Russian Tidbit of the Day-The Soviet New Year’s Feast

So today we’ll take more from this awesome little article.  It was a delight to read and it made me so glad that I know Russian.  So let me now share it with you.

So, being the foodie that I am I became very interested in how on earth they made the Новогодний стол (literally ‘New Year table’, I’m going to refer to it as ‘the feast’ in this post) when there were shortages everywhere.  Well, this article sheds some light on the matter.  Below are the memories of people, as written in the above article, of people who lived through those times.

“А вообще, вы знаете, какая же голодуха была! Помню, перед Новым годом заходишь в магазин – полки с афганскими оливками, болгарская фасоль и рокфор. И всё! Мы как-то с подругой торт затеяли печь. Так масла сливочного не нашли! Не купишь заранее к столу – не будет никакого стола. Не хочу я туда возвращаться, в СССР.”

“In general, you know, there was such a lack of food.  I remember before New Year you would go into a store and the shelves had Afghan olives, Bulgarian beans and Roquefort. And that’s all! My girlfriend and I somehow managed to bake a cake.  But we couldn’t find butter. If you didn’t buy for the feast beforehand there wouldn’t be a feast. I don’t want to go back to the USSR.”

Холодец-Kholodets It’s a sort of meat jello that is made by boiling meat and bones for a very long time to extract the collagen. I love food and I especially love Russian food but this is the one thing I cannot stomach.

Ой, весело мы встречали Новый год! Главное – старались, чтобы стол богатым был. Если угощение богатое –
значит, весь год сытым будет. Холодец – обязательно. И мясо доставали специально.

Я доставала через знакомых, ездила на мясокомбинат, там работникам выдавали мясо, и у них можно было купить. Выкручивались – знаете как старались! Приберегали продукты, готовились.

“We had so much fun greeting the New Year! The main thing is that we tried so that the feast was rich. If the food was plentiful then that means the whole year will be satisfying.  Kholodets was a must. And we got a hold of special meat.

I was able to get some through acquaintances. I went to a meat-packing factory where they gave meat to the employees and you could be it from them.  We pulled it off, know how hard we tried! We got all the products and cooked.”

Chebureki, sort of a mix between scones and fried wontons. Usually filled with meat.
No Russian table is complete with out many toasts and lots of Vodka. If you don’t drink bring your own juice to use for toasts so you don’t end up plastered.

“Пельмени лепили, чебуреки жарили. Пусть весь год жили туговато, бывало, впроголодь. Но в Новый год обязательно должен быть пир. А веселились как! Вы знаете, как после войны веселились. Дрожжи, сахар и вода, ну, может, ягоды какие-то. И стаканами её пили, вместо воды.”

“We made pelmeni and fried chebureki. Let us live all year-long on a shoe-string budget, half-starving.  But on New Year there absolutely must be a feast.  And what a great time we had! You know, we especially had a great time after the war.  Yeast, sugar and water and maybe berries of some sort.  And we drank all of it instead of water.”

“И пели частушки. Помню, мама моя пела: «Вот спасибо Сталину! Сделал меня барыней! Я и лошадь, я и бык, я и баба, и мужик!» Когда я стала постарше и поняла смысл этой частушки, я маме сказала: «Ты, мам, не пой её, ты что! Тебя посадят, мы одни останемся». Правда ведь –  даже за одно случайное словечко сажали у нас женщин на 10 лет. И мама больше не пела. Так и жили…

“And we sang little songs  I remember my mama sang, “Thank you Stalin. He made me lady.  I and a horse, I and a bull, I and a grandma and a bloke”  When I got older and understood the meaning of this rhyme I said to mama, “Mom, don’t sing that song, what’s wrong with you? They’ll put you in prison and we’ll be left alone.”  It’s true, even for one accidental word they put women in prison for ten years. Mama didn’t sing it anymore.  That’s how we lived.”


1 thought on “Russian Tidbit of the Day-The Soviet New Year’s Feast

  1. I can’t do Kholodets, either, or Kukumaria (sea cucumber); it’s the texture and the fact that it’s served cold, I can’t stomack cold savory (not sweet) jelly. But I like just about everything else and I love Chebureki.

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