The Tsar wants to eat, or what Ivan the Terrible ate

"The Tsar wants to eat!" - shouted the clerk of the Ambassadorial Prikaz Feofan in the famous comedy by Leonid Gaidai "Ivan Vasilyevich is changing his profession." In a matter of minutes, a table was laid for the emperor, on which, among other delicacies, there were pike heads under garlic, hare kidneys, black caviar, red caviar and, the main decoration of the table, overseas eggplant caviar. This film, of course, cannot pretend to be historical, but I wonder which of the listed dishes could have appeared on the royal menu of the 16th century?

Pike heads under garlic were indeed popular in Russia. In general, pike was one of the most common fish in our country, and there were a huge number of recipes for its preparation. The city of Galich was especially famous for its fishing industry, from where pikes were supplied to the tsar's table. Until now, on October 15, Galich celebrates the holiday "Emelina Shchuka".

Hares in Russia were also found in abundance, therefore, Tsar Ivan the Terrible could well try twisted hare kidneys. The buds were soaked in milk and then fried over hot coals, turning quickly. Hence the name of the dish "twisted kidneys".

There was also a lot of caviar in the Russian state. True, they ate black caviar during the time of Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich. Recipes for salting it were known in Russia back in the XII century, and a lot of sturgeon were caught, therefore, black caviar was available even for ordinary people. By the way, pike caviar was valued much higher.

Red caviar in Russia began to be eaten much later - from the 18th century, when it began to enter Central Russia from the eastern outskirts of the state. Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, there was no particular demand for it, red caviar was more included in the diet of the indigenous peoples of Siberia and the Far East. Gradually, it became widespread in the capitals, but obviously not during the time of Ivan the Terrible.

Overseas eggplant caviar was served in small quantities even on the royal table. But this is nothing more than a fantasy of the filmmakers. Eggplants began to be imported to Russia only in the 17th century, 100 years after the death of Grozny. Eggplants quickly gained popularity among us, especially in the southern provinces. And they called them differently: Pakistani, demyanka, blue.

As you can see, not many of the dishes shown in the film could be tasted by Ivan the Terrible. But the point is not only that many products were simply not available in Russia at that time. According to the memoirs of contemporaries, Ivan Vasilyevich generally ate a little at feasts. Firstly, the tsar suffered from colitis from a young age, and secondly, he was afraid of being poisoned. Moreover, there was a reason for concern: this was the death of his mother, Elena Glinskaya.