ABOUT Easter Many Russian writers wrote, and the descriptions of the Easter table occupy the last place in these texts. And whatever the scale of the talent of the writer, this moment he always came out perfectly.
Maybe this is a paradox — or maybe a miracle.
Here is how described Easter table revolutionary populist Felix Volkhovsky, in all other respects, an implacable man who thought more about a bright future than about the soul.
«Throughout the outer wall of the dining room stretched Easter table in a good one and a half arshin of width and more than a length of sazhan. It is covered with a white tablecloth, and on it. My God, what was not there.
In the middle, standing up, leaning against the wall (here’s how to put the picture) was placed "dancer" — a quadrangular butter biscuit in a hand thickness, about arshin length and the corresponding width. With the help of sliced white almonds, the figural basket was very skillfully depicted on it, and from it, in the shape of a regular semicircle, raisin, almond, marmalade and other flowers, delightful in its edibility, stretched. To the right and left dancers crowded, like gentle and slim Odalisks to their sultan, with half a dozen "women" different varieties and textures (a few were available in reserve — in the pantry!).
Their tops were covered with white or pink sugar icing inlaid with sugar-cooked fruits and the finest of sugar colored varieties. "poppy".
A huge ham with a luxurious paper frill and a half-fat brown skin, pinned with two neat wooden heels, opened its pale pink meat and snow-white lard … Roasted suckling pig fed with milk, holding in a grinded piece a piece of brushed horseradish, in the form of brushes he seemed to laugh gayly, narrowing his eyes.
Butter was made of butter, covered in curls, holding "on the shoulder!" a red banner with a gold cross on it.
Eggs — red, pink, yellow, black and purple, “marble”, Ukrainian "Easter eggs" — cheered the heart with their colorful dress. … Two cheese Easter — one salty, the other sweet — were the pride of the owners, but real punishment for the guests with taste, because, having tried one, I wanted to try the other, and after reading the second, I was drawn back to the first, and so on and on.
After all, it was a whole poem — this Easter table! … made of delicate fabric "women", from the filling prepared with such difficulty and diligence, from each piece of lard and meat standing on the table, warmth and kindness flowed out in a wide wave, and gently, lightly, gently embraced and enveloped every visitor. But still, in order to fully, as it should, with all your being, experience and feel this kindness, you had to go to the table, take a clean plate, knife and fork, cut it off, otkovyrnut there, accept kindly put one of the housewives, chew it all and drink .
Is it possible to replace everything with a description? No, I’d rather just put a full stop and draw a line. ”
The quotation is great, but throwing a hand out of it doesn’t raise a hand — no matter how it rises to remove at least one dish from a real Easter table, even if its legs are broken down from gravity. “The Easter table has to break!” — Immutable rule of Russian antiquity.
After all, with the onset Resurrection of Christ was ending Great Post, which lasted for almost seven weeks, during which the food was more than modest and scarce. Because the joy of the offensive Easter was tangible than now, when fasting, if anyone keeps, then in a very sparing manner.
And they prepared for the holiday ahead of time; Volkhovsky writes about this: “Long before the holidays, the house came into a feverish state. The hams that came from Pochep were examined and selected, various sausages and salses were made in the kitchen, a piglet who had to give his soul to the Paschal gastronomic god was planted on a doubled and refined diet; old proven recipes were pulled out of storage "women" (papores), "Mazurkas" (kind of sweet cookies), cakes, and purchased new ones; Forms for paposhniki were prepared in the form of paper cylinders sewn with threads, for which the archive of the post office was brought to justice. «
The main troubles began in Clean thursday.
They put everything in order in the house, after which the work was transferred to the kitchen: they painted and painted eggs, mixed Easter eggs and were engaged in baking, which they traditionally cooked a lot of the most diverse.
Everything was connected to the case, from small to large, the smoke stood like a rocker: “they pushed and sifted on all sorts of sieves: sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, insisted on alcohol saffron, washed in ten waters with fresh oil, crumbled sweet and bitter almonds.”
In the Russian stove, sweet «women» were baked — a gentle woman, a capricious woman, a down woman, a lace woman, a tulle woman, a Frana woman and others. And their names speak for themselves!
Babas and grandmothers were unusually light, airy and gentle, and demanded a lot of attention and skill.
The secret of success consisted in intensive and continuous beating of egg whites and yolks separately, as well as in the action of yeast — to obtain a light and delicate structure, the dough was kept warm, treating it carefully and carefully so that the woman would not «catch a cold» and not fall from the sharp movement.
Experiences of the housewives — whether the dough will succeed, whether it will rise well and how then to get the baked «woman» out of the oven — they swallowed up all the households without exception, and how many disputes and conversations have been negotiated, and not at all count!
