Water

The presence or absence of running water made an enormous difference to the running of a household, as did the quality of the water and its temperature. Molokhovets often added a modifier to the word “water” in her recipes by calling for “rain water,” “well water,” “river water,” or even “warm water.” The use of these attributes signaled that the source of the water was important and that it was not to be taken for granted. Both the temperature and the composition of the water varied according to its source. The threat of contamination was always an issue, of course, but beyond that pond water was liable to be muddy and stagnant, well water might be too hard, and river water might be unavailable at certain seasons either because it froze in the winter or dried up in the summer.