Chai Po-Russki (Tea, Russian-Style)


  • 1 teaspoon loose black tea per person, plus 1 teaspoon "for the pot"
  • 1 cup water per person
  • 1 whole cardamom pod or ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • Cream


  1. Measure tea into a saucepan. Add water and cardamom and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 2 minutes. Pour tea through a strainer into cups.
  3. Add slices of lemon or cream to taste. (Do not use lemon and cream together, as the lemon will curdle the cream.)
A meal might consist of borscht (beet soup) with bread and pickles, or could be more elaborate. The soup must be served very hot. All dishes are served at the table from large serving dishes. It is proper for the hostess to encourage her guests to eat more than they really want to eat.
Lining many city streets are vending machines selling gazirovannaya voda (sparkling water), not in cans or bottles, but dispensed into a glass. The machine includes a scrubbing brush with cold water for the customer to use to clean the glass before using it. Also readily available are sunflower seeds sold by vendors at open stalls from large burlap sacks. Many Russians snack on sunflower seeds daily.

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