We just got back from our Wednesday cultural trip to one of the villages about an hour outside Yaroslavl, and I had to sit down right away to capture my thoughts before they escaped me. So now I’ve set my iPod to play RJD2- Ghostwriter on repeat and I’m ready to write…
We all fell asleep on the ride over and I was woken up by the jolting bumps of the road turning from the usual sloppily paved variety to dirt. We got out of Nikolai’s van with him yawning at us and mocking us and went into a wooden home from the 19th century where our lunch feast was set out for us. There was borscht, potatoes with mushrooms, whole pieces of fish (head, fins and all), beet salad, small herring, chili, white bread, dark bread, rolls stuffed with potato and cabbage, apples, sweet cream cheese frosted rolls and candy all set out for us. And all of it came from the village of Peter and Paul.
The fish had been caught that day. The vegetables were grown in the ladies’ gardens. The breads were baked by the lad y who was our tour guide and her friends who helped her out earlier that morning.
We sat and just ate and ate and ate for probably an hour. Nikolai joked that it was rude to leave a table without eating anything on it. And I joked back to our 71 year-old driver that it was the responsibility of the eldest to finish what was left. The beet soup borscht which had tasted so awful back at the hotel yesterday was delicious today. I ate all of my potatoes and half a plate more and wasn’t at all bothered by the mushrooms. I even dared to try the fish, picking at the blackened skin and scales with my hands like I was told to and spitting out the bones. Nadia told us that workers in villages like this were typically judged by how much and how well they ate. Christine commented that she had never seen me eat like this. And we ate some more. It was the perfect last meal before fasting for Yom Kippur tonight and tomorrow.