Borscht

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A bowl of borscht garnished with dill and a dollop of sour cream

Borscht (also spelled borsch, borshch, etc.) is a tart soup of Ukrainian origin. It is usually made from beetroots and may be served hot or cold.

Proverbs[edit]

  • Borscht without porridge is a widower; porridge without borscht is a widow.
    • Ukrainian: Борщ без каші – удівець; каша без борщу – вдова (Borshch bez kashi – udivets; kasha bez borshchu – vdova).
    • Ukrainian proverb
    • Source: Прислів’я і приказки про їжу та хліб (in Ukrainian). Українські прислів’я і приказки. Retrieved on 2016-01-08.
  • Cheap like borscht.
    • Polish: Tanio jak barszcz. Yiddish: Bilik vi borsht.
    • Polish, Jewish and Canadian saying
    • Sources:
      • Barber, Katherine, ed (2004). The Canadian Oxford Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. 
      • Rothstein, Halina; Rothstein, Robert A. (1998). "Food in Yiddish and Slavic Folk Culture: A Comparative/Contrastive View". in Greenspoon, Leonard Jay (pdf). Yiddish Language & Culture: Then & Now. Studies in Jewish Civilization. 9. Omaha: Creighton University Press. pp. 305–328. 
  • One doesn't eat borscht with an awl.
    • Polish: Szydłem barszczu nie jedzą.
    • Polish proverb
    • Source: Gloger, Zygmunt (1900) (in Polish). Encyklopedja Staropolska. Warszawa: P. Laskauer i W. Babicki. 
  • Tart borscht and holy earth each support a man.
    • Polish: Kwaśny barszcz i święta ziemia człowieka utrzyma.
    • Polish proverb
    • Source: Rothstein, Halina; Rothstein, Robert A. (1998). "Food in Yiddish and Slavic Folk Culture: A Comparative/Contrastive View". in Greenspoon, Leonard Jay (pdf). Yiddish Language & Culture: Then & Now. Studies in Jewish Civilization. 9. Omaha: Creighton University Press. pp. 305–328. 
  • Thick borscht, frequent guests and coarse salt are a farmer's ruin.
    • Polish: Barszcz gęsty, gość częsty, sól gruba – gospodarza zguba.
    • Polish proverb
    • Source: Gloger, Zygmunt (1900) (in Polish). Encyklopedja Staropolska. Warszawa: P. Laskauer i W. Babicki. 
  • Where there are borscht and cabbage, the cottage is never deserted.
    • Polish: Gdzie jest barszcz, kapusta, tam chata niepusta.
    • Polish proverb
    • Source: Gloger, Zygmunt (1900) (in Polish). Encyklopedja Staropolska. Warszawa: P. Laskauer i W. Babicki. 
  • Without bread, it's no lunch; without cabbage, it's no borscht.
    • Ukrainian: Без хліба – не обід; без капусти – не борщ (Bez khliba – ne obid; bez kapusty – ne borshch).
    • Ukrainian proverb
    • Source: Прислів’я і приказки про їжу та хліб (in Ukrainian). Українські прислів’я і приказки. Retrieved on 2016-01-08.

Quotes[edit]

