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Cossack Cuisine

Cossacks honour their forefathers’ precept: “The way with a spoon, the way with a sabre”. The lines in the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don”  read: “On holidays they had substantial and big meals. Meat cabbage soup (shci) with mutton was followed by noodle, then boiled mutton or chicken meat, jellied meat from mutton legs, fried potatoes, millet porridge buttered, rye gruel with dry fruit, pancakes with “kaimak” – boiled cream, salt watermelon.

During their raids in Turkey and Persia, the military service in different parts of the world, Cossacks picked  up the customs of the European, Caucasian and oriental culture, including cuisine culture, and brought them to the Don. The menu in a Cossack “kuren” was various in all times.

The table was crammed with viands, when Cossacks were welcomed on homecoming after their marches or when dear guests were received in Cossack kurens. The table was served with meat, poultry, game, soaked apples, pickles, pies, pancakes seasoned with kaimak and watermelon honey (nardek) and, certainly, famous Don fish: boned sturgeon, Don herring, fish soup (ukha), small  fish fried with onion and egg.

In the Upper Don villages and stanitsas they cook noodle soup on chiken broth, jellied meat of porc heads and legs, baked chicken or duck, noodle pie, pumpkin porridge with raisins, pies with fish, potatoes, rice and chopped boiled eggs, cherry, apples and plums, curd and cherry dumplings various kinds of pastry, doughnuts on sour milk, milk jelly, “vzvar” – stewed fruit.

On the Don there are masters of making hard drinks of many varieties: the one brewed with seven herbs, cherry brandy, nut brandy, apricot brandy, the one “with pepper”.

On “Sholokhov Spring” in the improvised “kurens” (houses) every guest can taste the Don viands: Cossacks are hospitable in treating guests, and the people’s holiday lasts till the dead of night.