Chekhov said he tried to write as calmly as if he were eating blinis. If you want to understand what Chekhov was talking about and also get yourself in a serene mood on, say, the evening before you write, try the following recipe for blinis. (When I wasn’t eating shashlik, Middle Eastern barbecue, at Kiliki, on my trips to St. Petersburg, I was eating blinis and caviar with sour cream, and drinking, naturally enough, iced Russian Standard vodka at The Idiot on the Moika Embankment, (which bills itself as a vegetarian restaurant, meaning fish eggs are considered flora there). Mix two eggs with three cups of milk, add a cup of flour, half teaspoon of baking soda, salt to taste, and mix. Fry the batter in vegetable oil—just like crepes or thin pancakes. Add your caviar and sour cream or crème fraiche. You can, of course, have this for breakfast, in which case I would strongly advise against the vodka before the work is done.