Sunday, October 16, 2011

Grandmother's Summer

"She just don't got the time that she used to." -Justin Townes Earle

A woman I work with told me that in the Ukraine where she is from early fall -about September 20th to mid-November- is called Grandmother's Summer because it is so lovely and warm, the spiders go from place to place (like a grandmother visiting), and the bounty of mushrooms and fall produce is available then (as generous as a grandmother). Yes, I pretty much melted at this poetic description. This Sunday in celebration and anticipation of the Grandmother's Summer weather predicted for this week, I made a pot of Borscht -lamb and beet soup- to have for dinner tomorrow night. Beets from our garden and lamb stew meat reserved from the two lambs I spent the weekend packaging and putting into the freezer. There was an article in the paper today (click here) that reminded me of the long term value of my job -and the peril of programs like the one I work for being closed due to budget shortages. I'll hope for the best and plan for the worst -and make soup.

Russian Borscht
Adapted from Jeff Smith's On Our Immigrant Ancestors
2 T. olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. lamb stew meat
1/2 onion, chopped
1-2 c. chopped cabbage
1/2-1 c. mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1/2 c. carrots, diced (optional)
1/2 c. diced canned tomatoes
3 large beets, peeled and diced WITH greens and stems added if possible
2 qts. stock
2-3 T. red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
2 t. lemon juice
1/2 - 3/4 t. salt
1/4-1/2 t. black pepper
Brown meat in oil. Add garlic and onion and saute until translucent. Add remaining ingredients and cook 2 hours. Can refrigerate and reheat the next day. Serve with sour cream and snipped fresh dill weed (if available).


  1. I love this post, I was only thinking about you today! It is strange how I can relate to this so much from across the pond. I too am waiting for the axe to fall on my job, due to government cuts which we are already feeling painfully. I work in primary education for children with emotional and behavioural 'disorders'. I have done for twelve years, I see the value in building quality experience at this age...there is an old saying 'save hapenny today, spend sixpence tomorrow'. Not only am I concerned for my immediate future, I am concerned what the long term social effects are....It pays to be self reliant and frugal...I like your style :)

  2. How beautiful! Although I like Russian Borscht, we can not find beets in almost supermarket around here...