The dough for some of the «women» required a special approach — for three, four or even five hours it was necessary to continuously beat it up with a large wooden spoon or spatula, which required remarkable endurance and strength.
And here all who could come to help.
Specially hired helpers for whipping, acquaintances, relatives, and even guests who came by chance got into the kitchen prisoner, if only the beating would not be interrupted for a minute.
But even so, human strength was sometimes not enough, and interrupting the “beating” for at least five minutes meant almost destroying the whole world — and this was why all the fever with a touch of festive excitement took possession of everyone. Now and then in the kitchen there were intermittent voices: "Come on, now I’ll beat a little bit!". "Well, now you beat, you already rested!"
Then the alarms only grew, the most crucial moment came — the dough rose and “sat” in the oven. And another “woman”, who had reached an incredible size, gathered around her a whole meeting of the household, the main issue of which was — how to remove it from the oven in all its glory and not damage it! The excited voices interrupted each other and, finally, they all came to the conclusion that there was no other way than to break the brow of the furnace.
What then with caution and proceeded: «surpassing itself "woman", with the help of a poker and grip, with all sorts of precautions, it was taken out and put sideways on the pillow, and the brow was sealed again. ”
Hard to imagine Easter table and without the cake. Kulichi, like the «women», prepared in the Russian stove, in huge forms, which in terms of volume could be compared only with a bucket.
For decoration, they used multicolored millet, roasted and finely chopped grains of almond nuts or edible flowers.
In addition to Easter cakes of various sizes, Easter cheese curd whitened on the Easter table.
For this purpose, milk was specially collected throughout the entire fasting, in order to then make from it first cottage cheese, and then the most delicious Easter varieties of different varieties — raw, boiled or baked.
A landowner from the village of Kartsevo, in the Ryazan province, Anna Kuzminichna Lelong wrote in her memoirs that they made a raw Easter “from cream, cream cheese, fresh eggs and butter; added a large amount of crushed sifted cinnamon and sugar. «
Obviously, to her taste she looked more like a fat cream than cottage cheese. Such Easter It was the easiest to prepare: after all the ingredients were ground in a specific sequence, they were laid in wooden pouch boxes and placed under a press.
Due to the lack of heat treatment, such Easter eggs were eaten first of all (in a day or two) after they were taken out of the mold.
Boiled Easter, in its composition is not different from the raw, on the contrary, cooked.
In this case, the total cooking time took at least an hour.
And they were preparing it «from an equal amount of cream, sour cream, which were cooked together in a free spirit, a small amount of cottage cheese was added to this mixture, placed under a press, then sugar, vanilla and zest were put into this mass.»
Cooking boiled Easter eggs went on in the oven (after baking bread) on the so-called free spirit, when there was no direct fire in the oven, and the temperature gradually dropped, and the oven began to cool.
A special place was occupied by the so-called baked easter.
For them, special forms were used, but since the type of baked Easter was not as elegant as the others, they used some tricks to give taste and appearance to such Easter — for example, they prepared it on the basis of baked milk (such Easter was called “red”) , or made cottage cheese from ryazhenka and already baked Easter from it.
Cottage cheese for Easter was thoroughly rubbed and tamped into wooden Easter boxes.
On the inside of the pasochnits, the symbols of the Easter greeting were carved — the letters «XB«, (Meaning»Christ is Risen!«), As well as images of the cross, spear, cane, sprouted grains, sprouts and flowers — symbols of the Suffering and Resurrection of the Lord.
All these drawings and inscriptions were then printed on the finished Easter.
Thanks to this wooden pasochnitsa, the most correct form of cottage cheese Easter (in the form of a truncated pyramid), symbolizing the Holy Sepulcher, was obtained.
This is how little Vanya, the preparation of Easter, recollects — the hero of Ivan Shmelev’s novel “Summer of the Lord”: “Voronin is crumpled in a wide tub in the cellar.
Fat Voronin and the baker, having rolled up their hands, poked red fists into the curd, poured raisins and sugar into it, and promptly crushed them into pasochnits.
Give me a try on the finger: well, how? Sour, but I, out of courtesy, praise.
I help rub the curd on the grill. … wipe everything in five sieves; Pasoh we need a lot.
For us — the most real, it smells like Easter. Then — for guests, front, still "small" Easter, two people, and more — poor relatives.
We smell mastic, Easter and ham. ”
Easter, like cakes, was cooked a lot — so that it would be enough both for itself and for the treats of numerous relatives and other guests who came to the celebration throughout Easter week.
Krashenki, pysanki, drapanz and others
In the Easter celebration, painted eggs — Krashenkas, krapankas, drapanches, malevanka, eggs and pysanky — were a special gift.
