Wednesday, December 13

Borscht for Beginners

Today for lunch, I visited an establishment in downtown Great Falls that shall remain nameless. This establishment prepares a different soup of the day, each day.

I was delighted to see "Borscht" on the menu. For the benefit of those of you whose ancestors were not living in fear of the Tzar 110 years ago (Fiddler on the Roof most resembles a family history to the Weissmans), Borscht (or "soup" in Russian) is what I call Jewish soul food. Absolute heaven. Such a meal!

I, of course, inquired about the Borscht. I was informed that it was a vegetarian beet soup, served hot. The horror! Quite frankly, I had never heard anything so goyish since I first saw a blueberry bagel.

So, a lesson is in order. During the summer, borscht is a COLD vegetarian beet soup, best served with a cold slice of baked potato and sour cream. Summer borscht is simply not served in the Winter, and December in Montana qualifies as Winter.

December in Montana, however, is a perfect time for Winter Borscht. Winter Borscht is a hot cabbage and beef stew. No beets. Beets belong in Summer Borscht. I can't imagine anything worse than hot beet soup.

I will dig out a recipe in the next few days.


Anonymous said...

PLEASE give me a hint to the location of the restaurant in the downtown district that serves borscht. And while on the topic of Traditional Soups, have you sampled the uptown soups at 4117 2nd Ave. N. yet?

david said...

Borscht - YUCK! The only thing in the world that is WORSE than gefilte fish!

Treasure State Jew said...


If they heat the summer borscht, it isn't borscht anymore. Daisy's Deli (which is otherwise wonderful) on 1st Ave. N. I will try out the soups at the uptown; thanks for the tip.

And David, yuck? There is nothing better than a cold bowl of beet borscht on a hot day; especially with a slice of cold baked potato, a dollop of sour cream; gives me warm fuzzies just thinking about it. And, I happen to like gefilte fish, too (as long as it is homemade).

Anonymous said...

How do you spell "spaceeba" (Russian for "thank you")?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Treasure State Jew:

We heat our beet based borscht in the winter, as one is supposed to. Our exchange student from Khabarovsk (far eastern Russian), a Jew of Ukranian makes an interesting variation of a beet/beef borscht with many many vegetable additions (one various includes peas, corn, tomatos). When he is at home, he lives on the stuff (breakfast, lunch, after-school snack).

I think the cabbage/beef version is more of a Polish iteration, (one of my grandmothers is from outside Warsaw, is not Jewish, and makes a cabbage beef soup in the winter that is filling, yet nothing like the delicious HOT beet based borscht we serve down here in Helena).

Thank you.