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Ukrainian Cuisine - Essay Example

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Development of the traditional Ukrainian cuisine was a long and turbulent process influenced by a number of domestic and outside factors including geographic location of the country, climate, agricultural preferences, cultural influences, and economic relations with neighboring European states…
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Ukrainian Cuisine
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Download file to see previous pages Remote ancestors of modern Ukrainians were farmers and cattle breeders: exceptionally fertile soil and climate of Ukraine created perfect conditions for farming. Thus, the earliest archeological culture discovered on the territory of modern Ukraine, Trypillian culture (4500-2000 B.C.), practiced settled form of life and cultivated variety of crops and bred cattle, pigs, sheep, and poultry. Therefore, it is mostly agriculture that had an immense influence on the shaping of traditional Ukrainian cuisine (Artiukh, 1977).
The origins of modern Ukrainian cookery can be traced back to the times of Kyivan Rus' that emerged on the land of modern Ukraine around 900 A.D. Historical records of that period contain mentioning of various foods and drinks cooked by the ancestors of modern Ukrainians. Simplicity and economy of cooking were the most characteristic features of those days' cuisine. The most popular dishes were various soups with different vegetables, grains and meat and simple bread. Cooking techniques were not complicated and ensured easiness of cooking (Terlets'ka, 1971).
The turn from simple peasant and rural made dishes to more complex and varied cookery occurred in the 17th-18th century during the Cossack period. Development of domestic and international trade resulted in introduction of new plants, foods and new cooking techniques. For example, eggplants and melons were brought from Asia and potatoes that play one of the key roles in traditional Ukrainian cuisine were brought to the country at that time. The list of new plants that became part of Ukrainian agriculture also included tomatoes, corn, beans, various kinds of peppers, and other vegetables, berries and spices. Availability of the new crops contributed to the growing diversity and complexity of Ukrainian foods (Stechishin 1991).
However, it was not until the 19th century that cooking developed into a sort of art and formed the foundation of modern Ukrainian cuisine. Rulers and nobles of the Russian Empire Ukrainian lands were part of which began inviting European chefs who brought an entirely new attitude to cooking, new spices and plants uncharacteristic to Ukrainian cooking tradition. Variety, luxury and style of dishes cooked by Europeans had enormous effects on development of both Russian and Ukrainian cuisines. Although some of the dishes that appeared at that time preserved their original form to this day, their numerous variations can also be found in modern Ukrainian cuisine (Stechishin, 1991).
The Soviet revolution of 1917 marked a new period in development of Ukrainian cuisine. Perhaps the most characteristic feature of the Soviet period, especially during the first three decades was permanent food shortages that could not but negatively affect cooking patterns and variety of dishes prepared in Ukraine at that time. Shortages of meat, bread, milk, butter, fat, and vegetables which were the most common ingredients of Ukrainian cookery, coupled with high prices on cheese, eggs and other items resulted in simplification of dishes. Ukrainian cuisine of the Soviet times largely returned to its origins: foods based prepared from potatoes, cabbage, and grains (Hordiienko 1979).
Cuisines of Ukraine
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