Smetana and Greek Yogurt

March 20th, 2011 § 0 comments

HG is a devoted fan of that wonderful writer, Ian Frazier. HG is currently engrossed in Frazier’s “Travels in Siberia.” There is a direct link between Frazier’s diet on his Siberian voyage and HG’s diet as a youngster in The Bronx. The staple Siberian food is cottage cheese and smetana (sour cream) which Frasier ate at least twice a day during his rugged travels. Little HG also had a robust ration of smetana daily. Sour cream was always called “smetana” in the HG household, a reminder of HG’s Russian ancestry. HG had smetana with boiled potatoes. Smetana with borscht. Smetana with schav (cold sorrel soup, a summer treat). Smetana with cottage cheese, pot cheese, farmer cheese. Smetana with herring. Smetana with kasha. Smetana with chopped scallions and radishes. Smetana with every variety of fruit. The little guy ingested an awful lot of smetana.

This sour cream wasn’t the pallid stuff you find in supermarket containers these days. Bronx smetana was a local product, bought at local stores where butter didn’t come in packages but was cut from a giant tub. The closest you can get to Bronx smetana is Greek yogurt. Happily, it’s easily available. Followers of HG may note that HG adds Greek yogurt to many dishes. Childhood food comforts live forever.

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