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FW: [SCA-cooks] Cheese in the Domostroi

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  • Jeanne
    From another list. Can anyone help? Soffya Appollonia Tudja http://www.aeonline.biz/Links.htm Argent, a patriarchal cross between three crescent gules on a
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 2, 2003
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      From another list. Can anyone help?

      Soffya Appollonia Tudja
      http://www.aeonline.biz/Links.htm
      Argent, a patriarchal cross between three crescent gules on a chief sable
      three fleur-de-lys Or

      A member of my barony, of Russian persuasion, is trying to find out more on
      Russian cheesemaking in period.

      Does anyone know if the Domostroi has anything about cheese or cheesemaking,
      or should I point her to one of the secondary sources like "Bread and Salt"?

      Thanks,

      Vicente
    • Yana
      ... I already answered this one on the SCA Cooks list, so I ll just post my reply here, for the edification of the masses ;-) ... or cheesemaking, ... Why,
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 2, 2003
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        > >From another list. Can anyone help?
        ><snip>
        >A member of my barony, of Russian persuasion, is trying to find out more on
        >Russian cheesemaking in period.

        I already answered this one on the SCA Cooks list, so I'll just post my
        reply here, for the edification of the masses ;-)

        ----------------------------------------------------

        >Does anyone know if the Domostroi has anything about cheese
        or >cheesemaking,
        >or should I point her to one of the secondary sources like "Bread and Salt"?

        Why, yes, the Domostroi does have info about cheese. Cheese was recommended
        to be produced at home (Pouncy:150), in order that you [the homeowner]
        would "celebrate your good fortune every day. You will never have to go to
        market." So cheese was also commercially produced.

        Cheese was kept in either the cellar, the icehouse, or in the small
        storerooms (Pouncy:165). The text lists many different foodstuffs, and
        doesn't say which was stored where.

        The above is from the SCA-period parts of the Domostroi. There is no
        mention of how the cheese was made in the Domostroi, in either the period,
        or non-period sections. I checked the original Russian, to see what was
        being translated as "cheese," but it is just "syr", the generic word for
        "cheese." I was hoping that it might be "tvorog" (a certain type of
        Russian cheese) or something more specific.

        In "Bread and Salt" (I'm going to abbreviate it "BaS", and may I say that
        boy, you are good. You actually made me move some computer equipment
        around, just to get to my cooking files.), cheese is mentioned as one of
        the items eaten on Easter Sunday, as well as placed on the altar (a common
        practice even today, for parts of the Easter feast to be brought to chuch
        to be blessed) [BaS:98-99]. Cheese was also used as a filling in breads or
        rich breads (korovai) in the very early 17th century [BaS:116]. There is a
        mention of caviar being pressed into cheese [BaS:125], but no date that I
        could find (it's hot, gimme a break).

        Now since I couldn't check the original Russian for the Easter references,
        it might possibly, *possibly* be that the cheese in question eventually
        became part of what is called today (don't know about then, but likely the
        same) "paskha," a sweetened cheese mixture that was molded into a pyramid
        and marked with the Cyrillic initials "XB", which stand for Khristos
        Voskres (Christ is Risen). Think of it as a slightly grainy, crustless
        cheesecake. Very yum. It is traditionally made with tvorog, a dry cottage
        cheese. Tvorog can also be pressed and drained, so that it is much more
        firm and can actually be sliced (kinda crumbly, like feta). This is what I
        would keep in mind when thinking about period Russian cheeses, that they
        may have been very similar to the modern tvorog. Easily made at home,
        could be pressed and dried, which would keep much longer than in the more
        liquid-y form.

        To sum up, yes, the Russians ate cheese (at least the upper-middle classes
        did, and perhaps their servants), but no, we don't know what type of
        cheese, or how it was made. Hope this saves some research!

        --Yana (Geez, I just rejoined the list yesterday!)
        <http://medievalrussia.freeservers.com>
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