March 13, 2013
A Shot of Tea
In Russia culture dinner gatherings always comprise of vodka and tea. Western culture do no commonly operate in this manner, but it is a great balance. The vodka portion of the ritual is very specific. If you are planning an evening of drinking with friends (Russians greatly despise drinking alone, it is considered bad form), first prepare lots of food. Not snack foods such as typical American junk food. For the drinking to conclude successfully with no one becoming ill and to prevent a hangover, the food must be filling and hearty. A popular entre might include: smoked fish, juicy steak, French fries, marinated chicken, or perhaps "katletta"(a Russian hamburger) with mashed potatoes and gravy. Also have on hand a plate of chasers, such as lemons, tomatoes, or pickles-- watermelon also goes wonderfully with vodka. The night should conclude a toast from all the men for the occasion whether it is a holiday, birthday or Sabbath dinner. In Russian culture offering vodka to a fellow guest or relative is a sign of a generosity, to deny it is perceived as disrespectful. One of the main reasons vodka remained a strong part of Russian culture was during the time of Ivan the terrible, taxation allowed the state to reap huge revenue from intoxication.
When we approach the end of the night everyone is pleased with the hearty feast, each person helps clean the table and we start the second portion of the ritual, tea drinking which has long been an important hallmark of the country. Green and black is common among flavors. History’s most significant attribute to Russian tea drinking is the samovar, a heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water. They are often displayed for their beautiful workmanship. It is traditionally accompanied by loose leaf black tea, cubed sugar, sliced lemon, and a porcelain set. The culture has evolved today by replacing samovars with fancy kettles. Russian...