One of the most important elements of material culture is folk food. And its composition depends on many factors. These are primarily historical, socio-economic, cultural, geographical living conditions of ethnic group, its traditions, direction and degree of agriculture development.
Traditional Ukrainian food covered a long way of growth and development. A variety of products and different cooking methods were used. A basis of the Ukrainian food consists in different dishes of flour and groats. Bread and flour products play an important role in the customs and rituals. Any meal can not be compared with bread.
Bread baked of unleavened dough was used mainly in the Carpathians. According to sources, the methods of its making are extremely old and date back to the time of early Slavs. In Boikivshchyna and Lemkivshchyna unleavened bread was baked primarily of oatmeal flour. In some villages of Lemkivshchyna bread was made with barley flour, and in Hutsulshchyna – from maize. Because of the constant shortage of grain in the Ukrainian Carpathians unleavened bread was added with boiled potatoes, beans, pumpkins, and in lean years – even beech and birch bark, rotten stumps.
Berries and mushrooms
Berries and mushrooms were often used in the Carpathians. On holidays and weekends the meat or fish pies were prepared. Also the favourite dishes such as: dumplings, porridge of various cereals, soups were prepared.
A common dish among the nations of the Ukrainian Carpathians was chyr. It was prepared with oatmeal flour, sometimes with rye, wheat or barley flour. Flour was put into boiling water, stirred and cooked until it became thick then it was slowly poured into a plate with cold water. Chyr was eaten with water or with milk. It was eaten almost every day. And in Hutsulshchyna a dish of maize flour “mamalyha” was cooked.
A wide range of dishes was prepared with potatoes. In the Carpathians it was often served with brynza (sheep’s milk cheese). And in Boikivshchyna flour was added to mashed potatoes and then the cakes were baked.
In the Carpathian region mushrooms were essential supplements to the ration. They were fried, stewed, cooked with potatoes and soup. Mushrooms were dried on the stove or in the sun, and also salted in order to use in winter.
In the Carpathians cheese was made of sheep’s milk. For fermenting of sheep’s milk a special catalyst – hleh was used; it was prepared from a stomach of a two or three-week calf or lamb. Milk influenced by hleh roped quickly. After shaking and pressing cheese called buza was prepared. Then it was dried and crumbled in a wooden trough laced with salt, red pepper. Paste prepared in this way was warmed in a warm place up to brynza was prepared. For long term storage it was tightly filled in the wooden barrels. Although brynza was sharp to the taste, it was eaten very willingly with bread, potatoes and other dishes.
Festive tables differ from ordinary one. Typically, first soups were served. Then there were meat dishes. Dumplings were eaten as a third meal. But Easter and Christmas tables were the richest.