They Tried to Make Me Eat the Meat Jelly but I Said No, No, Yes…?

Have you ever tried saying no to a Russian mother? I don’t recommend it. If you ever find yourself in a situation where a Russian mother is either telling you or asking you to do something, just do it. There is no sense in resisting.

This is how I ended up eating xolodets…. Lindsay had warned me about xolodets; a gelatinous, cold meat aspic that is often accompanied by spicy mustard or horseradish sauce. I had luckily been spared such an experience until on Saturday, Valya informed me that she was making xolodets!?! She gave me a serving with my dinner on Sunday and I mixed it into my mash potatoes to no avail. It still tasted like cold, not firmly-set, salty meat Jell-O. While Valya was in her room getting ready for the theater, I swiftly discarded the remains of my helping in the trash bin, feigning delight when Valya returned asking how I liked it.

Lindsay and I commiserated later that evening on our shared xolodets experience and as she left I reminded her that Valya had invited her over for dinner the next night– for which she would be serving xolodets.

The next night as we were gathered around the kitchen table, Nina brought out the blue, tin dish of doom. “Oh yes, Kristina likes xolodets. She ate some yesterday. It’s very good, very delicious. It’s just like cold soup.” Lindsay and I looked at each other and tried not to giggle.

“Do you want some?” she asked as the serving spoon hovered dangerously close to my plate. “Oh I would love some,” I responded “but I have plenty on my plate right now.”

Lindsay, angel that she is, could not say no and soon she was served a massive spoonful of jellied beef– just like cold soup! Lindsay ate it like a champ and quickly scarfed down some beets to mask the taste in her mouth. Soon, Eino, returning from doing the dishes from our soup course, picked up the same blue, tin tray.

“Lindsay, would you like more xolodets?” he asked, completely ignoring me and my empty plate. “Ummm, da da, sure,” Lindsay muttered as another serving was heaped on her plate. At this point I broke into a fit giggles, not something uncommon at Valya’s dinner table, and watched Lindsay picked up her fork and start in on her seconds…


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