Victory for Bipartisanship (in 1954)

On this day in 1954, the US Congress censured Red Scare monger Joseph McCarthy for conduct unbecoming a senator. The vote was 67 to 22, with all the Democrats and about half the Republicans voting against him. Senator McCarthy called the committee that had recommended censure “the unwitting handmaiden of the Communist Party” and told American TV audiences that the whole proceeding was a “lynch party”. (Sound familiar?)

On the (very) negative side, McCarthy ruined many careers and lives. He blacklisted 320 artists including Arthur Miller, Lena Horne, Charlie Chaplin, and Leonard Bernstein. On the positive side, there was bipartisan support for the censure — something in short supply right now.

Celebrate the demise of the red scare with red (Russian) soup: Traditionally, borscht is served with garlicky rolls called Pampushky. This vegetarian version is from Nami-Nami, a wonderful Estonian food blog.

Vegetarian Borscht with Garlic Buns
1 lb. beets
2 medium onions
2 large carrots
1 lb.white cabbage or mild sauerkraut
2 T. olive oil
6 c. vegetable stock
1-2 T. lemon juice or wine vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
sour cream
finely chopped parsley or dill, to garnish

Peel the beets, onions and carrots. Cut all vegetables into thick matchsticks (you can use a food processor here to speed up the process). If using fresh cabbage, shred it thinly.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add carrots, beets, onions and a pinch of salt and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the shredded cabbage or sauerkraut, then pour in the hot stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer on a low heat for about 20-30 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice, keeping in mind that a proper borscht should have a slightly acidic taste. Top with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with some chopped parsley or dill.

Garlic Buns (Pampushky)
4 1/2 cups flour

3/4 oz. yeast (1 1/2 packets)

1 T. vegetable oil

1 T. sugar
1 t. salt

1 c. tepid water
1 egg yolk
1 T. vegetable oil
1 c. milk


Garlic sauce:
2-3 medium cloves
Pinch of salt
1 T. oil
2 T. water


Sift flour, salt and sugar together. Dilute yeast in tepid water. Mix water with flour, kneading into unleavened dough. Place somewhere warm. Let dough rise, punch down and let it rise once again.

Punch down dough, shaping into small balls. (Rub vegetable oil on your hands to keep dough from sticking).

Place on a greased baking tray and set aside for 30 minutes to proof.

Beat egg yolk with a spoon of oil and milk, smothering pampushky with mixture and place into the oven pre-heated to 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Take buns out of the oven, smother with garlic sauce and return to over for one more minute. Serve warm with borscht.

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One response to “Victory for Bipartisanship (in 1954)

  1. I wil be trying this next week. Right now, all I have time for is that last can of tuna in the cabinet. Have a happy, garlicy weekend!

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