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My grandpa Richard V. Gilbert born in 1902 who lived in Philadelphia remembered his uncles and other relatives sitting around the kitchen table drinking tea from samovars and arguing radical politics. They had glass cups in metal handled holders as you may find in Turkish restaurants today. Sugar was sold in large loaves and small pieces were broken off. People held the pieces between their teeth/lips and drank the tea through them. This was during the 1910s into 1920s.
From: main@... <main@...> On Behalf Of Henry Carrey Boston,MA . Carey/Kirzhner/Berestyaner , Belous , Isenberg - Lutsk ; Postolov/Herman/Kolovsky-Zhitomir
Sent: Wednesday, September 16, 2020 11:14 AM
Subject: Re: [JewishGen.org] Origin and meaning of this tea and preserve ceremony #latvia #lithuania #russia
I have never heard of this a special ceremony , but maybe it was a special ceremony only in Julius's family . It might have been special because making these jams was labor intensive and seasonal . As someone below has said Russians often take preserves in their tea . Another respondent referred to the custom of putting a sugar cube between the teeth and drinking the tea through the sugar cube. When I asked my Russian relatives who emigrated from the USSR in 1992 about this custom , they said they had never heard of it.