Welcome 2014 – Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year everyone!!! May the Horse give you a gentle, but exciting ride to your success this year!

This year I enjoyed easiest, most stress-less and low-key New Year’s Eve preparation for as long as I can remember – it is all in the picture

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But from where I come from the New Year is arguably the biggest deal of the year. There is Christmas (which the Orthodox Christians celebrate on the 7th January), Easter and birthdays, of course. But hardly any other celebration requires preparation so thorough and effort so arduous.

Back in the day, food stacking would begin as early as a month before the New Year. Pantries and fridges would fill up with meat, poultry, cheese, sausages, canned fish, fruit and all kinds of marinaded preserves, such as mushrooms, pickles, olives, spicy carrots, etc, etc, etc. Although, truth be told, most of the preserves used to be prepared in advance, dozens of home-made mason jars with vegetable salads, fruit juices, spicy sauces, picked cucumbers, cabbage or tomatoes, sealed during the best season for each respective produce. Today, however, this habit is dying out – supermarkets are great suppliers of any New Year’s gastronomical whims.

The week preceding the New Year’s Eve the family would almost starve. Or if you are very lucky, you’d be eating quick biters of sandwiches, fried eggs and the like. And God forbid you eat something out of the fridge without permission! Why? Because all the food in the house was being cooked and prepared for the grand finale – the New Year’s Eve table.

The staple on the menu are the so-called Russian Salad – “OlivjE” with the stress on the last “E”, as we call it; and “Kholodets” which is a cold jelly stew traditionally made of cock broth and poultry; the beet root salad; the crab sticks salad; “Fur coat covered herring” salad – my personal favorite, though does not sound appetizing when put down into letters (?); garlic cream cheese appetizer; a beet root or spicy carrot with nuts pickles, garlic and mayo appetizer; dried plums stuffed with nuts; marinaded mushrooms, spicy carrots, spicy marinaded cauliflower, home made marinaded bell and green peppers and zucchini and these are only off the top of my head list.

Then comes the main meat or poultry course with mashed potatoes for the side.

The dessert (2-3 different cakes and a variety of cookies) is usually taken for breakfast the following morning.

And the feast continues well into the next day, when friends and relations come to visit, dragging dishes to share from their own table.

And so it goes, for days, Table and TV, til the last crumb.

If any of the dishes mentioned here caught your attention, let me know! I’d be happy to share the recipe.

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