I found the following reference in Julius Sumner Miller’s autobiography to a ceremony his mother Sarah engaged in.
Does anybody recognize this? If so, are you able to tell me anything about its likely origin and significance?
“With all the canning Mama did on a large scale, she took time to make something very special. And with it went a
very special ceremony. It was made with raspberries, both red and black. Mama stewed these with more than ordinary
care and canned them in jars well marked. They had a special place on the shelves. We dare not touch these for an
ordinary meal, never. Now a visitor comes – someone from the old country – I can see her at the table with Mama,
she has a shawl over her head. Mama serves tea in glasses. And I am sent on an errand: get a jar of the special
preserve. The lady puts a spoonful in her glass of tea. There is no sugar on the table. This is special. When they
are diverted to something, in another room say, I steal a spoonful of this delectation. Should Mama know this I’m
a sorry boy”.
It’s a very Russian thing to do but as far as I know not a ceremony. Those berries were hard to come by and labor intensive. It showed love and respect to serve the berries
Deanna M. Levinsky, Long Island, NY