Tuesday, 16 August 2011 | 7 comments

Of crabs & corn-on-the-cob

We snuck away to a cabin in West Virginia last weekend for what seemed like the first really summery getaway I’ve had this year. Our hosts were old friends of Ben’s family, who are some of the most gracious folks you can imagine. They’re the type of people who love traditions, both new and old. Generally, those traditions involve a lot of food shared around a table on their big front porch, overlooking the mountains and the south branch of the Potomac river. The crab feast of last weekend is one of the newer traditions; but their celebration of “Russian Easter”, which takes place in the spring, is an event that dates back to the childhood of our hostess’s late mother. They have an astonishingly detailed documentation of these yearly celebrations in album form, complete not just with photos, but with the menu and guest list from each year, as well as a beautifully written introduction that explains the roots of the celebration. I spent hours poring over 60s- and 70s-era photos and painstakingly typewritten descriptions of “Poor Man’s Caviar”, exquisitely distilled vodka, and “the abundance of their table.” They’ve also compiled a Russian Easter cookbook, complete with all the wonderful cheese-, cream-, and dill-laden dishes you’d expect from a Russian recipe—but I’m saving those for some more appropriately colder months.

§ 7 responses to Of crabs & corn-on-the-cob

  • Such lovely photos! I’m especially a fan of the one with the crabs and wine glass. I can’t think about winter just yet, though. I’ve barely tasted summer this year, it seems, what with being away and all (and still one more trip to come). I’m glad that you’ve had your getaway, though. Traditions around the table are a great thing to have. I don’t feel as though I’ve been settled down long enough (or will be) to start any real traditions, but you’ve got this yellow house of yours…
    p.s. I will post pictures of the finished tub soon. For a while, it was a storage space for the various tradesmen who needed other parts of the apartment clear. I hope by next Tuesday that the bathroom will be in order! :)

    • Thanks, Katie. You don’t have to be ‘settled down’ to have traditions around the table, though! That’s the whole point of the yellow house :) It’s rented, by the way. None of us are close to settled down! Here’s a ‘new tradition’ that inspired me recently: http://www.kinfolkmag.com/2011/08/03/music-night/

      • That’s funny, actually. Shortly after I moved to Chicago, one of the other students in my class suggested that we do a Music Night on a weekly basis at someone’s house. So, my boyfriend and I (he’s a bit of an audiophile–he re-wired both our turn table and amplifier, both of maybe a late 1950s vintage, all in pursuit of better sound) had people over on Saturdays for probably a good 10 or 12 times. Each week, someone was in charge of picking the music, and we’d squeeze into the living room and just listen. It sort of died in the middle of the winter, though. People had work to catch up on, people’s personal lives got crazy, etc. I’d like to revive it once everyone is back in Chicago for the start of school, but I guess we’ll see how things go. New traditions are sometimes hard to keep going.

  • i just found you from the tend blog. your site and pictures are beautiful – this feast looks so good! i used to work in eastern and southern africa too – would love to see some recent pictures of those places.

    • Hi Jenna–thanks for stopping by, and thanks for your comments over at tend, too—so heartfelt, I really appreciate it. I’ve been trying to piece together how I’ll write about Africa in the context of this space. But you mentioning it gives me some needed push…we’ll see what happens! :)

  • Thanks the tomato idea on the KF blog, and your site is amazing! The photography is really top notch – very impressed

    /nathan

    • You’re welcome, Nathan—it’s my pleasure, really, because I’ve been enjoying the mag (and the blog) so much. And I’m so flattered that you enjoy my little space here.

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