Slavic Holiday Food Traditions

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Do you know how a job interview was held in ancient Russia? Prospective employees were invited to eat with the employer. The way the candidates ate their food partially determined whether or not they would be hired. If a person ate well and had a healthy appetite they were considered to be in good health, on good terms with the proprietor, and promised to be a productive worker.

Food has always played an imperative role in the Slavic culture. It is a part of our traditions and it stretches far beyond meeting our basic needs. It is hard to imagine any Slavic gathering without cooking. Whether it’s a birthday party, Christmas Eve, or Easter morning, food always plays a major role in each celebration. More so, joining around the dinner table is a daily ritual deeply cherished in Slavic families.

Slavic food traditions have been influenced by many cultures that have intertwined for centuries. From the French overtones left from the Russian Imperial Court of 1800’s to national dishes of the 15 republics of the former Soviet Union, Slavic cuisine is a fusion of flavors, traditions, and recipes. Here is a glimpse of a classic Slavic Holiday Meal.

Armenian Shashlik

Armenian Kabob

Armenian Shish Kebob – large pieces of meat marinated overnight, threaded on skewers with pieces of onions and fresh vegetables and grilled over open fire. It is often served on skewers right from the grill. Kebobs originated from the Middle East and became a traditional dish of the Caucasus region of Russia.

Uzbek Plov

Uzbek Plov

Uzbek Plov – a cult rice dish that comes from Uzbakistan. It’s a heart satisfying mixture of rice, lamb, carrots, chickpeas and spices stirred together in a large cast iron bowl and preferably cooked over wood fire. Plov is traditionally cooked by men, so it’s the perfect excuse for women to take a break from the kitchen.

Ukrainian Golubtsi

Ukrainian Golubtsi

Ukrainian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Golubtsi) – a Ukrainian food tradition that is well welcomed in any Slavic household for any occasion. It’s made of cabbage leaves stuffed with a mouthwatering mixture of ground beef, rice, and vegetables. It is usually baked in the oven until tender and served hot with a side of sour cream.

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Lika Emelyanova

Russian Time Magazine Contributor

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