Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tasty Treats: Blini

The Russian Blini is a national treat that holds many traditional values. The Blini is fried bread in a flat-pancake like form that is usually topped with some sort of jam, nutella, cream, or caviar and served. It is directly paired with the holiday Maslenitsa which is a week-long celebration marking the beginning of spring. They are eaten as symbols of the sun and represent thanksgiving as well as an abstention of meat, which has been regarded as a source of lust and aggression in the Russian culture. In the past, the week has included a day for sharing blini with a sweetheart, one to give a blini to the poor, and a day when mother-in-laws cooked blini for their son’s wives. In these times, people usually wore clothing of the opposite sex, sported masks, and role-played while consuming mass amounts of alcohol (sounds like a party! or Mardi Gras...). Today, Russians do not abstain from meat and celebrate this holiday the week before Lent.

The snack of blini is made as a pancake, fried bread, with an additional topping. Many people add sour cream, honey, jams/jellies, nutella, caviar, salmon, or cream cheese. For best results: spread topping over blini, fold in half then fold into a triangle. This is the traditional way to serve blini. Originally, Russian blini is said to be made best by a Russian grandmother who has had plenty of practice. Today, blini is served all over Russia, especially in fast-food carts in the cities. I am no Russian grandmother but I will be making blini for the class on November 5th (paired with yet another project on Russian culture).

No comments: