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Origin and meaning of this tea and preserve ceremony #latvia #lithuania #russia


robgoudey@...
 

Hello all.

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”.

Thank you,
Rob.Goudey
 


Deanna Levinsky
 

On Tue, Sep 15, 2020 at 08:47 AM, <robgoudey@...> wrote:
Hello all.

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”.

Thank you,
Rob.Goudey
 
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


Bob Silverstein
 

My father did the same thing.  Sometimes, he would take a sugar between his teeth instead.  His family was from Krynki near Bialystok and Logishin near Pinsk.


Henry Carrey Boston,MA . Carey/Kirzhner/Berestyaner , Belous , Isenberg - Lutsk ; Postolov/Herman/Kolovsky-Zhitomir
 

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.
My bobe Frahdl used to make a compote of stewed peaches and whatever was available in the stores in Boston in the summer . When she added blueberries , she would call it "bluzberry compote" and would refrigerate it with the peach etc. pits intact. I always loved eating it in the summer.

I wonder if anyone has come across this behavior : my grandmother would re-use old teabags and she laughed at me when I made tea at her home and used one used teabag per person . Also , when I had tea with a famous Yiddish actress in New York , she made tea for four of us by dipping one teabag into four cups of hot water until the water was pale yellow . My Soviet emigre cousins always served very strong tea . So , was this weak tea just a case of two individuals being thrifty or have others ever heard of this behavior ?? 
 
--
Henry H. Carrey


Jenny Schwartzberg
 

Dear JGenners,

 

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.

 

Yours,

Jenny Schwartzberg

Chicago, IL

 

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
To: main@...
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.
My bobe Frahdl used to make a compote of stewed peaches and whatever was available in the stores in Boston in the summer . When she added blueberries , she would call it "bluzberry compote" and would refrigerate it with the peach etc. pits intact. I always loved eating it in the summer.

I wonder if anyone has come across this behavior : my grandmother would re-use old teabags and she laughed at me when I made tea at her home and used one used teabag per person . Also , when I had tea with a famous Yiddish actress in New York , she made tea for four of us by dipping one teabag into four cups of hot water until the water was pale yellow . My Soviet emigre cousins always served very strong tea . So , was this weak tea just a case of two individuals being thrifty or have others ever heard of this behavior ?? 
 
--
Henry H. Carrey


robgoudey@...
 

Hello all,

 

I found a link to this very helpful article written by Ann Rabinowitz back in 2008:

https://www.litvaksig.org/information-and-tools/online-journal/jewish-household-heirlooms

 

She called it "glassele te", in which a dollop of jam is added to black tea. The practice appears to have originated in Russia. I think Prof Miller’s mother was meeting with the other woman for some reason not disclosed, and she prepared the special tea possibly as a show of respect or care.

 

Thank you kindly for all of the responses.

 

Rob Goudey.