The variety of painted eggs on the Easter table was enormous; they differed not only in the methods of coloring, but in the purposes for which they were intended.
Easter eggs — raw eggs, which were painted with various ornaments and patterns — were intended rather for giving, and not for food. They were kept in the most prominent places in the house and placed in front of the icons. And painted their true masters.
To do this, the surface of the eggs was first degreased with vinegar, then marked up with a future pattern and covered its lines with wax. Started painting an egg with yellow paint — "apple trees" (obtained from the bark and roots of a young apple tree), then stained with red paint, and finished with black staining (it required the longest staining — about 14 hours).
Between the layers of paint waxed all the new patterns, so that the planned pattern was preserved.
The finished eggs were carefully rubbed and then polished with a linen cloth, erasing wax layers.
The most beautiful painted eggs were made in the southern regions of Russia and in Ukraine.
On Easter table Easter eggs laid out around the cake.
Near on a platter with sprouted oats or wheat they laid out Krashenki, dragonge, krapank and malevanka — all these eggs were intended for food: they were first boiled and then dyed in various ways.
Malevanki applied their unique invented drawings. After draping, a picture was painted on the drapergues, scratching the patterns with metal rods. Krapankov were with multi-colored round drops, spots or stripes.
And the Krashenki are monochromatic multi-colored eggs, and we are still preparing them for Easter.
Krashenok was decided to do a lot, because they served to break the fast and commemorate the departed, to play «cues» and «rinks.»
Another pysankami «Christos» — gave each other and many relatives as a gift for Easter kissing and greeting.
Krashenki was made to be distributed to honest people.
Krashenki were boiled first, and then boiled eggs were dyed with natural dyes: red onion peel gave a bright scarlet or dark red shade, cranberry or beet juice — pink, violet flowers — purple, and red cabbage — blue.
The intensity of the coloring depended on the time spent by the egg in the coloring broth.
The most elegant were the «eggs», which were usually made by the whole family. For this, they took thin hooks from wire and dipped them into melted wax, then drew them on the shell, and only after that they put the eggs in the paint.
In the places where the wax strip passed, the paint did not stick and various patterns were obtained. Painted eggs and marbled.
To do this, they were wrapped with dry leaves of oak, birch, nettle or tied up with colored threads, and a floral or other pattern came out.
The painted eggs were laid out around the “hill” of germinated cereals (oats, wheat), which enlivened the table with its soft green color.
However, painted eggs not only decorated the table, but also were the main attribute of Easter games and fun — such was the roll of the Easter eggs on the Red Hill. The kids organized «pokatushki»: a kind of competition, from whom the egg will roll further.
Easter painted egg meant a new life, its revival, so Easter eggs in Russia rolled on the ground so that it was fertile.
So, for the late Easter, the eggs were rolled over the grass, and the early ones were played by them in “cue balls”: they were beating eggs with eggs, who would have the strongest — happiness.
But finally, the eve of the holiday — Great Saturday.
On this day, houses and temples were decorated with lamps and icons, and in the church after the service, kulichs and eggs were prepared for the holiday.
By the night all the works were finished: Easter cooked, baked cakes and «women», painted eggs. The anxieties and excitements associated with the pre-holiday preparation have subsided. “The house is quiet, everyone lies down in front of the matins. In the dining room on the windows — painted eggs in baskets, crimson: tomorrow the father will christovatsya with the people.
In the front — green quarters with wine: to bring.
On the down pillows, in the dining room on the couch — so as not to fail! — there are huge cakes, covered with pink kisika, — cool down.
It smells of sweet warm fragrant. «
“Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death and bestowing existence on those in the tombs!” — a festive troparion sounds in the temple.
Sounds scatter to the very dome, filling the temple with joy and light.
And joyfully and lightly becomes at heart from the harmonious, jubilant choral sound, which affirms with its repeated repetition the offensive, perhaps the most important church holiday of the year — Easter! And although the festive divine service begins in the late evening and lasts for several hours, ending by the morning, the feeling of the Feast and general jubilation does not leave all those gathered!
And after the service of all the house waiting for a laid festive table.
And now let Easter we do not send ham from Pochep, and do not plant a suckling pig on a sophisticated diet, but, nevertheless, we still get the most successful and proven recipes of Easter cakes on the eve of the holiday, we pull out
wooden pasochnits, inherited from our grandmothers, and we collect onion peel to paint eggs. Then we paint, cook and bake the whole world, worrying about the results of our work.
And then we go to church to consecrate everything prepared by our hands in an atmosphere of special solemnity and reverence, in order to proudly place the festive meals on the traditional Easter table.