It’s Not Rocket Science, It’s Nuclear Physics


Above photo acorus calamus aka rat root, calamus root, sweet flag, and in Russia historically sometimes called Mongol Poison, now air swamp Аир Болотный. In many traditions around the world rat root is called for in respiratory, pulmonary and digestive illness of all kinds and as a kind of catalyst for other herbs…

Says he’s got a bad cough
Wants to get it paid off
Look out kid
It’s somethin’ you did
God knows when
But you’re doing it again

You don’t need a weather man
To know which way the wind blows

Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, Bob Dylan gospel. Elementary observation and deduction skills have been around for thousands of years, before modern chemistry and nutrition created an often obscure, obstructive or counterproductive layer of trying to understand causes, mechanisms and constituents on the molecular level, instead of the traditional treatment of symptoms with time-tested “methods and substances” (so the language of the World Anti-Doping Agency would characterize it.)

“The Russian folk medicine philosophy has always held that the vast majority of people died by suicide—by food. The fact that this suicide was unintentional and caused by ignorance does not change the basic premise: barbaric nutrition kills people as surely as any slow-acting lethal poison.” (Kourennoff, in Russian Folk Medicine, 1970) Sounds like an accurate indictment of modern Western nutrition and medicine to me!

Translation of a classic Russian cookbook by Elena Molokhovets/Molochovec (“Romanization” of Cyrillic words is  highly variable) from the mid to late 1800s when processed food was the result of using basic materials and foods, and hours of preparation in the kitchen, and prior to that in the field and ice house and garden and root cellar… fascinating details for using hay and straw to prepare and flavor foods, a piece of oak bark as spice, a silver spoon or 20 kopek coin left in the bottle of fresh milk for four days in a warm place to produce a sweeter starter culture for sour cream and yogurt-(better not try this with pasteurized homogenized Frankendairy milk), “rectify” spoiled butter with birch charcoal or washing followed by addition of carrot juice, a few examples.

Since one third of the Orthodox calender are fast days with no meat, dairy or eggs allowed (fish was) the traditional Russian diet is a good resource for vegetarian recipes.

This is the only substantial translation into English, partial at best, a much shorter translation 23 pages was done in Sitka, AK, 1936. I would love to see a copy of that! Better still to be able to read Part III, the third section of the original book but not included in the translation, about agriculture, hygiene, medicine, care and feeding of domestic birds and animals and curing their diseases, 3000 domestic remedies for adult and childhood illnesses.
Hunting for part III but found this online version of I and II below… Apparently the cookbook is not rocket science, it’s nuclear physics! It is not surprising however that Part/Chapter/Volume III was not as popular and apparently not reprinted in the 20th century since that is the time period when in medicine and many other disciplines a general enthusiasm for science, new technology, reductionist and mechanistic approaches and general notions of “progress”  began to displace traditions and empirical or eclectic curricula whereas cooking remained more exclusively the domain of popular tradition and culture.

The parent site is:

Another perspective on traditional Russian diet:    Recently I watched the Norwegian TV series titled in English The Heavy Water War. In opening scenes Werner Heisenberg receives the Nobel Prize and encouragement from Niels Bohr. It comes to mind that a corresponding general paradigm of necessary and sufficient information not as specific as Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle applies to other sciences including nutrition and diet.

Here is a better compilation of Molokhovets book:

Was criticized by the Soviets and to the present day as bourgeois and decadent. While there are recipes involving intricate elaborate preparation of foods, frivolous not doubt to many, the overall achievement starting in all cases from basic fresh produce and materials and methods is inspiring to those who can appreciate this. Illustrating for example the wide range of recipes and methods applied in her works, this section about coffee and similar roast grain drinks, chicory, sunflower seed, rye malt, beetroot (google translation below):

2432 . Coffee.

For a pound of coffee is taken 1 / 4 pound chicory. Coffee roasting is not necessary in a frying pan, and in the closed hearth, constantly shaking it. When he gets a dark chestnut color and is covered with moisture, then it is ready. Beware overcook it. To give the best flavor, you have to roast coffee at 200-250 °, with the addition of a tablespoon of unsalted butter for every pound of coffee. And also, before the end of roasting, sprinkle with finely powdered hot corn sugar, taking it to 1 lot, ie 1 piece for 1 / 2 pounds of coffee. Sugar burns and forms a shell around the seed, it is well protected against the loss of aromatic substances. Best coffee grind as needed, gradually, and immediately before use.

It is better to beat than the grind, the smaller, the better.

Keep in tins or glass jars, hermetically sealed.

Each cup is taken full teaspoon of the mixture of coffee with chicory, pour in the coffee pot, pour a cup of boiling water smerennym, put on a plate; When boiling, put aside, immediately pour a spoonful of cold water when the coffee settles, again put on a plate. When boiling, put aside, pour a spoonful of cold water to a boil again, put aside, to settle and serve.

