Meat products

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Speaking of meat products, people consumed the meat of domestic animals and poultry, as well as the flesh of wildfowl. And if chickens, ducks, geese (both domestic and wild), hares, lamb, beef and pork could be found on the tables of both a wealthy peasant and a landlord, the possibility to diversify the table with quails, blackcocks, wood grouses, wild boars, elks or bears was largely the privilege of merchants and nobility, and very rarely – of wealthy peasants. However, there were hunters who spent a lot of time in the forests hunting game.

Essentially, the bird was roasted whole over live fire, on a tray or in a cooking pot. Sometimes, poultry was used to cook soups. The meat could be powdered, dried, smoked, and simply roasted. For most of people meat was a seasonal product, it was consumed in the period from November to December, when cattle were slaughtered. The pork fat was powdered for future use or melted to be preserved for a long time. Meat was roasted in large pieces, as were whole suckling pigs – out of which jellied meats were also made. On the other hand, all kinds of stew and wursts appeared much later in Russia.

Bear meat consumption in Russia used to have a rather ritual value. The meat was thought to transfer the strength and agility of the animal to the person who ate it. It is consumed today as a rare dish, since hunting of most species is prohibited. Bear meat is tough, with a peculiar sweet after-taste, very rough and fibrous. Before cooking, it must be soaked and/or marinated and then fried or stewed in a clay pot




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