Tag Archives: recipe

Russian Wedding Tradition

каравай

Transliteration: Korovai

Description: Korovai is a large bread that is baked for the wedding day. It takes a few days to prepare it. The bread is always round, decorated, and supposed to represent the God of the sun. The bread is brought out on a towel or a blanket that has symbols of love and happiness. On the day of the wedding, the couple need to take a bite out of the bread. It is supposed to provide a blessing to the couple. After the couple takes a bite, then the rest of the guests can have a bite.

Background Information: Common Russian wedding ritual. Not necessarily practiced by Russians living outside of Russia. Seen as an older ritual that does not necessarily need to be practiced in the present day.

Context: The informant told me about this tradition through a video call. She told me this after I asked her about Russian wedding rituals/traditions.

Thoughts: I think that the wedding tradition of baking and eating Korovai is done to make sure the couple’s marriage is prosperous and fruitful. I believe that the laborious preparation of the bread is to show the immense amount of work that it takes to ensure a successful marriage which includes having children, sustaining a household and finding happiness. Possibly shows that Russians value a prosperous marriage and want to make sure that it is.

Cajun Seafood Fettuccine

Piece

Recipe: Seafood Fettuccine

Make normal fettuccine noodles and then in a separate saucepan, you use velveeta cheese, the kind that comes in a mac and cheese mix and you take the shells out and just use the cheese. You mix it with whole milk or any heavy cream and then dice tomatoes, onions, and celery and then cook it in the sauce.

Then take the seafood, can be crab meat (usually) or shrimp or crawfish. Then you add cajun seasoning which is usually paprika mixed with several other spices. Use Nunu’s if you don’t want to make it yourself.

Background

    This is a Cajun recipe for a dish that my girlfriend grew up eating. She is from the south where seafood is really prevalent. This dish’s recipe was passed down from her father’s side. Her father is italian, hence, the fettuccine. 

Context

My girlfriend was cooking a dish that she makes a lot so I asked her if she had a recipe for it. It turns out that her recipe was a traditional recipe that spanned several generations. Although she is creole, not cajun, her father might have lived around other Cajuns and picked up this recipe. 

Thoughts

    The prevalence of seafood in many southern delicacies is probably due to a large amount of protein available from the sea creature lush coasts that the southerners were close to.

Recipe for Channa Masala

Piece

Channa Masala

450 gms tinned, cooked channa or 2 cups of channa soaked in water overnight. Cook in 4 cups of water and salt to ½ teaspoon Salt For approximately 3 – 3.5 cups cooked channa

1 small onion chopped

¼ teaspoon ginger 

¼ teaspoon garlic 

Grind all the above three ingredients to a paste  —-(1)

¼ teaspoon cumin seed powder

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

¼ teaspoon chilli powder

¼ teaspoon garam masala

¼ teaspoon Aji’s masala powder

1 large tomato diced into small cubes

3 table spoons coriander leaves chopped finely

2 tablespoons oil

Heat a large heavy bottom container; add oil, followed by paste 1.

Saute` till pink or light brown in color. Add tomatoes, 1 tablespoon coriander leaves, turmeric powder, chilli powder, cumin powder. Saute until the mixture starts to look rich brown and the oil starts to separate. 

Add the cooked channa and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until flavors blend. Add coriander leaves and serve hot with rice. 

Background

This is the legendary recipe for Chana Masala  (chickpeas in spices) passed down through generations on my mother’s side. This is my favorite food and my mother’s favorite food and so on. 

Context

This recipe has been passed through the ages. It isn’t exactly something that is unique to my family as all of India has their own takes on Channa Masala. This shows multiplicity and variation in the folklore. Interestingly enough,  there is a “secret ingredient” in this Channa which my mother calls Aji’s masala powder which means “Grandmother’s spice powder”.  All this time, I thought it was my grandmother’s spice powder, but now I realize that it is just  a term for a special secret mixture of spice powder that was passed down from my grandmother. 

Thoughts

    Recipes are interesting pieces of folklore as they are so important to survival. Food permeates through tradition and generations. An interesting thing about food is the multiplicity and variation in each instance. For example, my mother’s cooking varies from day to day and every time she makes the   dish is slightly different from the previous time. 

Armenian Coffee Recipe

Main Piece: 

Informant- “ I would like to share with you my culture’s coffee, Armenian Coffee. The first step is you add 1 cup of water per person. I am making this for me and my mother. I added a little bit of extra water because you want to make sure the cup is filled to the brim. 

So then I use columbian coffee and add it just a little bit over a spoonful of coffee. Add a little more so about 3 spoons. I like my coffee very strong. You can use coffee that is ground up very finely. 

Then start the stove on high and let the water boil.

It is important that you use the proper coffee cup in order to complete the fortune reading at the end.  You also use Jazve coffee pot which is also used in many cultures, Armenians, Turks, Persians. 

So when it is boiling you can let the foam break or keep it. I like the foam because it is full of tons of antioxidants and tastes really good. 

