July 3, 2008

Lunch on a Farm

Lunch on a farm just outside Suzdal' was so phenomenal it deserves its own entry. The family lives on what appears to be a more or less self-sustaining farm with fields of potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers (which Suzdal' is famous for), herbs, beets, onions and a few animals: pigs, cows, chickens, and a pen with about 20 of the cutest ducklings in Russia.

The family had set up a long table in the yard and everything they gave us (with the exception of some of the beverages) was homemade, with many of the ingredients coming from their own gardens. We feasted on tomatoes, radishes, cukes, pickles; homemade cheese - it was DELICIOUS; all sorts of buns stuffed with different fillings; little quiches that had Russian cottage cheese (more like our cream cheese); tiny boiled new potatoes with dill; blini with homemade sour cream; carrot and cabbage slaw; and free-flowing beverages, including homemade honey moonshine, factory-produced mead, whisky, some sort of special baked milk that I was scared to try, and tea. Everything was scrumptious.

We made up a new song as we boarded the bus to the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus" - the people on the bus go EAT and DRINK... Eat, eat, eat definitely seems to be our motto!

Still, we survived walking around an open air museum with some stunning traditional wooden architecture. Did you know that aspen wood, as it ages, resembles silver? This is why so many Russian structures - the "gingerbread" trim on houses, windows, and even churches is made from aspen wood. Visitors who wonder where Russians found so much silver need only look to the aspen stands in the forests. The staff were all in traditional dress and it was much like the village at Old Salem in North Carolina or New Salem near Springfield, IL.

One funny tidbit for my girls: there was a big yellow balloon/blimp floating around that looked like the Beatles Yellow Submarine! I tried to get a picture and we all sang "Yellow Submarine" in honor of Emma...

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