Voices from Russia

Sunday, 21 January 2018

21 January 2018. F M Dostoyevsky on that Most-Russian Thing… the Samovar

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“Tea isn’t vodka, you can drink all that you want”… that’s the old folk wisdom anyway. The Russians, not the English, are the tea-drinking champions of Europe. Russians always seem to have a “brew up” and never seem to be without a teacup at hand. Most Russians prefer their tea sweet and without milk, and I’m no exception to that. We like our tea hot, strong, and sweet… just as we like our men to be!

BMD

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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

22 July 2015. A Blast from the Russian-American (and Jewish) Past… Swee-Touch-Nee Tea

00 swee-touch-nee tea 02

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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00 swee-touch-nee tea 01

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It seemed like many Jewish and Russian-American families had the familiar red tin. The name is an attempt at translating “flowery”… you can still get it on Amazon, I think. I’ll check again. A BLAST FROM THE PAST! There was a political statement in the tea, too! Jews who were more favourable towards Russia drank Swee-Touch-Nee. Russophobic and rabidly Zionist Jews drank Wissotsky’s. To a degree, this still holds true! Yes… you can still find Swee-Touch-Nee in the Jewish foods section of many stores (but the loose-leaf variety, I fear, has gone the way of all flesh). Some have spotted it at some Wegmans locations…

BMD

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I’ve passed this tea countless times in the kosher section of my grocery store; it’s labelled “The Aristocrat of Teas”. I’ve read many Amazon.com reviews from people delighted to reconnect with the Swee-Touch-Nee Tea they so fondly remember from their childhood growing up the New York City area. However, sometimes, we develop nostalgia for things that, as adults, we realise really weren’t that great. I assumed this was the case with Swee-Touch-Nee. I was kind of wrong. It’s not the greatest tea, but I appreciate many not-so-great teas, and this one has some characteristics that make it worthwhile. The aroma always appears sweet and vegetal to me. Sometimes, I notice a woody quality, sometimes, I detect a bit of sweet spice (whatever that is). It goes down smooth with pleasant astringency, and it seems to pack quite a caffeine punch. Although Swee-Touch-Nee tea’s medium body holds up fairly well to milk, I find it best enjoyed without. A little sweetener or lemon would be okay. Swee-Touch-Nee, in case you’re wondering, transliterates the Russian word “tsvetochny”,’ which means flowery. Strangely enough, today, my wife asked me, “What was that tea you made the other morning that tasted flowery?” Perhaps, her concise analysis is more accurate than mine is.

11 November 2013

Leo Kapusta

Second Cuppa

http://www.secondcuppa.com/swee-touch-nee-tea-review/

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Yes, we have one of the red tins on the porch… all of us “of a certain age” probably have them… it’s a real “blast from the past”…

BMD

Monday, 29 September 2014

29 September 2014. Hey, Hey, Hey, It’s National Coffee Day!

00 Grey Cat. 23.09.12. Coffee... NOW.

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00 RIA-Novosti Infographics. Latte, Iced, or Mocha. What's Inside Trendy Coffees. 2013

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00 Do I Gotta Get Up. Where's My Coffee. 31.10.12

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01 Woman Drinking Coffee

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It’s NATIONAL COFFEE DAY! Hey, I need a cup o’ good industrial-strength joe to get the ol’ brain cells firing and up to speed (contrary to konvertsy rumour, I’m not just running on my brainstem). If you can put in a slug of something nice, well… that just makes a good thing BETTER. Trust me, try a fresh cuppa java with a shot of anisette… a little brown sugar and cream (no, not milk, you moron… cream… the real deal… NOT half n’ half)… now, that’s the ticket on a cold winter’s night.

Coffee… the staff o’ life of the civilised world… along with tea, of course. I split the ticket, having a foot in the Russian World and a foot in the American World. Which do I prefer? I take the Fifth on that one (and a slug off the fifth, if you catch my drift)… I like both equally… it’s like kids… you love ’em all, but each one a little bit differently (but with the same intensity). Don’t leave home without it…

BMD

Thursday, 19 September 2013

19 September 2013. What Life Magazine Thought was a “Traditional Russian Breakfast” in 1972

00 traditional russian breakfast. 1972. 19.09.13

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In 1972, Life magazine published a series of photographs on the subject of breakfast. This acquainted readers with traditional breakfast items in different parts of the world. How close the creators of this collection came to the truth, well, one can tell from the description of the “traditional Russian breakfast“. It was something out of a 19th century Russian novel… not at all like a contemporary breakfast in Russia today. The “traditional Russian breakfast” included dark bread, sour cherry jam, blini, smoked fish, kisel, tea, and kasha. That would be nice… if one could get it…

BMD

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