Author Topic: Alexandra's Personal World  (Read 222875 times)

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Offline Sarai

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Alexandra's Personal World
« on: March 09, 2004, 12:37:31 PM »
I have read that Nicholas II did not like to hear his wife sing. Now, I assume this only applied to non-religious singing, as I am sure he approved of singing hymns and singing in church, having recalled accounts I have read of them engaging in this as a family. But as far as his aversion to hearing Alexandra sing outside of church, I have wondered why that was, especially since the Empress was said to have had a lovely singing voice. In her memoirs, Anna Vyrubova states that "The Empress was gifted with a lovely contralto voice" and yet, whenever she sang, she was compelled to do it in another room, away from her husband, so as "not to disturb the Emperor, who, for some strange reason, did not like to hear his wife sing." So Anna also found it strange. I also seem to recall reading elsewhere that Nicholas would even leave the room if he heard Alexandra singing. Why was he so uncomfortable with this? Did he perhaps think it was improper for an Empress to engage in this activity? Or perhaps he just felt awkward, as I have noticed people often do when hearing others sing?

Offline Lisa

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Re: Alexandra's Personal World
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2004, 12:59:25 PM »
I think that like many blondes, the hair of Alix has dark with time:when she was a child, she was "golden-blond", then they became darker ("blond venetian" or "red-golden",then auburn)... It is only my opinion, but if not I am not explained this mystery!

Offline pers

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Re: Alexandra's Personal World
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2004, 08:11:18 AM »
I am curious about Alexandra's eating habits.  Most writers say that she cared little about food and hardly ate anything.  According to Sidney Gibbes, she ate so little that he wondered how she kept alive from what she ate!
Nowhere in her last diary do I see any reference to breakfast and she seems to be very particular at writing down details about the time lunch and dinner was served and where she took it.
E. M. Almedingen says in her book that during the last year at Tsarskoe Seelo, she lived on boiled vegetables, coffee and lettuce during that summer.
Anyone came accross something interesting or know where one can get more information.
I am sure the diary for 1916 that Penny Wilson translated might have a lot of information.

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Alexandra's Personal World
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2004, 09:41:42 AM »
Alexandra had a favorite breakfast drink called Hoully-Guolly which was made of eggs.  Their breakfasts generally were buffets and there would have been many things to pick from.  Because she rose later than Nicholas, they did not always have breakfast together.

The buffet was generally served in the Pallisander Room.

Most of the items were standard.  There were a large number of breads and such.  Alexandra strictly followed all of the fasts of the church calendar except when she was pregnant or ill.  Other exceptions were made for gala dinners or celebrations.  Of course in Yekaterinburg she was forced to break her fasts because she couldn't get the proper food.

Not wanting to draw attention to herself - or to embarass others who were not as observent as she, during fasts Alexandra would often be served the same thing that others received, but she would only eat the vegetables.

Each day baskets of goodies were prepared for the Imperial rooms.  These had cookies, biscuits, fruit, etc.  There were also bottles of water juices and other things.  There was a different basket in the morning and another in the evening.

Bob
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by BobAtchison »

Offline pers

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Re: Alexandra's Personal World
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2004, 10:28:57 AM »
Bob,
What on earth is that type of egg drink?  I have never heard of it!
I also saw that in Greg King's book reference was made to the Mouchanow book author who alleged that her favourite breakfast was the typical bacon and eggs.
Also she seems to have eaten a lot of pasta, not so?

Offline Arleen

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Re: Alexandra's Personal World
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2004, 10:46:51 AM »
Bob, I wish that you would work on a BOOK!  Your knowledge just makes everything REAL and COME ALIVE.  I adore all of the tid bits that you know that the rest of us don't!!  The goodies baskets for the rooms.....where on earth did you get it, I've never heard of that. Obviously Alexandra ate WELL she was never thin.....to me she is so beautiful, sort of like a madonna...forever beautiful.      ..Arleen

David Newell

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Re: Alexandra's Personal World
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2004, 11:31:27 AM »
I do believe AF was very fond of Vermicelli a type of small pasta tube, its called elbow marcaroni here in the UK. But I wonder wether this was plain or served with a cheese sauce or just a boullion. She certainly seems to have cared little for food. I have read she just picked at her food, but asBob says this may have been during fasts. She certainly had a lot of dental work done, a bridge and seems to have suffered with her teeth. She did like english biscuits, (cookies) perhaps she had a sweet tooth. I have wondered if she was almost vegetarian, fits with the times as it was becoming popular.

