The first time I saw borscht was an Easter Sunday with my father’s family; he and his seven brothers and sisters are first-generation Americans, my paternal grandparents immigrants from Poland. I remember peering in a soup tureen on the counter and thinking, “Whoa, I’ve never seen a pink soup before!” and asking around, “What is that?” My reaction then, finding out it was essentially beet soup, was a resounding, “Yuck!”
Borscht, common throughout Eastern Europe with its origins in Ukraine, is one of Russia’s iconic dishes, commonly served across all classes and economic levels in the country. The name derives from the Slavic borschevik, for the plant hogweed. The Russian word borshch refers to cow parsnip, which was the original base of the soup.
Beetroot replaced cow parsnip as the basis of the dish, imparting to the soup its vibrant reddish color. At its heart, borscht is always beet-based, but many different methods of preparation exist. In Russia, beets, meats, cabbage and potatoes typically comprise the dish. Cookbook author Lynn Visson includes 12 different variations in The Russian Heritage Cookbook. Vinegar, also an essential ingredient, provides a tart flavor which balances the beets, stabilizes the pigment and helps to maintain borscht’s bright hue. An orange borscht is made from tomatoes, and green borscht has a sorrel base.
Beets are a good source of iron, magnesium, minerals and vitamins. Overall, borscht requires a minimal cook time. If one grates the beets first, the soup can cook in a matter of 20–25 minutes total — a meal or supper accompaniment on the table quickly.
Hot or cold? Hot borscht is the most popular — and more hearty — variety. Simmered in a beef or pork broth, it’s usually full of starchy vegetables, potatoes and chunks of meat and may also incorporate carrots or peppers. This version is usually served as an appetizer with dark rye or pumpernickel bread and sour cream on the side. Both are as essential to borscht as the beets and the vinegar.
The type I found myself in awe of that Easter Sunday morning was cold borscht. To prepare, chop and boil young beets. Once cooled, combine them with sour cream, soured milk, kefir or yogurt. Add chopped, raw vegetables like radishes or cucumbers and serve with sour cream and chopped hard-boiled eggs. Garnish with dill or parsley.
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The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
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THERE’S NO DOUBT 2020 HAS BEEN AN UNPRECEDENTED year for the travel industry. As borders begin to reopen and destinations, hotels and airlines around the world prepare to welcome travelers once again, we’re celebrating travel and looking to the future as we congratulate the winners of our eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards. This annual survey honors the best in the world of leisure and lifestyle travel, awarding goods, services, destinations, hotels, airlines and cruises.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
Best Western Hotels & Resorts opened its third Aiden by Best Western. The Aiden brand is designed to give travelers boutique, modern, stylish and locally inspired stay experiences. The new property is situated in Warm Springs, Georgia, adjacent to the Warm Springs Hotel and Event Center.
Paul Gauguin Cruises offers savings up to $3,050 per person on select voyages when booked by July 8. Round-trip airfare between Los Angeles (LAX) and Papeete (PPT), Tahiti, is included. Deposits for the select sailings have been reduced to $250 per person.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for nearly 48 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. And small- and medium-sized businesses outpace all other sectors as one of the fastest-growing in the United States. InterContinental® Hotels Group (IHG) goes above and beyond to create opportunities for this segment with its IHG® Business Edge program, voted Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program in Global Traveler’s 2019 GT Tested Reader Survey awards.
Through Sept. 7, guests at M Resort Spa Casino in Las Vegas can enjoy the No Resort Fee Summer promotion. The resort will waive daily resort fees on all reservations, and guests can also take advantage of summer rates beginning as low as $75 per night. Book online or by calling 877 673 7678.