When I was a child, every year two weeks before Christmas a jar with fermented beetroot appeared on a kitchen shelf. Then, on Christmas Eve, the content of the jar was used to prepare heavenly delicious borscht.
I was convinced that my mother executed some complicated procedure both while fermenting beetroot and cooking borscht, so I never dared to ask any questions. I feared I would be given a long description of the process, which would leave me feeling intimidated by my ignorance. I just hoped I would be granted my mother’s borscht every year till I die.
However, I have not been spending any Christmas with my mother for last ten years. OBH*, who is doing all the festive cooking, has been looking at me as I was insane every time I asked for the “proper” borscht. So, I had no choice but to face the challenge myself.
Last summer my friend, Magda, who is not housewifey type at all, said it is very easy and passed me a link to a recipe. I read the recipe and got all sceptical because surely something so simple cannot result in something as delicious as my mother’s borscht. I even consulted my mother by phone and she confirmed: yes, that’s the recipe. No magic tricks, no secret ingredients, no sights of witchcraft.
So, I tried and it worked. Then again, and again. If my luck doesn’t leave me, this year we will finally have proper Christmas Eve.
I cannot imagine I had been depriving myself of one of the most wonderful culinary pleasures for long ten years just because of my lack of self-confidence.
In the next post, I describe how to make it.
*see Glossary of Terms