1407 “Monks”



Pour boiling water over small, dry, purchased krendels* until they swell slightly, but do not let them turn mushy like porridge. Drain off the water, add salt, and pour on browned or ordinary butter.

Or soak the krendels in red wine. When they swell, fry in butter. To serve, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

These “monks” are prepared at roadside stations** where it is difficult to find any kind of provisions.

*Krendels are pretzel-shaped loaves of sweetened yeast bread. Except for the shape, they are similar to kuliches and are often served at Russian name day celebrations. The word comes from the German Kringel, not via Polish, but via the German bakers who, according to Goldstein, “were numerous in Russia from the late thirteenth century on, especially in the merchant town of Novgorod” (Goldstein, A la Russe, 146). Molokhovets included over a dozen recipes for krendels. The large ones were like kuliches as described above, but most of the small ones were like bagels in that the yeast dough was boiled before it was baked. Those made of short pastry were baked without boiling. Several recipes for small krendels called for a further drying out in the oven after the initial baking. Presumably it was this latter sturdy variety of krendel that Molokhovets was recommending for travelers.

**Most Russian traveling was done overland with either carriages or sledges. Almost all the memoirs, letters, and diaries of Europeans visitors to Russia in the nineteenth-century tell of the horrors and discomforts of traveling in Russia—the awful weather, the terrible roads, the lack of facilities at the roadside inns, and, most repugnant of all, the lice and cockroaches that infested the furniture and bedding even in private homes.