74 years ago yesterday, the Soviet government announced victory in Russia over the Nazi regime. This era in history is one of my favorites for the fashion and the strength of character and the patriotic spirit, but I am yet grateful for the victory won over tyranny and hate. Continuing to learn about the homefront during this era has inspired me in many ways.
One of the ways I have been inspired is by learning that the direct result of the menfolk being sent to foreign places was their acquiring tastes for foreign foods/dishes. Coming home didn’t cure them of their newly acquired tastes and the womenfolk were challenged with recreating these new-to-them dishes homeside. This opened up America to the world and its variety of flavors. Such opportunity!
Last night, as we reminisced about how impactful this day in history was, we tried out a new (more complex) recipe for borscht. Borscht is a hearty soup which contains a variety of ingredients depending on where in Eastern Europe you’re having/preparing it. The thematic ingredient however is beets.
Earthy and sweet, you either love them or hate them. My dad used to say it was like eating dirt. Sometimes, depending on the way they’re prepared/presented, I can agree. Far too earthy for my tastes generally. Every time I’ve made borscht, I’ve been mindful of the other ingredients going in. Occasionally, beets are the starring role. Occasionally, they’re part of an ensemble cast of delicious parts.
This recipe from Betty Crocker (which I got from my Betty Crocker Bridal Edition Cookbook) casts beets in a supporting role with beef and smoked ham hock playing right alongside to accentuate the positive aspects of beets and ameliorate the negative. The smell wafting through the house is one of familiar savory stew, but with unanticipated notes of cardamom and cinnamon carousing in the background courtesy of the pickling spice tied up bouquet garni-style.
Have you ever tried borscht? What are your thoughts?