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In the second half of the nineteenth century, the merchant Riumin gave money for the construction, next to the Cathedral of the Dormition, of a canopied fountain pool. The shape of this structure is stylized in keeping with the notions of that time about the character of old Russian art. |
The Church of the Holy Spirit (1476) plays a special role in the composition of the square standing in front of the cathedral it links the earlier structures with their austere and concise features and bright-coloured decorative structures of the 17th century.
Built at the end of the 15th century and modelled on the churches designed for the installation of bells over them, the Church of the Holy Spirit has elongated proportions in its upper tier for functional purposes. It embodies the most typical features of the Moscow Baroque: the plastic expressiveness of elaborate details and clear-cut articulation of volumes. The chapel standing on the low land, at the foot of the hill dominated by the monastery, seems to meet travellers arriving from Moscow.
The Handbook for the Experienced Russian Housewife (1845) contains the following justified statement: “Without putting down German or French cuisine, I think that, for us, in all respects, there is nothing healthier or better than our own native Russian food, to which we are used and accustomed, derived from the experience of the centuries, handed down from fathers to children and justified by our geographical location, climate and lifestyle.”
The tradition of serving starters or hors d’oeuvres is said to have arisen in Russia. Life itself dictated the order of Russian meals. The harsh climate taught people to keep all possible stores of food at home as a guarantee of survival. This explains why fish, meat, poultry and game were salted, pickled and kept in abundance. The traditional Russian starters are caviar, cured and smoked fish and meat dishes. The main courses are heated — rich and nourishing cabbage and fish soups — supplemented by various forms of pasties. Meat, fish and vegetable pasties are the first refreshments and traditional starters in Russian houses, both on everyday and special occasions.
One of the staple Russian fares has always been kasha or porridge, which also has a ritual significance. It was eaten to celebrate the birth of a new baby or to remember the dead. The bride and groom cooked porridge at their wedding, leading to the popular expression “you won’t cook porridge with him or her.”
Bread and grain are the two main foodstuffs in Russia, reflected in such national adages as “buckwheat porridge is our mother and rye bread is our father” and “borsch without kasha is a widower and kasha without borsch is a widow.”
After cabbage soup and porridge, the third most popular food in Russia is probably pelmeni (dumplings). The staple food of the inhabitants of the Urals and Siberia, they are filled with meat, fish, mushrooms or potatoes.
[ Last edited by andrewyan at 2006-11-26 03:41 PM ]