Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Syldavian Cuisine

 One of the items commonly found in a soldier’s bag is his ration’s.  In order to ascertain what goes into a Syldavian soldier’s ration we must first determine what Syldavian cuisine is.  As with much of this exercise I have taken the little crumbs of info left by Herge and extrapolated from there.

Syldavian cuisine would appear to be quite typical of Eastern Europe; blini, herbs, sausage and garnish feature heavily. Mineral water is revealed as an important export, and alcohol is scarce, although Syldavian wine is mentioned.

As I see things there is no such thing as a single, uniform, distinct Syldavian cuisine. That there are numerous distinct cuisines in a country whose main distinguishing feature is a diversity of land formation, climate, wind movements, humidity, terrain and history, is not surprising.

In the north there are the rugged Zympathia and Polishov mountains, in the east, the green and hilly Moltuja region, in the south the green valleys of Zeta, Along the Adriatic coastline lies Ragusia, in the northwest the plains of Hum, the Wladir marshes and the wine producing hills of Wladruja. All these factors influenced the development of the great variety and range represented by Syldavian cooking.

To begin with soups are a relatively recent invention in Syldavian cuisine, first appearing in a royal cookbook in 1799. There were, earlier on, various examples of porridge, stews and one-pot meals. The most common meat soups are beef and chicken based. These soups are traditionally served only on Sundays and feast days, although more frequently in more prosperous country or city households. Syldavians are familiar with all kinds of meat, but it is generally served only on Sundays and feast days. Pork was popular and common in western Syldavia. Poultry also often featured in Wladruja. There are a wide variety of meats in different parts of Syldavia. In Hum and Polishov they eat mutton and goat meat. On St. Vladimir's Day people feast on roasted goose and duck. In Travunia roasted quail and potato dumplings is common. Until the great crab plague in the 19th century, crab was a prime source of income and often on the menu in Ragusia and Zeta.

Rezcek is a wild lettuce, which has been gathered in the fields for centuries. Even today rezcek and potato salad is highly valued. Since it can be picked only for a short time in early spring, much is made of it. Families go on rezcek picking expeditions, and pick enough for a whole week.

In the Medieval Syldavia acorns and other forest fruits were a common dietary staple, especially in times of famine. Chestnuts remain highly valued, and served as basis for many dishes. Walnuts and hazelnuts are used in cakes and desserts. Wild strawberries, loganberries, blackberries, blueberries are a rich source of vitamins.

Mushrooms have always been popular, and Syldavians liked picking and eating them. There are many wild and cultivated varieties.

Honey was traditionally used to a considerable extent. Medjaki, which come in different shapes are traditional honey cakes, and are often used as gifts.

Syldavian National Dishes

    * Slaczek - It is traditionally the hind leg of a young dog in heavy Syldavian sauce. A popular dish in the Polishov Mountains. Slaczek is served with mushrooms and a salad.
    * Azganci - A Zetan dish of roast chicken in a light sauce.  Typically served on feast days
    * Belokrajek - Roast root vegetables with traditional Travunian spices
    * Bujepa - Traditional Buckwheat blinis
    * Poljedina bujepa - Cheese and mushroom filled blini, popular in Moltuja
    * Kranja klobaza - A Moltujan dry cured sausage, due to the regions traditional Muslim population this is usually a beef filling.
    * Bajek klobaza - A Zympathian smoked sausage.
    * Spekhovka monik - A dish of wheat and egg noodles with venison and rich gravy from Hum.
    * Vipavska - A sweet corn meal cake traditional to St Vladimir day celebrations.
    * Omir - Rezcek and potato salad

List of other traditional Syldavian foods

Soups and stews

    * Prezka (lamb stew)
    * Minestrazka (Barley and lentil stew)
    * Jota (Tomato soup)
    * Stajota (Onion soup)
    * Bogrezka (Spicy potato stew)

Vegetarian dishes

    * Spekhovka (wheat and egg noodles)
    * Kaza (Potato dumplings)
    * Smojka (Smoked chestnut sausage)
    * Medla (Honeyed roast root vegetables)
    * Njoki (Potato cakes)

Bread and Porridges

    * Devek (ring-shaped bread)
    * Mak (boiled oat or barley porridge)
    * Pervek (White bread)
    * Povek (Whole wheat bread)
    * Maznica (Hard/crisp bread)
    * Mazek (Cracker)
    * Pog (flat bread)

Meat dishes

    * Krvavice klobaza (Black pudding)
    * Jetrnice klobaza (Liver sausage)
    * Zelodech (Venison)
    * Bunka klobaza (Mutton sausage)
    * Mavta (Budva fish cakes)
    * Vamzcik (Dbrnouk style fish)

Desserts and pastries

    * Kovika (spiced cake)
    * Zpehova (bacon roll)
    * Prekmurska (Pastry from Jstow with varied fillings)
    * Kofik (apple roll)
    * Pojica (nut roll)


    * Kislo mleko (kefir)
    * Zabezcek (Zympathian plum wine)
    * Tolko (black tea)
    * Ceznjevec (cherry brandy from Douma)
    * Vovka (coffee)
    * Brinjevec (mineral water from Moltuja)
    * Cviek (Syldavian wine from the Wladuja region)

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