Happy Birthday Pop and Kathy…

Happy Birthday to my oldest sister Kathy and an early Happy Birthday to my Pop! Kathy’s birthday is today and Pop’s birthday is the 25th. He’ll be 85 on Sunday.


These photos were taken in 1947 or 1948. My Mother is pregnant with my sister Vera in this photo and Vera was born at the end of February in 1948. My parents had just immigrated to the USA from Iran. That is my oldest sister Kathy in both these photos. Kathy was born in Iran in May of 1946.

I love this photo of Kathy on the swing in the park with all the people sitting on the benches in the background. The men and some of the women with hats on. This photo is also from the late 40’s.


Here’s a photo of Kathy and my Pop taken last night at a family celebration.

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage and they have blacked them all out. I’m slowly working at restoring my posts without their help. Such a tiresome bother!

The Russian Pouring Teapot ~ Samovar

I came across these very old Paintings of Russians drinking tea (chai) and I wanted to share them. This first photo is from 1889.

I would love to own one of these older Samovars. See the glasses on the bowls. She is pouring the hot water into the glasses with a strong steep of tea. The concentrate of tea is in a small pot that fits on top of the Samovar.

“Of all beverages, tea alone has the proverbial power to relieve toska, the sadness and melancholy which traditionally burden the Russian spirit. The samovar which dispenses it is a time-honoured symbol of Russian hospitality. It stands for the hearth, the warmth of a Russian welcome, the restorative powers of a glass of tea around the stove after hours in sub-zero temperatures. The word means ‘self-boiler’ and the samovar is just that, a portable water heater made traditionally of brass and fuelled with pine cones or charcoal. On top of it rests a teapot containing a powerful infusion. To pour a glass of tea, a little of this concentrate is diluted with boiling water from the urn. This way it is always fresh never stewed.”


After serving the tea the guests will pour the tea out of their glasses into their bowls and sip the tea from the bowl. This is how I remember drinking tea with my grandparents and relatives growing up. We had tea glasses and bowls. Here’s another quote from The Food and Cooking of Russia by Leslie Chamberlain.


“Sadly, the modern Samovar is a plug-in electrical device distinquished by its mass production shoddiness and the fact that no one wants to buy it. It is perhaps a fitting epitaph on the death of a culture. In the nineteenth century the samovar and the tea glass holder, found in daily use in the lowliest and the richest households, inspired some of the finest secular silverwork ever produced in Russia.” This is one of my Samovars that is an electric one, modern and mostly made for the tourist trade. They are pretty to have around but not the older genuine article. Here are the tea glass holders spoken of in the quote, podstakanik.



In this painting again they are drinking tea from the bowl. Statistically the Russians are among the world’s top three tea-drinking nations (with Britain and Japan).

Can you see the Teapots on the table that look similar to mine above? I was excited to see this.


Now the next photograph is a group of modern Russians getting the samovar ready at my brother’s reception to celebrate his marriage.


My nephew Joe, my brother Tim, my husband, my BIL Steve, and my son Daniel. A couple of these guys aren’t Russian by blood but they have embraced part of our culture anyway.

They had to stoke it up outside because it was causing some problems and not wanting to light.

For more posts on the Pouring Teapot hop over to LaTeaDah’s.

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage and they have blacked them all out. I’m slowly working at restoring my posts without their help. Such a tiresome bother!

Recipe Round Up ~ Russian Recipes

May’s Recipe Round Up

will be at Whatever Things…

Recipes Around The World

This month’s recipe category will be recipes unique either to the part of the world or country you live or where you’re from originally. It’s a bit like “The Great British Menu,” but with a worldwide focus.

The recipe can be for Snacks, Starters, Main Courses, Desserts, Cakes, Biscuits or even a Hot or Cold drink recipe.

My heritage is Russian (100%). I have several Russian Recipes featured on my blog already so I’ll inclule the links to click on and you’ll be able to see some step by step recipes and photos.

We’ll start with Borsch


Then how about some Golubtzi? (Stuffed Cabbage)


And lastly although I have a few more recipes is this simple version of Lopsha.


For more recipes with an International flare or to join in the fun click over to Whatever Things.

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage and they have blacked them all out. I’m slowly working at restoring my posts without their help. Such a tiresome bother!

Cherry Varenya ~ Russian Tea Sweetener

The Russian immigrants I grew up around would make and enjoy this Cherry Syrup made with whole pie cherries in their hot tea. They used this syrup in place of sugar to sweeten their tea. I called my mother this week to get the following recipe from her to share for The-Sweet-and-Savory-of-Yummy.

This is a very simple recipe for Cherry Varenya. This is a syrup made with Cherries to sweeten hot tea with.

Cherry Varenya

1/2 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Whole Sour Cherries (Pie Cherries)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

You would increase the proportions of this recipe according to how many cherries you have on hand that you want to make into Varenya.

Boil the water and sugar to make a clear simple syrup. When the liquid is clear add your cherries and let it boil for 10 to 20 minutes (depending on how hard the cherries were to begin with) At the end of the boiling add 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to help preserve the brightness of the syrup.

You may want to can it at this point. (I don’t know how to can anything so you are on your own here!) 🙂

You can do this process with sliced lemons, too, to make a Lemon Varenya.

Lemon Varenya

When I was young our family would go to a Cherry Orchard somewhere near Lancaster, California in July when the pie cherries were ready to harvest. It might have been in the Leona Valley. We would pick cherries all day and take home upwards of 40 pounds of cherries. That’s a lot of Varenya. When we picked this much my parents would give about half of the cherries away to other relatives and friends who couldn’t make the trek out to the Cherry Farm. Then it was a full day of preparing the cherries for Varenya. Washing, cooking and canning.