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Belarus - Cooking and Food Edit

Overview of Belarusian Cuisine History Edit

[[Image:||right|thumb|]] The geographical location of Belarus made it a genuine “melting pot” for many of the national cuisines of its neighbors. Russian influences from the north and Ukrainian influences in the south of the country were joined by the strong tendencies to cook like the western neighbors – Poland. The culinary development of the country is quite superficial as the larger neighbors constantly shadowed it. There are a few mentions of traditional Belarusian dishes such as the Belaviezha forest fried aurochs or baked Goose with green peppers, dishes mentioned in different sources starting from the 15th century. The geographical changes that Belarus went through are also noticeable in the way the Belarusian cuisine is presented. The influence that the Lithuanian domination had on the country in the 15th century is still persistent today. On a national scale, the abolition of serfdom in 1861 meant that there were less differences between the way the large masses and the country’s elite ate. Very few Western European influences were seen in the traditional Belarusian cuisine, but dishes containing potatoes (prepared in similar ways to the German cuisine) or those containing pasta and noodles are present today.

Cuisines of Belarus Edit

Map of Belarus

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A lot of place in the diet of the Belarusians belongs to meat and meat products. Pork and salted Pork fat are considered national dishes, similar to many of the surrounding countries. One of the people's proverbs says: "There is no fish more tasty than Tench, as well as there is no meat better than Pork". The salted Pork fat is used slightly smoked and seasoned with onions and garlic. Dishes prepared from meat are usually served together with potatoes or vegetables such as carrot, cabbage, black radish, peas, etc. It is characteristic that many vegetable and meat dishes are prepared in special stoneware pots. One of the most famous holiday dishes is called Pyachysta – a delicious stew that is considered by many Belarusian chefs one of the main dishes of Belarus. The geographical location of the country favored outside influences, but it is hard to differentiate distinct cuisine styles.

Belarusian Food Glossary Edit

Finding the ingredients for an Belarusian Recipe is not so easy when you do not know the names of the ingredients. Take time to make a list of ingredients and the name they may be found under at the Local Markets.

Preparation Methods for Belarusian Cooking Edit

Although the traditional cooking styles for most Belarusian dishes go back to hundreds, if not thousands of years ago, today most cooking is quite similar to any western European cuisine. The Belarusian cuisine uses elements from various cooking traditions borrowed from their neighbors and developed from their own traditional dishes. While there are no specific or unique preparation methods for Belarusian cooking, we should point out that attention to detail is important in the Belarusian cuisine. Using the right amount of spices for example is essential – either for spicing up the taste or for coloring the dish. The diversity of vegetables and cereals found in this country is also noticed in the delicious dishes prepared by Belarusian cooks. Each traditional dish has a special cooking method, which is more or less general in all of Belarus’ regions. Meat is one of the main elements of most Belarusian dishes and cured and smoked hams, poultry, Pork and Beef fillets, and bacons are often parts of delicious dishes. Smoked fish as well as other fish meat types are widely appreciated, and cooking styles may differ from highly specialized restaurant cooking to simple, rustic cooking methods.

Special Equipment for Belarusian Cooking Edit

Belarusian cooking uses the same standard instruments used in many European countries or in the United States of America. Ranging from cake pans, can openers, colanders, egg rings, poachers and holders, food dishers & portioners, food pans & food containers to other kitchen utensils, such as food scales, food scoops and fryer baskets & accessories, the Belarusian cuisine needs a diverse cooking equipment set in order to produce the most sophisticated Belarusian dishes. Essential utensils like serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs should also be part of your cooking “toolbox”. Here are a few other items that will come handy while cooking Belarusian food: juicers, kitchen knives, kitchen slicers, kitchen thermometers, measuring cups & measuring spoons, miscellaneous utensils, mixing bowls and skimmers & strainers.

Belarusian Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

There are several important traditional holidays in Belarus. And there are special dishes for every holiday. For example, on Christmas Belarusians traditionally put hay on the table, then a table-cloth and only after that they put the dishes. There must be not fewer than twelve dishes on the table according to the number of apostles taking part in the Last Supper with Jesus. There also must be mushroom dishes and fish dishes on the table. On Christmas Eve bread is not cut with a knife but is broken with hands. "Zatirka" is a traditional flour dish that is often considered the pride of the Belarusian cuisine. Food preparation depends on the season. In summer Belarusians eat mainly vegetables: cucumbers, green onions, beans and kvass as well as dairy products. But when they worked hard in the fields they ate meat, fat and peasant Sausage. There were quite enough bread, cereals and meat in autumn and winter. Church laws set Lent in spring. It was forbidden to eat meat and milk products. People used Lenten food: plant, fish, mushrooms. Belarusian people eat the richest food at weddings. The meal always ended with a round loaf which symbolized material welfare.

People in Belarusian Food Edit

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The Belarusian cuisine is often considered to be quite “faded” when compared to the cuisines of its neighbors, this is why modern chefs are trying to eliminate this perception and offer delicious Belarusian dishes that can be enjoyed on an international scale. There are many chefs who creatively use the basic ingredients and cooking method for traditional Belarusian dishes and create original and delicious food variations. Belarusian chefs are passionate about their traditional dishes and they enjoy presenting them to foreigners who have never tasted them before. Whether they are cooking Zatirka or red beet soup, served with stuffed dumplings or more sophisticated Belarusian dishes, such as the delicious Duck filled with apples, Belarusian chefs take pride in what they do, and this is readily noticeable in the unforgettable taste of their cooking.

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