September 25, 2014

Cookbook Contest

Cookbook Contest

So, one thing about publishing is that not all the books come out perfect. So, rather than toss a few "seconds" in the recycle bin, we decided to hold a contest.

The contest, run on our Facebook page, was for two slightly irregular copies of A Taste of Russia, our popular cookbook of Russian cuisine.

To enter the contest, you just had to respond to the question:  "Describe, in fifty words or less, the most amazing Russian dish or meal you have experienced."

The dozens and dozens of responses made us so hungry for pelmeni and borshch (and maybe even a little vodka), that we rushed out and made ourselves a little bit of both. Then we had to get dowb the hard work of deciding who the winners were. Without further ado, here they are, for your gustatory enjoyment:

"In Moscow in winter I was a tourist practically alone in the ancient Rossiya hotel (now demolished.) My taxi driver took me home one afternoon. His wife prepared lunch of borshch, bread, salad, tea and vodka (of course.  With his family sitting in the tiny, steamy kitchen, I enjoyed the best meal I've ever had. Simple food, good conversation, a steamy kitchen. It's my best memory of Russia."

– Walker Kerwin

"In 1996, in a birch forest near Orel, Russia, I feasted on shashlik, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, bread, and vodka with Russian farmers and 4 other Americans.  One farmer played “Kalinka” on the bayan, another drummed on an overturned bucket. We Americans sang along as if we knew the words."

– Susan Wynne

And here are the runners up...

"In 1996, in a birch forest near Orel, Russia, I feasted on shashlik, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, bread, and vodka with Russian farmers and 4 other Americans.  One farmer played “Kalinka” on the bayan, another drummed on an overturned bucket. We Americans sang along as if we knew the words."

– Jon Erkkilä

"While living in Russia, I learned to can pickles with my host mom. We picked the cucumbers ourselves at our dacha and spent the afternoon stuffing them into jars with garlic and dill. It was a delicious and educational experience, and resulted in the most flavorful pickles I have ever had the pleasure to eat." 

 – Sasha Miller

"Every summer I have pregnant-lady-esque cravings for the simple Russian summer salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, dill, onion, oil and vinegar. Making it tomorrow, and drooling thinking about it now. Brilliant and simple. It is like eating summer!"

– Nicole Butkovich Kraus

"When I lived in Tula, the Russian family I lived with made an amazing rabbit stew. I have never had anything quite so good since. Maybe it was the vodka, or the homemade compote, or the fact that it was Russian Christmas Eve... But it was phenomenal!"

– Jan & Danny Perez

"The most amazing Russian dish I ever had would be Pasha Cheese Cake. I have personally make it every Easter. After it drains, I wait to unveil it at the Easter holiday table. Slowly pulling the cheese cloth away. Then gently slicing pieces of it into dishes. Then finally after everyone is served. I finally get a taste of it. The mix of farmers cheese, fresh vanilla bean, sugar, baby cream, and egg, is the best taste of the year! :-)"

– Tamara Konovodoff

"New Year's Eve, 1992, St. Petersburg. We cooked for days, so many salads, side dishes, desserts, soups, and meats. I remember grating carrots , chopping vegetables, an doing what I was told. Once everything was ready, and guests arrived, we ate, drank, talked and laughed. For 3 days!!!"

– SalliAnne Maliguine

And finally, there was this. In terms of passion and focus, it was a strong contender. But unfortunately it exceeded the 50 word count maximum three-fold. Still, we had to share it here:

"I like beets. Most people don't get it,  but I do. I love beets- in all shapes and forms.  *Especially* in the form of one of the many fantastic Russian beet recipes!  Good 'ole Russian vinegrette- ah, i can eat that stuff day&night!  " Herring under fur coat" - that one's always guaranteed to raise eyebrows of innocent bystanders.  "What do you mean by THAT?"  It's a great conversation piece! hehe.  And is sure to be a winter staple in my home.  Sadly ( or rather- luckily, for me, because I get to eat more of it all by myself;) , my husband and kids don't understand ( or share) my fascination with recipes where the main ingredient is beets.  When I introduced the above dish to my 5 y.o., for the first time last year, she quietly poked at it.. Then to my impatient inquiry "How is it?" , replied, -" Well, the Bible tells us to love our enemies.  Mommy, I don't like it, but I choose to *love* it."  Poor girl, she didn't want to offend her Russian food-loving Mommy :) and LOVE it I do!!"

– Ola Snyder


Have your own great food memory to share? Use the Facebook comments box below...

Meanwhile, we'll be having more concerts in the days and weeks ahead for some of our lightly damaged (and completely undamaged) publications. Like our Facebook page and visit it frequently to take part.

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A Taste of Russia
  • November 01, 2012

A Taste of Russia

The definitive modern cookbook on Russian cuisine has been totally updated and redesigned in a 30th Anniversary Edition. Layering superbly researched recipes with informative essays on the dishes' rich historical and cultural context, A Taste of Russia includes over 200 recipes on everything from borshch to blini, from Salmon Coulibiac to Beef Stew with Rum, from Marinated Mushrooms to Walnut-honey Filled Pies. A Taste of Russia shows off the best that Russian cooking has to offer. Full of great quotes from Russian literature about Russian food and designed in a convenient wide format that stays open during use.

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