March 1 was the first day of spring according to Russian tradition. (We count March, April and May as spring months; June, July and August as summer months; etc.) Although winter will continue to linger for nearly three more weeks based on the astronomical calendar, snow is melting rapidly here in the sunny Methow Valley and life is beginning to pick up speed. So, it's time for a quick check-in:
- The Piroshki class at the Twisp Valley Grange in January was lots of fun! Thank you to my students for braving the weather and coming out for the class: it was one of the snowiest days this winter, or at least felt like it, and my little car barely made it up our slushy road on the way home that night. And, a special thank you to the group I've taken to calling "the Grange ladies," who made sure that the class went off without a hitch and the many, many dirty dishes that were generated while making dough and fillings were dealt with efficiently despite the lack of running water due to frozen pipes.
- The two February events, the Russian Dumplings class at the Hot Stove Society and Dumpling Fest at the Palace Ballroom, both in Seattle, were great too. Tom Douglas's team is truly amazing. So professional, well-organized, and willing to roll up their sleeves, pitch in, and do whatever is needed to make sure things run smoothly. I appreciate the warm welcome I received as a brand-new instructor at the Hot Stove Society, the opportunity to use the Hot Stove space the following day to prepare my kreplach for Dumpling Fest, and the hands-on assistance the team provided when we realized that, despite arriving early to prep, I'd never make it to Dumpling Fest if I had to roll, cut, fill, and shape 300 dumplings all by myself! And, of course, the students in the class and the guests at Dumpling Fest were wonderfully enthusiastic and adventurous.
- Coming up on March 25 is my Piroshki class in Manson, on picturesque Lake Chelan, a little over an hour from my home near Twisp. (In an interesting coincidence, Lake Chelan shares many geological features with Lake Baikal, the very deep, ancient lake in Siberia that is located near where my husband grew up.) This will be private event, with Jay Witherbee, the owner of Chelan Catering Kitchen, where the class will take place, taking care of enrollment. I am also working on setting up another Piroshki class in the Chelan area in the coming months; date and location TBD.
- My second Russian Dumplings class at the Hot Stove Society, originally scheduled for March 11, has morphed into a Blini class and is being rescheduled for April or May. Stay tuned for details!
- In addition to teaching classes, I'm toying around with the idea of trying to sell some sweet treats/baked goods at the Methow Valley Farmer's Market (aka Twisp Farmer's Market). These may be Russian-themed, or not at all Russian-themed, or a combination. The 2017 market season kicks off less than a month from now and I just requested my vendor application today so hopefully I haven't missed the deadline to apply. We'll see what happens... I thought this might be a fun way to meet more of my neighbors, engage with the community, and try out a different food business strategy. Again, stay tuned, and happy March, everyone!