Sunday, March 1, 2009

Happy Maslentitsa! (Selectively Assimilated)

I have every intention of writing a "juicy" post about "Maslenitsa," the week filled with blini (Russian crepes) preceding Lent... We spent yesterday celebrating it at Chekhov's home in the countryside -- I have a really neat post to compose once I get the chance*!

In the meantime, today, the last day before Lent begins in the Russian Orthodox church, is when you're supposed to ask for forgiveness -- so that the negative "goes away" with the winter and a fresh, clean Spring is ushered in tomorrow. (Hmm... It's not exactly feeling as if we're about to begin Spring in 30 minutes, but whatever...)

Katya spent last night at the home of the Russian Orthodox pal from school who invited us to the festivities yesterday, returning tonight. 

Katya: Mom! Today's the day you're supposed to say you're sorry! So, I'm sorry!

Me: (Curious... ) Sorry? For what? 

Katya: Well, I'm supposed to say I'm sorry. Um, well, for anything I've done.

Me: (Still curious...) What did you do that you're sorry for?

Katya: (Dubious... trying to please). Um... Not listen? 

Me: Oh, that's wonderful! And I'm sorry I lose my patience! Do today's apologies mean that we're not supposed to do these things anymore?

Katya: (Afraid, then relieved). Uh, I don't think so... I'm not Russian, you know... So you can't expect me to actually believe all these Russian traditions... Besides, burning the Maslenitsa doll (more on that tomorrow) takes away the memories of the bad things, so you won't know that some things have been making you mad for a while!

I see! Well then...  I guess this means she'll understand when I, her non-Russian mom, am not always patient in the coming year! 

*This week is yet another really busy week...  And this weekend was very busy, too. How I want things to slow down... I'm not sure how much time I'll have to blog in the next few days, but I have SO many pictures from last week to post... I'm having a tough time balancing being a mom and also working right now. This week will be an adjustment since it will be our first week with Natalia no longer attending her daily kindergarten.


Rachael said...

Cute! She's a smartie.

We had some blini last week too. My friend Olga made them for Katya's birthday and we inhaled the whole stack in the blink of an eye.

Anonymous said...

That is the problem with blini, they are almost as bad as pelmeni, you can never make too many of them.
That is so funny how Katya is sorting what to associate with. It is amazing how kids read these signs the society gives them. She is choosing and picking her background and the consequences of it, it is just so neat and cute.

Susan said...

We are Greek Orthodox, and we do the same thing (ask for forgiveness)
We dont do pancakes. In Greece they celebrate Clean Monday. Which is tomorrow. Everyone will clean out their kitchens of any nonfasting food. Dairy, meat, eggs,oil and wine. Doesnt leave much to eat does it???
A Greek custom is to go on a picnic and fly kites.
My husband and son are there now.(Greece) I wonder if they will go kiteflying:)

Annie said...

What a distressingly tempting post!

I wish so much that the Catholic Church had a "Shrove Tuesday" still...I think that idea of starting Lent fresh and clean is SO GOOD. But it is no longer a tradition - or even mentioned as a nice possibility I don't understand why. (Shall I start a return to this tradition?)

I am sure my children would have no problem, each and every one, thinking of something to say they are sorry for!!!

Here's another practical issue: while blini are supposed to be the non-fasting food....because, as Catholics we are giving up meat and sweets, usually, rather than fats and eggs, blini are the perfect, simple Lenten dinner. Oh, well. We actually did have them for brunch today. Sergei told me that I am actually getting good at making them. That's nice - after four years of trying! Mine are surely not as uniform in size and shape as yours, though!!!!

Tina in CT said...

I was into making crepes during the 70's and know that the batter is like a thin pancake batter. How do blini, crepe and pancake batter differ? Also, what is the difference between those 3 and a blintz?

We suppose to get a real Nor'easter tonight and 12 - 16 inches. Guess I'll be taking a vacation day tomorrow from work. I really am hoping the company closes.

Christine said...

How yummy! Your girls are just precious.

Tina in CT said...

Check Spotlight Savings - new items and several you might want.

Katya said...

We missed maslenitsa this year... I love blini but last week was so crazy we never got around to making them!

Katya said...

Tina... blini and crepes are pretty similar. I believe the technical difference is that you fry one of them on both sides and one on only one side... A blintz, in American usage, is a stuffed crepe or blini.

Anonymous said...

I think that all the names we use in US are just a slang for foreign pancakes.
Russian pancakes are made in many different ways:
- the real blini, are the most old-fashioned ones and made using yeast dough, it takes a long time to bring the dough, and the buckwheat flower is usually added
- blinchicky are the quick ones, made with eggs milk and flour
-the buttermilk blini, quick ones also, and made with baking soda
and endless other ones that I never made.
American pancakes are very close to Russian oladii, except that oladyi are fried as small ones, sort of the size and shape of potatoes pancakes.
You can tell from this post that I love pancakes.

Tina in CT said...

Olga and Katya,

Thanks for the lesson.

I also love pancakes, crepes, blini and blintzes.

Last night I made blueberry pancakes to have this morning (and the next 2 mornings) for breakfast. To go with it, I have Rachel's mom and dad's homemade maple syrup.


Anonymous said...

your breakfast plan sounds delicious to me.