So now my coffee is done and I will pour it in. Make sure to fill the cup all the way to the top.” 

Background: The informant learned the Armenian Coffee recipe from her mother. In the video, she explains that she is making a cup for her and her mother. Armenian coffee is meant to be shared, an important way to bond with family and friends. 

Context: This piece was collected from a full tutorial video created by my informant. The informant lives with her family in Los Angeles and is 20 years old. The tutorial describes the steps to creating Armenian coffee. It is too long to upload so I have included an outline of the audio. 

Thoughts: This is an interesting tradition that is important to her family. She spends time making coffee for her grandmother and mother and remembers times they made her coffee. This recipe is important to the Armenian culture and is recycled through generations. 

Red Bean Porridge recipe

Main piece: A Red Bean Porridge recipe taught by my grandma, acknowledged being especially helpful for reducing symptoms of period.

Original Recipe:

红豆一两,黑米一两,薏米一两,红枣数颗,桂圆数颗,花生少许,糖少许

Translated Recipe:

Red bean: 50g; Black rice: 50g; pearl barley: 50g; Red dates: a few; Longans: a few; Peanuts: a few; Sugar: a little;

Background Information:

Almost all of the ingredients in this recipe except sugar and peanuts, are believed to be healthy to women, especially during their periods. Food like red beans, black rice and red dates are supposed to enrich the blood because of its color. Pearl barley are believed to be good to women’s skin. Longans are just healthy in general. And I think my grandma only adds peanuts and sugar to make me willing to eat it. If you want to be extra healthy, you can replace sugar with brown sugar.

Context:

My grandma called me when I was in quarantine and share this recipe as concerning for my health.

Thoughts:

I was never a fan of this red bean porridge when I was young. I thought it is disguesting that my grandma put in all the ingredients and boiled them. When I grew older and started having my period, this porridge actually helped reduce my pain several times. I don’t know if it is just because it’s some hot stuff and you always feel good eating hot food when you are in period. I’d rather believe it’s a magical recipe that would make me feel better.

Quarantini: the social-distanced Martini

The following is a transcribed interview conducted over a video chat between me and interviewee, hereby further referred to as NC.

NC: Let’s have this conversation over some quarantinis. 

Me: Quarantinis? What are those?

NC: It’s just a saying for video chatting with your friends with drinks. Basically any drink that you make while you’re drinking at home by yourself or while cyber “drinking with friends” is a quarantini.

Me: What does that stem from?

NC: Well, because we’re in quarantine and can’t go out for martinis, we’re just gonna have to settle for our indoor social-distanced drink, the quarantini of your choice made with whatever you have on-hand or that isn’t sold out of your local grocery store. 

Me: Fair point. So just to be clear, any drink that you’re drinking is considered a quarantini?

NC: Well, other than like beer and wine. It’s basically any mixed drink but it doesn’t really matter what it is since no one can see what you’re drinking anyways!

Me: And where did you pick this up?

NC: Oh, everyone is just saying it. I’m sure it started out as a meme and spread from there.

Background: 

Interviewee is a friend of mine who has been picking up on a lot of slang from other friends and classmates. She is a senior at an East-Coast University, but has since moved back to the west since COVID-19.

Context:

This piece of folklore was collected during a video call between me and interviewee during the Coronavirus Pandemic. I have known the interviewee for many years, so the conversation was casual. 

Thoughts:

I think that people are doing what they can to get by during the stay-at-home orders and one of those things seems to be regular alcohol consumption. According to the news sources, alcohol purchase and consumption is up during the quarantine. Further, people are finding ways to socialize, even in social distancing. This was not the first time, nor the last that I heard the term “quarantini” to refer to a drink made at home during this time. The term is now fairly common and I have been also seeing quite a few memes about it as well.

Nepali Winter Holiday Food

Background

Informant: S.S. – a current Senior in college in Indiana, originally from Nepal.

Context

S.S. entire family still resides in Nepal and he always felt very connected to his heritage through food and by cooking the traditional meals from his home country. The collector has personally enjoyed S.S. meals and has observed the performance of Nepali culture and heritage while cooking with S.S. When prompted about special holiday meals or dishes in Nepal, the informant shared this which I have transcribed below:

Main Piece

“So we eat something called Kwati which is like a soup/stew. And it’s made out of 9 different beans- black eyed peas, cow peas, black lentils, chickpeas, adzuki, fava beans, soybeans, Mung dal, green peas. They’re all soaked before and cooked for an hour and a half along with garlic and ginger paste. We usually add momos to the soup too which are Nepali dumplings. And you can eat this anytime, especially in winter because of its high protein value and health benefits but during the holiday of Gun Punhi (Goon Poon-he) we make it and it’s a delicacy too. We add a tempering oil to it after it’s done cooking, which is basically heated oil or ghee and you quickly fry ajwain (carom seeds) and pour the mix into the kwati. So in my family and Newari culture, when the soul is served, before eating we have to look at/for our reflection in the soup and then only we can begin to eat it. This is like a ritual significance to show that eating this cleanses your soul and also rids your body of negative energy but it’s also very healthy so a way to tackle the winter.

