Knowledgeably referenced and gracefully translated, Pouncy's book is clearly intended for both the academic and non-academic reader. The meaning of the word ''domostroi'' is ''house order,'' and the purpose of this sixteenth-century Russian book is to specify the actions and attitudes which make for an ordered home. Included are subjects as diverse as ''how one should love God with one's whole heart and one's brother also'' to ''what to cut out and how you should keep the scraps and snippets'' when supervising the domestic servants' sewing. The father of the household is instructed concerning his wife, children, and servants, ''You yourself should be their guard in all matters, and should worry about them as about your own limbs.'' One of the more interesting sections concerns the widely varied foods people put on the table during the different seasons of the Church year. Due to our modern conveniences of food transportation and preservation, we have lost much of the seasonal enjoyment of foods. The Domostroi's
list of foods enjoyed during this or that feast or fast is truly remarkable in its diversity. There are even a few recipes listed, including kvass, seven kinds of mead, three for turnips prepared with honey and spices, and a delightful one for berry candy.
An Eighth Day View:
A detailed and colorful instruction manual on household management in sixteenth-century Russia, the Domostroi gives a fascinating glimpse of the world of the nobility. This "how-to" guide is one of the few sources on the social history and secular life of Russia in the time of Ivan the Terrible. Carolyn Johnston Pouncy here offers, with an informative introduction, the first complete English translation.