Thursday, July 22, 2010

From Russia with Toast: A Salute to Comrade Khlebchik

Location: Apartment on Vasilievsky Island, St. Petersburg
Type of Bread: Russian Black Bread

Anya and I brought Хлебчик Тостервич (Khlebchik Tostervich) home on July 2nd. We knew the moment we saw him—with his compact size and sunny yellow hue—that he was a toaster up for adventure.

Хлебчик et. al.

We carried him lovingly to my host mother, Tatiana’s, Soviet era apartment on the Gulf of Finland, and we gave him our warmest Russian welcome. The night was completed by a lucky find at the local ultra-capitalist mega-store only slightly less precious than Khlebchik: “Seryozni Chelovek” by “Bratyov Koenov,” or “A Serious Man” …po-ruskii! On a shelf in a grocery store in an anti-Semitic country with almost no remaining Jews, in a place about as different from Minneapolis as anything I can imagine, sat this movie about neurotic Jews in Minneapolis. Only the magic of toast could have led Anya and me first to Khlebchik and then to Seryozni Chelovek.
We ate our toasted Russian black bread with Tatiana’s homemade berry preserve.

We toast to toast

Then we snuggled up with Khlebchik on my bed and the three of us watched A Serious Man before drifting off to sleep. He needed his rest…he had a big day ahead of him.

Toast is serious business

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