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A few weeks ago, Stuart came home saying he'd promised we'd set up a Russian stall for the Christmas fayre at our local church, which had an 'international' theme this year. So he got to be the one yesterday to go to the Sputnik shop in Lewisham to pick up various odds and ends, and I dug out my enormous Russian festival dress. (I once fit six people inside it.)

Neither of us are Russian, but the fake Women's Institute had already taken the English table and I didn't really feel like doing an American table. (It's much more fun to parody a culture that isn't one's own, I say...) Our table featured Russian gingerbread biscuits, a sort of traditional Russian cola called kvass (which is much nicer than benchilada says it is), assorted chocolates from the Red October factory in Moscow, and black caviar on bread.

Not everyone was dead keen on the caviar.

Tulla and Mdadi at the Nigerian table:

The English held their own:

And some karaoke Christmas singsong at the end:



( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 14th, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't have thought to call Kvass "russian Cola"... Isn't there a little alcohol in it ? Like 1 or 2% ?
Dec. 14th, 2008 05:58 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I don't think this one had any alcohol... Yeah, it's not exactly cola, but when I started out telling people it was a traditional Russian drink made from fermented black bread, no one wanted to try it. When I said it was 'the Russian version of Coca-cola', I couldn't pour fast enough!

I've had much maltier versions, more like the Caribbean 'Supermalt' that so many people like around here. But this one was fairly cola-ish.
Dec. 14th, 2008 06:03 pm (UTC)
I guess they make a non-alcoholic version of it too, nowadays, since the point was not to get drunk anyway...

There's an interesting part in the Wikipedia entry about Kvass, on the competition between Coca-cola and Kvass in Latvia and other Baltic countries :

So yeah, it's become more or less an eastern european cola.
Dec. 14th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that! Homemade mint kvass, now there's something I'd like to try.
Dec. 14th, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC)
I once had white chocolate and caviar at Heston Blumenthal's restaurant. It was lovely.
Dec. 14th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
Yum! That makes sense. I was serving it on fairly sweetish white bread with Philly cream cheese. (It would've been a bit more Russian to serve it with butter, but I like it better with cream cheese.) So white chocolate is just a step away from that, really. I'll have to try that sometime. :-)
Dec. 14th, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC)
That one kid's reaction to the caviar? PRICELESS. He's a cartoon!!
Dec. 14th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
That is the perfect way to describe his expression. What a great face!
Dec. 14th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
Tulla pulls the best facial expressions ever!! :-D
Dec. 14th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
That one kid's reaction is the image of my own reaction to caviar. GLURG! You look charming in the headdress though.
Dec. 14th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
Why thank you! I was a bit selective; in the other photos I looked downright dweebie.
Dec. 14th, 2008 05:52 pm (UTC)
Da Da Da
Is there ever a time when you're not doing something awesome/amusing? Give me two of those Russian colas, please.

You've made me wonder what would be at an America table. I'd want to find something that is not part of the US mass marketing that bombards the rest of the world. But what? NW Native Coastal art? Wheat Thins? It's hard to figure out. Oh OK, I give up..... my display would be a gigantic hummer filled with coca-cola swag.
Dec. 14th, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Da Da Da
Ooh, Wheat Thins, I like those. And Triscuits, they're even better. Mmm. Served with Ballard Bitter, perhaps.
Dec. 14th, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Da Da Da
OK, that would be my table display: American cracker products and microbrews!
Dec. 14th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC)
What you will and what you won't
not part of the US mass marketing...microbrews...

Visiting the US for the first time ever this summer, I was very, very pleasantly surprised by the beer. I had previously judged US beer by the likes of Bud et al. Evangelism for US microbrews would be both needed and welcome!
Dec. 14th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
What you can and what you can't
If I make it to England at some point, I'll see if Redhook would be willing to ship a few cases over with me. :)
Dec. 14th, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)
Re: What you will and what you won't
PS: I don't know if they still make it, but a friend used to send me a British candy bar called "The Drifter" (I think). I dug 'em.
Dec. 15th, 2008 08:55 am (UTC)
Re: What you will and what you won't
Oh man, that's a suitcase disaster waiting to happen! :-D Almost as bad as maple syrup.

I must confess, I haven't missed US microbrews here that much because England's had such an ale revival lately. There's a pretty good microbrewery down the road in Greenwich, called Meantime Brewery
and my top faves are one from Badger called 'Golden Glory', another from Bath called 'Little Gem' and one on tap that I've only had once at the Dog and Bell called 'Battersea Bitter' but I really want to find it again.

But the American ones are great when I'm there; last time when we went to Zion National Park in Utah, we stopped somewhere and had a 'Polygamy Porter', which made me laugh. My mother always keeps a good stock of 'Alaskan Amber' at home.

Hmm, I don't ever see The Drifter anywhere, I shall keep my eyes peeled!
Dec. 19th, 2008 10:11 am (UTC)
Re: What you will and what you won't
The Drifter may have been discontinued. My friend would send them to me because of its motto: "The Laid Back Snack" -- which he thought was good for a laid back guy like me.
Dec. 24th, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
Re: What you will and what you won't
I thought that Drifters had been discontinued (I haven't seen them on sale for years, but to be fair I haven't been looking), but just found some amusing information online:

According to the Nestle website, "it takes one hour to make a Drifter bar from start to finish"! So maybe they're just not that cost-effective to manufacture. According to Wikipedia there's a "fault" in the process because it's too full of transfats. (I love the note about the Drifter spotted in the wild!)

Dec. 25th, 2008 01:25 am (UTC)
Re: What you will and what you won't
Thanks for the info! It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who misses The Drifter!
Dec. 14th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
Ha ha, I am well curious about this fake WI....I want to join!
PS We have some homemade quince jam from Stephen's parents at the 'mo if you'd like to come over and taste's a HUGE jar so you've got quite a wide window of opportunity.
Dec. 14th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
PS That was me btw!
Dec. 15th, 2008 08:48 am (UTC)
Oh, I SO want to try that jam!!!
Dec. 15th, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC)
There's a deli over in Bellevue called "From Russia With Love" - I bet they carry this intriguing beverage. Time for a taste excursion!
Dec. 15th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
agree about the kid with the caviar! he should win a prize!

but ooh lala - you do russian maiden really good. fantastic photos!
Jan. 30th, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC)
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( 27 comments — Leave a comment )


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