  • The inhabitants [of Krementschuk] live almost entirely on flesh; it rarely happens that they have fish or vegetables to be served on their tables. They have a kind of soup, however, which is made of groats and vegetables, of which they are very fond: this soup is rather sour, and is called borsch, from the name of the carrot which is boiled in it.
  • The men were given vodka; and all took their seat,
And Lithuanian cold barszcz all proceeded to eat.
  • Polish:
    Mężczyznom dano wódkę; wtenczas wszyscy siedli
    I chołodziec litewski milcząc żwawo jedli.
  • Pan Tadeusz (1834), epic poem by Adam Mickiewicz
  • Source: Book One: The Estate. Adam Mickiewicz, Pan Tadeusz, translated by Marcel Wayland. Retrieved on 2016-01-08.
  • After a few hours travelling from the mountains down towards Poland, I finally reached a Polish border checkpoint and, kissing the ground of my native land, I shed sweet tears of joy. There, a Polish guard (...) treated me to a Polish dinner where I gladly welcomed the coveted national borscht (...)
    • Polish: Po kilku godzinach jazdy z gór, ku Polsce spuszczając się, przybyłem nakoniec do komory granicznej polskiej, i całując ziemię, na której się urodziłem, słodkie łzy radości wylewałem. Tam strażnik polski (...) dał mi wieczerzę polską, gdzie żądany barszcz narodowy mile witałem (...)
    • Franciszek Karpiński's diary
    • Source: Karpiński, Franciszek (1898) (in Polish). Pamiętniki. Warszawa: Granowski i Sikorski. p. 58. Retrieved on 2016-01-23. 
  • And she wouldn't even frown when she invited them both for a borscht; in this borscht there were two poisonous mushrooms and she poisoned them, seemingly by accident.
    • Polish:
    I na twarzy się nawet nie zmarszczy,
    Gdy zaprosi oboje na barszczyk;
    W barszczu będą trujące dwa grzyby
    I otruje niechcący ich niby.
  • Nikanor Ivanovich poured himself a glass of vodka, drank it down, poured another, drank that down, picked up three pieces of herring with his fork... And at that moment the doorbell rang and Pelageya Antonovna brought in a steaming pot, one glance at which was enough to guess that the pot contained, in the very thick of the piping hot borscht, the most delicious thing in the world – a marrow bone.
    • Russian: Никанор Иванович налил лафитничек, выпил, налил второй, выпил, подхватил на вилку три куска селедки… и в это время позвонили, а Пелагея Антоновна внесла дымящуюся кастрюлю, при одном взгляде на которую сразу можно было догадаться, что в ней, в гуще огненного борща, находится то, чего вкуснее нет в мире, – мозговая кость.
    • Master and Margarita, novel by Mikhail Bulgakov
    • Source: Bulgakov, Mikhail (2006) [1967] (in Russian). Мастер и Маргарита. OLMA Media Grupp. 
  • Winchell: I can only assume that you think this is blood, Al. And if I had an IQ below 24, I suppose I might think the same. But the stain in this cap comes from borscht.
Al: Borscht?
Winchell: Yes, borscht. A beet-based soup, Russian in origin, most frequently served chilled with a dollop of sour cream.
Arthur Belt: I make a good borscht!
Winchell: And I'd love to sample it someday. But the point I'm making here, Al, is that unless North's head was filled with this traditional Slavic delicacy, he's not dead, you idiot!
  • North (1994), film directed by Rob Reiner
  • Source: North (1994) Movie Script. Springfield! Springfield!. Retrieved on 2016-01-08.
  • One could understand and forgive foreigners for calling borscht or varenyky Russian national dishes, but when it turns out that they gleaned this information from Soviet cookbooks or from restaurant menus, one is embarrassed for our authors and chefs, who popularize the national cuisines of our peoples [i.e., the various ethnic groups of the Soviet Union] with such ignorance.
    • Russian: То, что иностранцы называют борщ или вареники русскими национальными блюдами, еще можно понять и извинить, но когда выясняется, что эти сведения они почерпнули из советских кулинарных книг или из меню ресторанов, становится стыдно за наших авторов и мастеров общепита, так безграмотно пропагандирующих национальную кухню наших народов.
    • Vilyam Pokhlyobkin
    • Pokhlyobkin, Vilyam (2004) [1978] (in Russian). Национальные кухни наших народов. Moskva: Tsentrpoligraf. 
  • Recipes, like birds, ignore political boundaries. Just as the British empire still has a culinary pulse, beating in a curry in Scotland or in the mug of builder's tea with sugar and milk you are handed in some roadhouse on the Karakorum Highway; just as the Ottoman empire breathes phantom breaths in little cups of muddy coffee from Thessaloniki to Basra; so the faint outline of the Tsarist-Soviet imperium still glimmers in the collective steam off bowls of beetroot and cabbage in meat stock, and the soft sound of dollops of sour cream slipping into soup, from the Black Sea to the Sea of Japan and, in emigration, from Brooklyn to Berlin.
  • Take Galina Onischenko's version of the eastern European staple. "This is Russian borscht," she said, setting down a porcelain bowl of "green" or summer borscht with its dill-flecked mosaic of beets, carrots, and potatoes. "No lard with garlic like they put in Ukrainian borscht."
  • The causes for the continual difference in taste of the dish are unclear. They have not been determined to this day, in part because the investigators usually lean back sluggishly, burp quietly, think a bit, and silently reach out with their soup dish for seconds. After that, there is sex and sleep. Sex after a couple of bowls of borsch is particularly good. Sleep with a borsch aftertaste in the mouth is also sweet. It is because of this that investigators cannot finish researching the delights of the flavor varieties of borsch – the flavors are infinite. In the course of my life I have cooked borsch more than one thousand times, each one tasting different.
    • The High Poetry of Borsch (2013), blog post by Diana Makarova (diana_ledi), translated from Russian by Nikolai Burlakoff
    • Source: Burlakoff, Nikolai (2013). The World of Russian Borsch: Explorations of Memory, People, History, Cookbooks & Recipes. North Charleston, SC: Createspace Independent Pub. 
    • Original: Makarova, Diana. Высокая поэзия борща (in Russian). Самый сок!. Retrieved on 2016-01-20.
  • Borsch, like Buddhism, is perfectly suited to a global culture. In each, within a global phenomenon local variants are so numerous and diverse that it is hard sometimes for a non-specialist to grasp that any single example of it is something that is part of a unified tradition. Borsch is an almost perfect example of the recently coined term "glocalization" – a phenomenon that is global in distribution but reflective of local needs and ways in its variants and adaptation. One way that borsch differs from the standard conept of "glocalization" is that, unlike modern counterparts that begin as global initiatives and then are adapted to local conditions, borsch was a highly localized product that became globalized, and in the process adapted to conditions other than the original ones.
    • Nikolai Burlakoff
    • Source: Burlakoff, Nikolai (2013). The World of Russian Borsch: Explorations of Memory, People, History, Cookbooks & Recipes. North Charleston, SC: Createspace Independent Pub. 

External links[edit]

Encyclopedic article on Borscht at Wikipedia