Great Falls and the Origins of Shashlik

The leaves are starting to change and the Russian community in North America is starting to think about turning the heat on in their houses, but not quite yet, because it costs a lot and so we might as well tough in out until the middle of November if possible by wearing the same amount of clothing in our living room as we do in the Siberian gulags. Actually, more, since they didn’t really have clothes in the gulags.  I myself am eyeing this hat for when I visit Russian homes between now and Thanksgiving.

Since it was pretty warm this weekend, Mr. B and I decided to visit Great Falls Park to leaf-watch and spend some time decompressing together after being apart for a week (which is much harder than it sounds).

There are a couple of places to view the falls and all of them are extremely pretty and prime gathering places for people with extremely large cameras.  There was also, for some reason, A LOT of Asians barbecuing. Anyone know whether barbecue is inherent to the Chinese tradition? Mr. B argued that it stems from Mongolian roots; I argued that only Russians and ex-Soviets barbecue because of the whole shashlik thing. By the way-has anyone ever written a book on shashlik? I know the whole Korean BBQ thing, but I don’t think everyone there was Korean.  Ok, this tangent is making me hungry.

It was very sunny that day.  But not a lot of the leaves were changing color yet, which gives me hope since it means we can stave off winter for a bit longer.

Sitting on a rock overlooking the Potomac rushing into the Tidal Basin with the monuments some miles down the river made me wonder, why is life so beautiful sometimes?




12 thoughts on “Great Falls and the Origins of Shashlik

  1. I can identify with SO MUCH of what you write here. I used to live with my grandparents and my Senelis flat out refused to turn the heat on until the end of November. It think Thanksgiving was the go date. It was really, really cold by then.

    We have shashliks, too but I think we stole them from the Russians. We call them “shashlikai.”

  2. Yeah, when my family visited the park over the summer we barbecued. It was about 15-20 Ethiopians. Grillin’ and chillin’. :P

  3. you turn on the heat in winter? what are you made of money? I used to keep it a toasty 58 until the damn baby came along and then I had to jack it up to 68 in winter, oh the humanity!

  4. Here is a snippet of the conversation that my Father and I had every winter growing up in York…
    Me: Papa, its cold in the house. Can we turn the heat up?
    Father: No! Go put another sweater on!
    I guess he did not care that I HATE wearing layers!!!!!!!!!!
    You are so lucky see so many trees in green still. Here in Western PA we have none of that and all too many trees have dropped their leaves already…sad.

      1. My house is indeed comfy toasty in the winter and crisp cool in the summer – heating and cooling bills be damned! You are most welcome to hang out here!

  5. For all you critics out there : it is healthy to keep house cool. Leo Tolstoy slept with open windows year around and this is why he was able to produce War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Fall is my favorite – Прощальная пора, очей очарованьe….

    1. For all you moms out there, Leo Tolstoy also went crazy- insane and gave away all his belongings. Probably because he realized he didn’t want to live a life that didn’t include a toasty house.

  6. Vicki, don’t you miss the one country where jackets like you wear in the picture ARE standard winter clothing?
    We just came out of a disgusting heat wave of doom.

    Polina- Did Tolstoy also suffer from permanently runny nose?

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