From 1 pound of coffee and 1 / 4 pound chicory leaves 40 cups of coffee; well put every once in a cafetiere of coffee on a small piece of the figs in the tiles.Feeding coffee, put in a cup on a spoon full of downed cream. Find that if put in the coffee Kroshechka soda (with 1 / 8 spoons), and it is stronger and tastier.

Or cook in clay, Anting on both sides of the coffee pot at the fire in the stove, pouring no water and coffee with water, ie, boiled-grounds of the remaining coffee, putting it in a piece of fish glue. Make coffee, to settle, pour carefully into another pot of coffee, heat and serve. Cream for coffee to brew in small pots with a lid that has a thick foam.

2433 . Coffee with sunflower seeds.

Instead chicory much tastier to put on a pound or half a pound of coffee powder pound of roasted sunflower seeds.

2434 . Rye coffee.

Select a clean large rye, sift it thoroughly, wash, dry, roast in a roasting pan or skillet, coffee, often disturbing, so as not to overheat and do not overcook, then grind and cook as usual coffee, but only to take this powder to a cup of coffee not one, but 2 or 3 teaspoonfuls, pour them in flannel bag, brew with boiling water, boil thoroughly, to settle, to drink it with milk or cream. Rye this also prepared as follows: the selected sifted rye large wet 24 hours in cold water, and then cooked until the burst starts, and then throws it to the screen. When the water flow down, scatter rye on canvas in a warm room or in the summer in the sun to dry out soon, then roast in a roasting pan a little at a time, so as not to overcook, and from the brazier immediately pour into a large bowl, cover with a napkin, etc.

2435 .Kofe from acorns.

Collect quite mature acorns prodlinnovatogo varieties that better round; clean them from the green hull knife, cut in half lengthwise and each half is then divided into two parts. That same evening, pour boiling water over them. The next morning the water drained and dried in the spirit of the lung in a furnace. Keep them in bags, hanging dry, then roast them like coffee that was neither too bright, not too overcooked again. Since acorns are not so soon par fried, so you should try, crush them. Cool, grind and brew like an ordinary coffee.

2436 . Mixed coffee.

Izzharennoy 1 pound and grind rye, 1 pound and grind izzharennoy beet, 1 pound izzharennyh and milled acorns and 5 pounds of ordinary ground coffee.

2437 . Coffee beans from simple.

From simple bean is prepared it is also very healthy and delicious coffee, which helps with water. It is necessary to choose the smallest variety, boil in water for ten minutes, and when the water cools, pour it. Grains again to wash, dry in the oven and then a light roast, coffee. Since they are very strong, then, so as not to spoil Melenki better protoloch them first in a mortar. Cook like an ordinary coffee, which can be added to taste.

2438 . Coffee from beets.

Wash the beets well, clean up the knife again to wash, cut into small quadrangular pieces, dried in the oven. Fry then as chicory, and immediately hot grind;bandaged to keep in the bank than the longer, so it is tastier.

2439 . The coffee is extremely nutritious rye flour.

Take a bottle of fresh of fresh milk, 3 fresh eggs and 3 pounds of rye flour, knead the dough, as the noodles, roll out very thinly, add up to an iron sheet, bake, dry, broken into small pieces, yet dry and brown, but to not burnt, pound and grind in Melenki. At 6 cups of coffee-ground rye Pour 1 cup of pure izzharennogo and ground coffee; brewing coffee, drink instead of tea in the morning, afternoon and evening with milk or cream.

Google translation and the original for a recipe I tried:

1670 . Varenets silver leaven.

For one bottle of milk per drop a silver coin or a teaspoon of silver spoon, put in a warm place for 4 days. Then take the liquid cream and 3 bottles of putting nearly 1 / 2 cup of the leaven of silver. Put the cream in a warm oven and as often as possible in the way. After four hours varenets must be prepared. Put it in another bowl without serum, put on ice. Serve with sugar and pounded finely sifted rye crackers.

Silver leaven can be stored on ice for two weeks.

1670. Варенец с серебряной закваской.

На одну бутылку молока опустить одну серебряную монету или чайную серебряную ложечку, поставить в теплое место на 4 дня. Потом взять жидких сливок и на 3 бутылки их положить почти 1/2 стакана этой серебряной закваски. Поставить сливки в теплую печь и как можно чаще мешать. Через четыре часа варенец должен быть готов. Переложить его в другую посуду без сыворотки, поставить на лед. Подавать с сахаром и мелко истолченными просеянными ржаными сухарями.

Серебряную закваску можно сохранять на льду недели две.




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