Victims of the Tsar's Table ": what Russian dishes frightened foreigners

Foreign ambassadors invited to the Russian feast found themselves in a rather exotic setting. Surprised by the variety and variety of outlandish dishes, due to their different taste preferences, they could not always appreciate the charm of Russian cuisine. In addition, scrupulous Europeans often refused treats because of the unusual serving, in which two or three people sitting next to them ate with their hands from one plate. Nor did the customs prevailing at the table evoke appetite among foreign guests: Austrian diplomat Augustin Meyerberg noted that the Russians "rather devour than eat."

From the king's table

The Danish ambassador Jacob Ulfeldt in his memoirs mentioned that in Russia there was a custom when the sovereign, as a sign of special respect and mercy, sent the remnants of his dishes to the guest, which he had the pleasure of touching. Such a gift was considered a blessing, and every boyar or clergyman who attended the feast wanted to be among the chosen ones. But the foreign envoys did not like this tradition at all, and were happy when, finally, this rite began to bear a symbolic character and as an offering, not leftovers from the royal plate were used, but the food lying on his table.

A similar ceremony was held with drinks: Ivan the Terrible, having sipped wine from a goblet, handed it over to the Danish ambassador, who, having sipped, sent the container to the next representative of the embassy.


In addition to food at Russian feasts, drinking was also abundant. Kvass, honey, beer, vodka flowed like a river, washing the intoxicated guests under the table. Alcohol infused with herbs to whet the appetite often preceded a feast, which was considered good if the invitees were overeating and getting drunk.

In this respect, the worst was for foreigners who did not have the proper "training" in the use of generous doses of drinking. So in 1503, a curious incident happened with the Czech ambassador, who, having gone through with libations, fainted, and so fell down that he lay in bed for several days, coming to his senses and healing bruises.

And in 1656, representatives of the ambassadorial delegation of the Roman emperor became victims of alcohol, who, having got drunk, fell into oblivion and did not have time to hand over their credentials and presents to the Russian sovereign in time.


The foreign ambassadors had a particular dislike for garlic, which was used to season almost all dishes of Russian cuisine. Introduced to Russia in the 9th century from Byzantium, "combed onions" quickly gained popularity in the culinary environment and became the hallmark of the medieval Slavic feast.

Pavel and Olga Syutkin in their work "The Invented History of Russian Cuisine" stated that the use of garlic was so abundant and widespread that, according to foreigners, all houses in the country and even the royal chambers were saturated with its "disgusting for Germans "smell.

Welcome to my cookbook! Getting ready for Easter, stocking up on options for simple and delicious recipes for the festive table. Everyone composes the Easter menu according to their tastes and preferences. As an option, I would like to suggest that you cook a champignon appetizer, meat fingers with mushrooms, salads with red fish and tongue, as well as fish fillets baked in sour cream sauce with tomatoes and cheese. Everything is very simple and tasty, and it looks beautiful and appetizing on the festive table - your guests will definitely not go home hungry.

Recipe - fish in sour-mustard sauce with tomatoes and cheese

Thanks to juicy, tender and lean meat, high in protein, tilapia (which we will use for baking in a sauce) is called "river chicken". Fish fillet is practically boneless, so it is convenient to make rolls, meatballs, cutlets from it, bake with vegetables.

However, many people do not risk using tilapia because of the substances found in it by scientists. Farmed fish are considered especially dangerous. Therefore, if you do not want to risk your health, replace the tilapia fillets in the recipe for hake or pollock.

You will need:

  • Tilapia fillets - 4 pcs. (400 - 500 g)
  • Tomatoes - 3 pcs.
  • Hard cheese - 80 g
  • Sour cream - 4 tbsp. spoons
  • Dried thyme - 0.5 teaspoons
  • Granular mustard - 2 teaspoons
  • Flour for rolling fish

Easter menu We bake fish, tomatoes and cheese in the oven:

Cut the fish into pieces about 4 - 5 centimeters thick. Dip in flour and fry over medium heat on both sides until golden brown.

If the fish is not fried beforehand, then during baking it will release a lot of juice, and the casserole will turn out to be too liquid in consistency.

Put the fried fish in a baking dish, lightly oiled. Top - tomatoes, cut into slices.

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