The Tsarist way to usher in next week’s Olympic Games would require a magnum of Champagne and jars of caviar. But for local viewers planning a more authentically Russian celebration, Euro Foods sells most of the needed staples.
Sadly, owner Sasha Pavlichenko didn’t have the pickled herring I wanted to make shuba (sometimes called herring under a fur coat) for my Opening Ceremonies party. But had I been willing to undertake the pickling process myself, he had plenty of fresh herring in the cooler. And he sold me the tinned sardines I needed for sardine butter.
The sardine butter is destined for my attempt at zakuska, a pre-meal snack spread that’s possibly an offshoot of the traditional Scandinavian smorgasbord. While zakuska didn’t become popular until the 18th century, Russian food writers now hold up the practice as emblematic of Russian hospitality, the rules of which dictate you should never ask a guest whether he’d like something to eat – because of course he wants something to eat. Continue reading