Experience Culture through Food

Ukrainian cuisine

Different dining traditions have been developing since the various types of nationalities had been formed. Therefore, today we have many types of national dining customs of the world. As a main subject of my assignment, I choose Ukrainian cuisine, as an example of a unique tasty and astounding cuisine in the world. Ukrainian food is well-known far from Ukrainian borders. I think everyone is acquainted with famous Borsh – a kind of meat soup and Vareniki – the small round pieces of dough, filled with meat, cheese, potato or cabbage (“Ukrainian food,” n.d.). Although, Ukrainian dishes are usually very rich and nourishing, it is not a rarity that a common dine includes several types of the appetizers, hot meals, cold meals and soft drinks. For Ukrainians, it is very important to regale their relatives or guests with tasty food. Moreover, the process of dining itself is also very significant to people of Ukraine. Usually, the whole family gathers together in order to have dinner, to spend some time with relatives and enjoy the tasty home-made meals. This tradition is very important for both the youth and the elderly (Smith, 2012). Often, a so-called “chef” in a family is the elder women, usually a mother or a grandmother, who has gained some huge experience during her life. The most delicious recipes are usually collected in a recipe-book and handed down from a mother to a daughter. These recipes are kept as a part of a family’s history. Such tradition reflects a respectful attitude towards a family and a culture in general (Chumachenko, n.d.). An eating habit is one of the most important fragments of a national culture. It is obvious that some people still prefer eating in a restaurant, rather than eating at home, but the number of those becomes less and less as the tradition to eat in a family circle is coming back.

My own experience

As a part of my assignment, I was to experience some specialties of Ukrainian cuisine. In order to try some authentic meals of that culture, I visited a restaurant, whose owner was from Ukraine. His restaurant represents the genuine home-made meals, cooked according to the recipes of local housewives. Huge variety of dishes is presented in the menu. It includes many different appetizers such as Salo – a kind of suet, made of pork, and sour vegetables – usually cucumbers, tomatoes and cabbage. The appetizer I like the most is Oliv’e salad – it is a mix of diced boiled potatoes, eggs and chicken breast, combined with the fresh cucumbers and the peas, dressed with sour cream. The hot meal, which I decided to try, was Borsh, of course. It seems a little bit strange, though tasty. It is a red soup, made of cabbage, tomato or beetroot, carrot, onion and cooked meat broth with meat. It has a red color and very unusual taste. At will, a tablespoon of sour cream can be added. Instead of having a dessert, I decided to try one more famous meal – Vareniki. However, it appeared to be my dessert. Vareniki, which I ordered were with a filling of sweet sugar and the sweet cherries. Eventually, I had Vareniki not only as a hot meal but also as a dessert at the same time. In addition to my dessert, I was proposed to try some soft drinks. I choose a simple glass of milk and an extraordinary glass of Uzvar. Uzvar is similar to fruit compote. The only distinction is that Uzvar is made of dried fruits. As for me, a glass of milk is perfect for hot Vareniki. It was my menu for a dinner. To my mind, Ukrainian cuisine is very delicious and nourishing. It reflects not only a style of Ukrainian eating habits but also the family values of Ukrainians. Maybe one suggests such meals as something strange, but I treat Ukrainian cuisine as something unique and absolutely worth of trying.

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