David Newell

Offline tian79

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Re: Alexandra's Personal World
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2004, 04:05:36 AM »
From Anna Virubova's later memoirs

The Empress was a vegetarian, but ate eggs, cheese and butter, sometimes she would drink a glass of wine mixed with water. Usually she drank milk like the children.




Offline pers

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Re: Alexandra's Personal World
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2004, 07:52:40 AM »
Alexandra seems to have followed a somewhat similar diet then to her sister Grand Duchess Elizabeth, as Elizabeth ate dairy products and eggs but no meat.  It must have been VERY hard on them during the fasting periods of the Orthodox Church as we are not to eat any dairy products or eggs, along with the ban on fish, olive oil, wine and meat.  The only exception is feast days (e.g. Palm Sunday) during the fasting periods when fish, wine and olive oil are allowed.  At least in their time fish was eaten on fast days!  Remember that fast days account for more than half of the 365 days per year!

Vermicelli to my understanding is a pasta similar to "angel hair" here in the USA.  E. M. Almedingen mentions in her book that Alexandra was fond of  "kalach" bread.

I read somewhere that she took "cafe au lait" in the morning while still at Tsarskoe Selo.  Alexandra also mentions "coco" = cocoa and "macaroni tart" besides the vermicelli in her 1918 diary.

Penny and Greg,
Don't you have more information on this as the two of you seem to have tons of information besides your published books?

Bob,
That egg drink still puzzles me...  Is it like egg nog?

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Alexandra's Personal World
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2004, 12:41:40 PM »
Pers:

I was told all about the egg drink a few years ago and Nick and I just spoke about it.  It was a whipped raw egg drink with vanilla.

That nasty, false "Real Empress" threw lots of us off regarding Alix's eating habits by the mention of bacon.  It didn't jive with what was written elsewhere.

Alix's special diet is not mentioned very often - so I don't think she made a big deal of it.  Also, I don't read she was offered special dishes - except for fasting food.  Lots of people saw Alix eat and few comment.

Sometimes these descriptions of the eating and drinking habits of Nicholas and his wife don't jive with the court records.

Bob
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by BobAtchison »

Katherine Alexandra Marie

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Re: Alexandra's Personal World
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2004, 01:00:55 PM »
Yet some of her photos show what Carrolly Erickson calls a 'matronly' figure. Given what appears to have been HIM's  pronounced depressive tendency, appetite fluctuation and hence weight variation are symptoms of that disorder.

Janet Whitcomb

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Re: Alexandra's Personal World
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2004, 02:04:34 PM »
She does appear somewhat "matronly" in her later years, but I think that's more a result of childbearing and limited physical activity rather than diet. Most slender young women (a fairly comparable example: Grace Kelly) have a tendency to add some extra pounds once they enter middle age.

Offline Alex

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Re: Alexandra's Personal World
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2004, 09:08:17 AM »
Ladies, I have it on good authority that the scent once specifically created for the last Empress of Russia is still readily available today.  It's called in Russian, Krasnaya Moskva which means Red Moscow.  The perfume was recreated in the Soviet area but the scents originality was kept until recently a secret.  I suggest you buy the concentrated form.

If you chose to lay a flower on what is arguably Empress Alexandra's resting place in the St Peter & Paul's fortress in St Petersburg, be sure to place a lilac on her tomb.  This greatly misunderstood woman was not only very fond of the flower but also adored its fragrance and colour.  In Russian, a lilac is called, "ciren".

Offline HRHLaurie1894

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Re: Alexandra's Personal World
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2004, 05:41:45 PM »
That egg drink sounds absolutely awful - a raw egg - I am surprised she didn't get samonella!!!   I agree - there would not be too many takers for that cookbook!

Offline JM

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Re: Alexandra's Personal World
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2004, 06:19:45 PM »
My Grandfather ate a raw egg every day for breakfeast before he retired. It does sound rather nasty but I don't think it's bad for you. Perhaps it's an acquired taste ;).