Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy Old New Year!

Today is Old New Year's Day and in kitchens across Russia, many a cook has been busy making vareniki.

Vareniki for the Old New Year are filled with mashed potato with little surprises thrown in a few -- a coin, some salt, a button -- all of which are said to tell a fortune for the new year.

Homemade vareniki are the very best, of course, although in this era of convenience foods, prepared vareniki ( var-EN-ee-kee) await in the frozen food department.
This nice lady was happy to demonstrate the fine art of vareniki shoveling.

In recent years, our congregation celebrated the Old New Year in a major way, mostly because it is the birthday of Igor Egirev, our beloved preacher then, before he and family relocated to another city. So it was to celebrate both occasions that several sisters met one January morning and cranked out dozens of vareniki, or, as expressed in Russian, they made tens of vareniki. Here's the scoop on all that.

Then on a recent visit to Ternopil, Ukraine, two dear Christian sisters, Valya and daughter Anya, make vareniki for our Sunday lunch. Vareniki are popular year round but only the Old New Year's variety have the little surprise fortunes.

Mother and daughter fun in the kitchen. Love their being so practical: cutting dough circles with a cup.

Confession: These might be something other than vareniki. If not vareniki, they're oh so very close.
Vareniki tend to be a bit smaller and are usually boiled and the dough is less puffy than that pictured. So I might need to be corrected on this. Whatever, these were so good, served hot and with sour cream, just like vareniki.

In case you're inspired to head into the kitchen and whip up some vareniki for your family, here's a helpul video. The narration is in Russian but you'll understand from the visual.

Interesting that the cook here is using a upright mixer. She might be in a commercial kitchen whereas most home cooks would be mixing this by hand. Wooden spoons are lots more common than are upright mixers.

So those are some highlights of the Old, New Year celebration. Whether there's a coin in your vareniki or a bean in your dumpling, here's wishing you and yours a splendid new year, indeed!

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