December 01, 1995

Mushroom Soup

“Forest meat” is not a bad name for mushrooms, in fact it's very common in Russia. Judge for yourself ‐ mushrooms contain twice as much protein per pound as meat, and three times as much as fish. You can dry them, salt them. pickle them, fry them, and of course, boil them.

In Russia, mushrooms have always been revered. Along with furs and red caviar, they have made up a substantial share of national exports since the fifteenth century.

And what would peasants do without them? Russia’s nutritional system was created under the powerful influence of religion. About 200 days a year were fast days, when people were not allowed to not eat certain foods, including meat. And though the rich could afford to vary their meals and buy fish and imported fruit, peasants would go to the forest to pick mushrooms and berries.

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