Day 11 -- Russian Mother's Day
@Task 1: Tell us: What is the mother of all writerly sins in your book (tropes, grammar mistakes, telling instead of showing, etc.)?
Good question. I can live with tropes, grammar mistakes (because all that proscriptive/immutable rules business drives me nuts; we can't even agree on what the rules are) and tell instead of show (because I probably couldn't pick it out). So that leaves me with what I have said before: it drives me up a wall when an author builds an entire plot on an unintentionally false assumption--an historical event that is misquoted or misinterpreted, a law that is ignored, anachronisms, etc. I don't have a problem with sci-fi or fantasy because the assumptions are intentional (what-if stories).
The other thing that will drive me crazy is just plain old bad writing, i.e., books that shouldn't have been published in the first place because the writer just doesn't know how to craft a sentence or tell a story--and even a good editor can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
@Task 2: Do you have a favorite Mothers’ Day memory that you are happy to share? Photos welcome but optional.
When I was growing up and once enough of us had managed to learn to cook, we would fete my mother with brunch lovingly prepared by her children. Our idea of brunch was to more or less empty the contents of the refrigerator on to the dining room table, so that everybody could have something they liked. We would make pancakes or french toast. Of course, by the time we were done cooking, the kitchen was a disaster area. We had mastered the basic steps of cooking but we didn't quite have the needed organization to get the job done without the mess (and my father wasn't much help on that front). I am sure that my mother dreaded Mother's Day brunch but she was a good sport about it all. I'm also sure that her favorite Mother's Day brunches were the ones where her father turned up at the house with shopping bags full of bagels, lox, kippered salmon and pounds and pounds of cold cuts for us to feast on.
@Task 3: Perhaps the best-known scene in the James Bond novel and film From Russia With Love is 007 being poisoned by Russian agent Rosa Klebb with a venom-laced blade hidden in her shoe. Tell us: Have you ever owned any particular / outrageous / funny / best-beloved or otherwise special pair of shoes? Post a photo if you should still own them.
While still at university, in the early '70s, in the days of bell-bottoms, palazzo pants and platform shoes, I found a pair of blue buck, high-heeled lace-up oxfords that I loved. These were probably the most outlandish pair of shoes I have ever worn (my hot pink Crocs not withstanding). Since then, it has been a love-hate relationship with shoes because it has always been hard to find shoes that fit and don't hurt my feet. Still not one of the dozens of pairs I have owned in the meantime have ever stuck in my mind like that silly pair I bought in college.
@Task 4: Make a traditional Russian dish like borscht, blintzes, pirogi or solyanka soup, and share a picture with us. Find recipe suggestions here: https://www.expatica.com/ru/about/Top-10-Russian-foods-and-recipes_108678.html
Grandma used to make blintzes and she taught me how but honestly I have not made my own in over 40 years. I usually just head to supermarket and buy them. I serve them two ways. One is a blintze casserole, which is great for entertaining because you put it together the night before and bake it just before serving. The other is pan fried in butter and served with sour cream and fruit.
Here's the recipe for the casserole. One dozen frozen blintzes (your choice of filling but I like 1/2 cheese and half fruit alternated in the pan). A pint and a half (3 cups) of sour cream, half teaspoon of vanilla. fourth cup orange juice, and four eggs mixed together. Use a square pyrex/glass pan just large enough to fit the dozen blintzes; spray with Pam or (grease lightly with butter/oil). Line the bottom of the pan with the blintzes (do not layer). Spread the sour cream mix over the top, cover and refrigerate til cooking time (12-24hrs). Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle cinnamon lightly over the top and bake for 1 hour, or until knife comes out clean. Serve hot, plain or with fruit topping (applesauce, spices apples, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.).
Book: Read a book set in Russia, or involving a story within a story / play within a play (like the Russian matryoshka dolls stuck inside each other), or where a key character (not necessarily the protagonist) is a mother.