The small-bites craze continues, with an article in the Los Angeles Times on zakuski, the Russian version of small snacks good with drinks. Regina Schrambling writes about the booze-food that Tolstoy would have eaten:

Anya von Bremzen, an émigré from Moscow who literally wrote the book on zakuski with her 1990 ‘Please to the Table,’ describes them as ‘another spin on meze, tapas and antipasto’ and says they are comparable to smorgasbord in that ‘for the most part you can make a meal of them.’ But you can’t do that without vodka—at least not in her birthplace, where they drink straight shots.

‘The main reason Russians love zakuski is that they can’t drink vodka without eating,’ Von Bremzen says. ‘It’s always: Toast, bottoms up, then eat zakuski, then have another vodka.’

Not a bad way to go.

Deb Perelman, mistress of Smitten Kitchen, was talking about zakuski more than a year ago, on NPR’s Kitchen Window (marrying a Russian puts you ahead of the curve on such things). Her recipe for Russian black bread has 20 ingredients (including vinegar, chocolate, and shallots) and looks fascinating. I’ll take a slice of that alongside my vodka any day.

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