We can’t speak about the Ukrainian culture without mentioning its cuisine. The Ukrainian cuisine is rich and various. It includes traditions and culinary art of many years. Generally, the cuisine of Ukraine is caloric and heavy. The products are cooking in several steps, at first it is frying or boiling, and then it can be stewing or baking. It makes the Ukrainian cuisine be different from others. There is a reason why people use this method of cooking: it’s because the taste and the flavor become better and richer. Every Ukrainian region has its own food specialties and the same dish can be cooked differently.
There are lots of dishes that combine meat and vegetables, stuffed dishes and fat dishes. The cereals are the important part of the everyday kitchen and it is not accidentally. From the early times, the tribes that lived on the Ukrainian territory cultivated different types of cereals, like the wheat, the barley and the panicum. People who worked hard on the fields needed caloric food, that is why the Ukrainian cuisine still keeps these traditions.
Here are some features of the Ukrainian cuisine. Ukrainian people eat different cereals every day. Baked dishes, like pies, pancakes, bread etc. are very popular in Ukraine. However, Ukrainians prefer stewed and boiled dishes. They use traditional spices, like onion, garlic, horseradish, dill and parsley. The everyday eating is composed of soups, liquid dishes are a part of the Ukrainian cuisine, as well as eating pork, lard (“salo”), eggs and beetroot. For the drinks Ukrainians use dried fruit or fresh fruit and cook “kompot”
The Ukrainian cuisine is nothing without borsch. Borsch is a traditional Ukrainian soup based on the beetroot, with adding of pork, cabbage, tomatoes and potatoes. Every region cooks borsch in its own way. After the first course, which can be any kind of soup, Ukrainians serve the second main course. Except meat and fish dishes, it also can be varenyky. It is small pieces of dough fulled with meat, potato, mushrooms and fruit. As the second dish it also can be buckwheat, pumpkin or barley kasha. We also can’t imagine the Ukrainian cuisine without holubtsi. This name came from the word “holyb” (голуб) and means “dove”, as it symbolizes the birth of the world. The dish holubtsi is a stewed cabbage stuffed with stewed meat, millet, carrot, onions and different spices.
For the religious holidays, weddings and other special occasions, Ukrainians cook different dishes. For example, for the Easter, Ukrainians cook paska. It is a baked bread with raisins and other fruit or nuts inside. Paska has its own symbolization and meaning. But I will tell about that later. For the Christmas holiday, Ukrainians cook kytia. Kytia is a traditional dish with wheat, poppy seeds, raisins, nuts and honey. There are different variations of this dish depending of the region.
It is not the whole list of the Ukrainian dishes, because their cuisine is diverse. For every event, Ukrainians cook special dishes. In the next article I will tell more about the Ukrainian holidays and the food that Ukrainians prepare.