When Ruth and I travelled to Russia and Siberia, every town we landed in would greet us with bread, salt and vodka as we stepped off the helicopter. Then when we arrived at our accommodation (in one City it was a Mental Hospital), they would serve us hot, black tea, and as milk was only permitted for old people and children in those days, we were usually given a small pot of jam (or jelly as it is called in the States). We acquired a taste for this warming brew, which was usually served from a very ornate Samovar. In fact, we were given several Samovars as gifts at some of our stops. It's interesting to know that I was not classified as "old" then, and didn't qualify for milk.