Food is obviously a very important part of peoples’ culture and if you want to understand the nation it is important to try national food.
Belarusian cuisine consists mostly of vegetables, meats and breads. The foods that are considered to be staples of Belarus include pork, cabbages, potatoes and bread. Traditional cooking methods are usually either slowly cooked or stewed food.
But the most popular Belarusian dish is draniki with machanka. Machanka is used as a traditional Belarusian sauce for draniki or blini. Most often it is made with pork, sausage, sliced onion, sour cream and flour.
Kvass is a type of soft drink that is made from either brown bread or rye flour that has been malted. Kvass can also be combined with sliced vegetables to create a cold soup called okroshka.
I think all these dishes will be rather tasty and unusual for a tourist.
1. What can you tell me about eating habits in your family?
Everybody knows we are what we eat. It is very important to include various products into your menu, such as diary products, starchy products, fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, eggs to ensure your body gets all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Usually people call it a healthy well balanced diet. You can improve your diet by eating smaller portions, especially at night.
But nowadays trying to follow all the necessary recommendations of our doctors we face one more problem – genetically modified food and products made of trans-fats, artificial ingredients and pesticides, which are very harmful for our health.
Not long ago I came across one more interesting fact about food: the food you eat can have a drastic effect on how you feel. For example, chocolate can lift your spirits and make you feel happier. The high fiber food can make people feel positive, energetic and think quicker. Nevertheless there is food that can make us sad, anxious and prone to panic attacks. This group of products includes coffee, eggs, sugar and something else which is used in unreasonable quantities.
My mother is a wonderful cook and her dinners are always delicious and various. To begin with we usually have some salad – tomato and cucumber salad or mixed salad. For the first course we have some soup – noodle, mushroom or cabbage soup, or maybe some fish soup for a change. For the main course we have meat, chicken or fish dishes, for example, steak or fried fish, spaghetti or potatoes (boiled or fried). We also have a lot of vegetables – green peas, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers. I prefer meat to fish but my mother makes me eat fish from time to time. She says it’s good for my brains. For dessert we have some fruit, fruit juice or a cup of tea with a slice of cake. Not very often we may eat out. But it usually happens for special occasions.
2. Do you like cooking? Why (not)?
Maybe yes. But it doesn’t happen very often because I’m very busy now. If I have a chance to spend time cooking I prefer to cook some special and tasty things: pizza, pancakes, stuffed cabbage, chops, roast chicken, hot pot (òóø¸íîå ìÿñî ñ êàðòîôåëåì, îâîùàìè), biscuits and what not.
3. What questions will you ask a friend who has invited you to a pot-luck party?
I have never been to a potluck party. It’s probably amazing. Of course I will have to find out some things beforehand:
- What is the theme of your potluck party?
- How many people have you invited to the party?
- Are you going to make a list of dishes?
Which cafes would you recommend to visit in your place? Why?
A very popular pastime is eating out in a restaurant or a café. In most towns there is a wide variety of restaurants, a number of bars and cafes where you can get sandwiches and other snacks. So is in Grodno. You may go to the center of the town and walk along a central street. You will see a number of cafes. It will be up to your taste what to choose, because they are rather different.
5. What is your favourite Belarusian national dish? What is its recipe?
Draniki is a traditional Belarusian potato pancakes recipe.
It is a traditional belarusian dish still very popular in present day Belarus. There are many variations of this simple recipe, on of them we present here.
Ingredients (2 servings):
5 Large potatoes;
1 medium Onion;
Black pepper 0.5 tea spoon;
Salt to taste;
Sunflower Oil 7-8 tbl. spoons;
First of all you will need a grater to grate potatoes and onions. Be sure that you use appropriate side of grater as shown on the picture so you don’t grate potatoes into strips but rather into liquid mass. That what makes draniki unique.
Prepare ingredients. Peel potatoes and onion.
Grate potatoes and onions into a bowl
Add salt, pepper, egg and mix together. The substance should not be liquid, and should not be too thick, drain excess potato juice or add some flour to achieve required level of liquidity.
Heat the frying pan, pour 1 tbl. spoon of sunflower oil onto it.
Dump a full table spoon of mixture form the bowl onto the frying pan and from a small about quarter inch thick pancake. Cook on high for 2-3 minutes and then flip over.