hungarian style. Other recipes in an hungarian style are in Jean de Bockenheym, 15th century.)


----- Messaggio inoltrato -----

Da: emilio szabo <emilio_szabo at yahoo.it>

A: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Inviato: Venerd? 14 marzo 2008, 22:32:37

Oggetto: Food in 16th century Russia : Herberstein


<<So any suggestions on where to get information regarding food in

SCA-period Russia would be helpful, doesn't have to be a cookbook... >>


One of the most important accounts on 16th century Russia was written by

Siegmund von Herberstein. His commentarii (1556), originally written in Latin, then translated into German and Italian are online here:




Wikipedia points you to digital facsimiles of different Latin, German, and Italian editions and to an English translation, published in 1851-52 (which is also available with books.google).




He mentions food and food related aspects every now and then, but does not give recipes.





Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 15:58:06 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Forthcoming titles Fall 2008 LONG

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


As promised sometime back here's a list of some forthcoming

fall 08- winter 09

titles that might be of interest to readers of this list.

They cover a full range of topics.

I've included details, descriptions or links where I have them.

A number of the lists I used didn't record prices possibly because

they were not yet set.





Northern Illinois University has these books out--


*Recipes for Russia: Food and Nationhood Under the Tsars [Import]

by Alison K. Smith

came out in February 2008






Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2008 09:50:48 -0500

From: "Ginny Beatty" <ginbeatty at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] whitefish soup (Ukha)

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Well, IIRC, I believe it was out of Anna Volokh's book, Art of Russian

Cuisine. This was back in 1993 or so.


On Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 3:36 AM, Stefan li Rous

<StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>wrote:


<<< For a Russian-themed feast a long time ago, I served a whitefish soup

(Ukha) and it went over well. About 1 quart/table was about the right amount to serve. Not bad for the meat and 'tater crowd I usually feed. :)


Gwyneth >>>


Recipe?   Was this based on some period evidence or a recipe?



Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2010 21:30:39 +0000 (GMT)

From: emilio szabo <emilio_szabo at yahoo.it>

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: [Sca-cooks] horseflesh in the novgorod chronicle


Not your region, I suppose, but never mind:



Search term: "ate horse-flesh"





Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2013 01:18:00 -0500

From: Stephani Ross <the.red.ross at gmail.com>

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Russian cooking


Lisa Kies is a great source. She's kind of a god as far as SCA Russian

stuff is concerned! Don't be afraid to  use her or any of her sources. She

is a great researcher. While I like the Domostroi (thank you Kiri), I have

found it most helpful in the context of other Russian/Slavic books, namely

" Food in Russian History and Culture" by Musya Glants and Joyce Toomre and

"Food and Drink in Medieval Poland" by Maria Dembinska. Many modern Russian

recipes are period or "period-iod", even today, but you have to study

period Russian foodways in order to figure out which ones.


AEschwynne aet Bodanhamme

aka Nadezda Petrova Stoianova

Order of the Golden Galleon, Trimaris, Russian Food



Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2013 09:00:31 -0800 (PST)

From: Donna Green <donnaegreen at yahoo.com>

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Russian sources


Another possibility for Russian sources, if you can find it, is a book called "Rude and Barbarous Kingdom". It is a collection of reports written by 16th c Englishmen who travelled through Russian scouting out markets, politics, etc. ... basically spying, but in a broad sense. It won't give you specific recipes, but it will tell you some information about food production of the time and place.


Juana Isabella



Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2013 12:44:26 -0500

From: Stephani Ross <the.red.ross at gmail.com>

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Russian cooking


Another book I recommend highly is _The Food and Cooking of Russia_ by

Leslie Chamberlain. The first chaper is invaluable for understanding the

foreign influences on Russian food over the centuries.





Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2013 22:07:26 -0500

From: Stephani Ross <the.red.ross at gmail.com>

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Rude and Barbarous Kingdom


When I read the _Rude & Barbarous Kingdom_. ed. by Berry and Crummey, I

underlined and tabbed anything to do with clothing, furs and food

(including vokda). There isn't a whole lot mentioned about food except in

the most general way, and it's not much. I didn't see it quoted on Sofya's

pages, so I'll type it out for you here:


Chapter 3. The native commodities of the country. p. 116


"For kinds of fruits they have apples; pears; plums; cherries, red and

black (but the back, wild); a *dynia* like a muskmellon but more sweet and

pleasant; cucumbers and gourds (which they call* arbuz);* strawberries; and

hurtleberries, with many other berries in great quantity in every wood and

hedge. Their kinds of grain are wheat, barley, rye, oats, pease, buckaway,

[and] *pshenitsa,* that in taste is somewhat like to rice. Of all these

grains the country yieldeth very sufficient and overplus quantity, so that

the wheat is sold sometime for two *altyny* or ten pense sterling the

chetvert, which maketh almost three English bushels." [144 lbs of grain]


The original authors of this journal were sent by Queen Elizabeth in 1580

to Muscovy to trade with Ivan IV as part of a delegation. This part of the

journal is Giles Fletcher's account of the first voyage to Russia. Fletcher

is very descriptive and talks about his observations of all manner of

things, from the soil to clubbing seals to huge fish teeth that weigh

eleven to twelve lbs apiece. To summarize the rest of the chapter

concerning things the Russians ate: Fletcher mentions Beluga caviar, beef,

roebuck, hares, goats and sheep. For fish he identifies carp, pike, perch,

tench, roach, sterlet, eels, beluga, stugeon, white and red salmon, and

herring. He talks about swans being raised for food as well as caught, an

abundance of pheasants and partridge, and the tedder, a large bird with the

coloring of a pheasant (a wild turkey or bustard perhaps?) that lived in

the "fir woods".


Sir Jerome Horsey stayed behind after the first voyage, became fluent in

Russian, worked as a diplomatic attache for the Russian court, and became a

basic all-around horse-trader. He was rather unscrupulous and was deported

back to England in 1589 in the custody of Giles Fletcher. This is from

chapter XVIII of his _Travels_, pp.335-336.


"The next day friars of St. Nicholas brought me a present, fresh salmons,

rye loaves, cups, and painted platters. The third day after my arrival

...[Ivan IV and Boris Gudunov] presented for my provision seventy live

sheep, twenty live oxen and bullocks, six hundred hens, forty flesh of

bacon, two milk kine, two goats, ten fresh salmons, forty gallons of

aqua-vitae [vodka], one humdred gallons of mead, two hundred gallons of

beer, a thousand loaves of white bread, three score bushels of meal, two

thousand eggs, garlic and onions store."


So now we know what they ate from eyewitnes accounts, just not how it was






Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2013 21:50:34 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at att.net>

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Rude and Barbarous Kingdom


<<< Of all these

grains the country yieldeth very sufficient and overplus quantity, so that

the wheat is sold sometime for two *altyny* or ten pense sterling the

chetvert, which maketh almost three English bushels." [144 lbs of grain] >>>


144 pounds of wheat in Elizabethean measure would be approximately 2.5

Winchester bushels (an occasionally changing standard measure in use from

the 8th to the 17th Centuries) rather than the 3 bushels stated.


<<< and the tedder, a large bird with the

coloring of a pheasant (a wild turkey or bustard perhaps?) that lived in

the "fir woods".


AEschwynne >>>


Turkeys are New World in origin.and by 1580 they were being farmed in

Western Europe.  There in no evidence they were present in Russia.  There

are four species of bustard found in Russia, the Great Bustard (Otis tarda),

the Houbara Bustard (Chalmydotis undulata), McQueen's Bustard (Chalmydotis

macqueenii) and the Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax).  However, these are

primarily found on the Steppes and other open areas rather than in the

forest. So far, I haven't found a good match.





Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2013 20:35:54 -0800

From: Ian Kusz <sprucebranch at gmail.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Rude and Barbarous Kingdom


shotlanskiy teterev: grouse


On Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 7:07 PM, Stephani Ross <the.red.ross at gmail.com>wrote:

<<< and the tedder, a large bird with the

coloring of a pheasant (a wild turkey or bustard perhaps?) that lived in

the "fir woods".


AEschwynne >>>


Ian of Oertha


<the end>

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