Friday, December 2, 2011

2011 Virtual Advent: Day 2

What a fantastic start to the tour we had yesterday. If you haven't had a chance to check out the links from yesterday, don't forget to do so!

This year, we wanted to acknowledge the people who have supported us from the very early days of the tour! I hope I don't miss anyone out though. If I do, I apologise profusely. It is likely because I can't count!

Here are today's stops on the tour:

*Patricia @ Lady With Books

Today's special shout out of thanks goes to Ana from Things Mean a Lot as this is her fifth year of participating in the tour! Thank you for your contributions over the last 5 tours and your support Ana! Kelly and I really appreciate it!

If you are inspired by the posts that you have seen today, it is not too late to join in. You can still sign up at the sign up post.


My quote for today again comes from Emily by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles and gives us a glimpse of Emily's first Russian Christmas. The quote comes from pages 158-159.

Christmas dinner began at six that evening with the zakuski. The butler and the footman brought into the drawing-room a wheeled table on which were laid out salted cucumbers, stuffed mushrooms, green and black olives, marinaded tomatoes, stuffed eggs in their shells, two kinds of caviare – red and black – and open tartlets filled with creamy concoctions of smoked fish and spiced chicken. Flasks, of vodka sat in ice buckets, and as soon as the plates were filled, the glasses were charged and Natasha toasted the first toast – to Yenya and Yenchik, whose name-day it was.

Everyone drained their glasses in unison, and then tasted the zasuski while the servants went round refilling for the next toast. Emily has been in Russia almost six weeks now, and knew the procedure. She had found the vodka rather startling at first, but there was no doubt that it warmed up the atmosphere of any gathering very quickly, as toast after toast was drunk, and the delicious hors d’oeuvres were consumed.

It was seven o’clock before they moved into the dining-room, where the servants brought in the soup and the hot pirozhkis – small pastries filled variously with minced meat, onions and cabbage, and mushrooms – which went with it. The vodka was exchanged for wine now, but the toasts went on, and the laughter and conversation rose a notch. Emily’s whole body seemed to be filled with a warm astonishment: it was different as it could be from those stiff Christmas dinners at Bratton. She was seated between Adishka and Tolya, and the former kept her entertained with stories about Petersburg society, while she had never seen the latter so animated and unselfconscious.

After the soup there was kulebiaka, a noble pie made in millefeuille layers of crisp pastry filled with salmon, sturgeon, mushrooms, chopped eggs, and rice flavoured with onions and dill. Then, for the main course, there was the Christmas goose stuffed with cinnamon apples, and partridges cooked in sour cream. When it came to the dessert, the cook, Borya – a large Georgian with huge moustaches of which he was intensely proud – brought it up before him on an enormous silver platter: a traditional English plum pudding, flickering bravely with blue flames of ignited brandy and crowned with a sprig of holly.


Ana S. said...

Aw, thank you so much for the shout out. It's a pleasure to join in again! Thanks for keeping the tradition alive :)

Julia Phillips Smith said...

I LOVED that excerpt. I'm in a very Russian holiday state of mind these days, looking forward to New Year's Eve and watching The Irony of Fate (Ironiya sudby.)