Unfortunately I cannot add any family story to this recipe as I only learnt how to make barshch as an adult. I only remember eating it once at my friend's house and being very careful not to stain anything purple...
This, in and of itself is a story... it's a story which may stimulate the brain and remind us of our own stories to remember. It certainly did for me...
For me, I too am reminded of being overly cautious of not spilling the soup. I must have been about 9 yrs. old and it just so happens that the bowl of soup was borscht as well. I think I can honestly say that this experience taught me to not slurp my soup and always skim off the bottom of the spoon... so the droplets wouldn't splash back in.
I'm also reminded of a more favorable time. A time when you didn't need to make appointments in order to visit friends or family... Especially around the holidays...you were almost expected and so, you came, you knocked, you were welcomed into the house. You exchanged your pleasantries, and almost immediately the appetizers came out... you had one, maybe two and you somewhat listened to the conversation, however, you purposely listened for other sounds. Thusly, none of the things being said seemed very important. Sitting there, with a pleasurable, almost exciting anticipation, you could hear the rustling in the kitchen... It was not a loud rustling, it was rather an unobtrusive rustling, it was ever so subtle and you knew what it was all about... You knew that soon, MAGIC, was going to happen.
The table was covered with a beautiful ethnic print or hand sewn tablecloth and being set with dishes, knives, spoons, forks, etc. You knew that soon you'd be hearing the clanging of the bowls being filled with this beautiful delicious reddish-purple liquid. Sometimes this wonderful concoction was filled with vegetables and sometimes it was a broth which had several vushka, little ears, (mushroom filled dumplings), which I ate lovingly because anything that represented dumplings of any kind, I ate very lovingly.
Although you wanted to eat seconds and thirds you didn't, why? You ask...there was so much more that was about to come out and you needed the room in your tummy. Soon we were finished and the table was cleared, everyone pitched in to help and it was not to help because we were helpful... it was because we all wanted to get to the next glorious dish!
More anticipation... how incredibly lovely was the next dish which had been wafting from the kitchen with the most delicious aromas. Hear it comes! Oh, yes... exactly what everyone knew... a huge, huge, platter of pierogies/varenyky, smothered with just the right color and doneness of sautéed onions in butter...YUM! Then, in a few minutes, if that was not enough, out came another huge, I mean humongous platter of holubtchi - gulompki, which were also smothered with the onions and butter. This was immediately followed by the most delicious mushroom gravy which even to this day, still makes me lick my lips while remembering the taste. Also present were the usual bowls of sour cream, salads, etc.
Oh, oh, oh how delicious it was...yes, dumplings were and still are my favorite food... Stuffed with potatoe and sautéed onion... potatoe and cheese... just potatoes... sauerkraut... sauerkraut and sautéed onion... sauerkraut and sautéed mushrooms... plums, cherries, which had a wonderfully delicious butter and bread crumb sauce. I could go on, however, I'm sure you've all have had these kind of memories too.
Yes, it was Christmas, my favorite time of year. I didn't get presents, however, what I got was experiences and memories... and what very pleasant, treasured ones they were and remain... still to this day...
This was my original post... Thank you for the response... I hope to see more!