Well, 2009 was a busy year, and a good one. I'll probably do a year in review post later, but for now I'm more focussed on the upcoming Russian Christmas party!
VERY EXCITED. And a little stressed. Will people come? Will there be enough food? Will Trixie freak out on my amazing brother and his amazing girlfriend? Will I be a maniac and make Patrick stomp his feet? Will I ever get the smell of butter and onions out of the floorboards/walls/clothes? Hosting a party can be hard.
But I kinda love it. I'll be making many traditional Doukhobor dishes again this year - lapshevnik, borscht, vereniki, nalyesniki, pyrahi, ploh, etc. But this year I'm going to try something old but new, if that makes any sense.
Among the things I received when my father passed away were some recipes. His, my fabulous stepmother's, my grandmother's. I've got a little metal box filled with weathered and smudgy recipe cards, almost all in my Grandmother's careful hand, covering a whole range of things to eat and drink. There are some recipes she snipped out of the paper or from a package, there are recipes she got from friends and family, and there are many many many of hers.
All of them talk to me. I can hear her voice and that of my Auntie, I can smell the dough rising and picture the faces of the people she references in the recipes. I can also hear my Dad, Grandpa and Uncle - three men who sure knew a good meal when it was put in front of them. It hurts a little, there is so much I wish that I would have said or done. But it's wonderful at the same time, and I wouldn't trade it.
Anyhow, I'm going to use some of the recipes in the box instead of my own ones this year. Ann Rilkoff, Dorothy Popoff, Ann Lebedoff and Anne Plotnikoff will all be showcased. I'm loving Grandma's little notes "Delicious!" or "Peter likes this" - that's my grandfather. The only problem is that she assumes a level of knowledge that isn't necessarily there. One recipe for lapshai lists the ingredients and then says "Mix in the usual way". I'm sure when she jotted it down that she didn't even think that anyone could NOT know how to make lapshai from scratch.
But somehow I'll forge on and do my best, and on Saturday I'll be celebrating life with my friends, my partner and my family - living and departed. I hope to do them all proud.
More as it happens, and I'll put up some pictures when I have them.