Thoughts

From my relationship with the informant, I have learned that food is incredibly important in Nepali culture and that Nepalese people feel very connected to the idea of the clarity and pureness of their soul through the food that they create and consume. Much of the food made in Nepali requires a deep understanding of the rituals of cooking, meaning that each step in the making of the dish is specific and has a purpose. For example, the washing of rice multiple times prior to boiling it, from S.S. telling, serves a dual purpose. One is obviously the practical need to wash the rise of dirt before preparing it, but also the idea that cleaning the rice is important for the body and how the body receives it. Often, there are very specific steps and timing involved in the preparation of the meal, adding things at certain times and this requires a very intricate knowledge of the culture and the meaning behind each step from a spiritual understanding.

Mufleta Recipe: Jewish Moroccan Passover Traditional Food

Recipe:

  • 3 cups flour (add more or less depending on desired texture)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups water
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup oil

1. Mix flour and salt, add water to the other mix. You’ll you get a dough consistency. Pour some oil on top of the dough cover. Let it stand.

2. On a baking sheet pour the measured oil. Make balls of the dough and place on the oil. Repeat and cover and let rest for about 15 minutes.

3. Dunk the dough balls in oil and stretch out the dough. While flattening out the balls, heat a large skillet.

4. Cook them like pancakes and stack upon one another and then roll in sweet sauce of your choosing.

 

Context:

“This is a traditional Jewish Moroccan food. Make this to break the fast for Passover and because it’s “chametz”. It’s a thing you’re not allowed to eat during Passover. It’s kind of like a crepe you eat it with butter or honey or chocolate. It’s a desert.”

Background:

The informant is Moroccan and Jewish, but grew up in LA. She said, “My mom makes it, she learned from grandma. Mom was born in Morocco and lived in Israel, but now lives in LA.” The informant is 20.

My Analysis:

Most families I know have one dessert that they love to make for breaking of the fast, usually it is an iteration of kugel, another starch-heavy meal. It makes sense that these recipes are so simple and consist of almost only flour because in Jewish tradition, you cannot eat flour leading up to passover. So, this is a sweet and delicious way to eat a lot of what you have been barred from eating for a period of time.

 

Papa Soup: Colombian Comfort Soup

Recipe:

  1. Long onions scallions
  2. Potatoes sliced in cubes
  3. Eggs
  4. Hot water

Boil potatoes add scallions mix eggs in add salt to taste.

Background:

“I learned this recipe from my grandmother. I was born in Colombia and raised by my grandmother there for the first several years of my life. She would make this for me when I was sick. It is also supposed to be a good hangover cure, but I was never hungover. I make it for my kids now whenever they are sick.”

The informant is 55, from Medellin, Colombia. She now resides in Southern California.

My Analysis:

This is a very simple recipe with nearly no instructions. It is easy to make, so easy that a sick person could probably cook it for themselves. The fact that my informant’s grandmother would make it for her and she now makes it for her family members when they get sick shows that the people who make this recipe value service. Even if it is not a grand gesture, this simple soup makes a meaningful gift to friends and family when they are ill.

El Trancazo: a Familial Cake

Ingredients/Steps:

– preheat oven to 250 degrees Celsius

– Have two pans ready

– 1 Kilo Butter

– 1 Kilo Granulated Sugar (slowly put into mixer while butter is whipping)

– 1 kilo flour

– Add 8 Eggs into Whipped Butter and Sugar

– 8 Egg yolks go into the same bowl

– Set aside the 8 egg whites which remain

– 2 cups of the original Kilo of flour go into Mixer

– For every cup of flour, add a tablespoon of baking powder through a sifter to the mixer

– 2 Oranges and their shavings

– Add a little bit of vanilla (eyeball it)

– Mix the rest of the flour with the juice from the oranges

– You’ll need 1 cup of warm milk; heat for 1 minute in microwave

– Mix the 8 egg whites from earlier with the milk and water

– put 2 Kilos of the batter into each pan

– Prepare topping while cake is in the oven

– put pot on stove with 1 can of sweetened condensed milk and 5 tablespoons of Cacao (bring to a low boil)

– Soak cake part of cake in Bacardi Rum

– Spread what was on the stove onto the cake and spread apricot jelly as well 🙂

 

A.H. – “I’m the only person who has this recipe written down, it comes from my aunt in San Luis Potosi, and everyone knows about this cake because she always makes it for everyone’s birthday.  It’s literally a concoction of a bunch of stuff; because – her family didn’t have a lot of money growing up, and she didn’t want to have to borrow money from her family, or from anyone, so the recipe basically started when she just took scraps from around the kitchen and put it into the cake.  And it’s just a little bit of everything.”

“She calls it El Trancazo, which literally means like, “getting hit,” so it’s kinda just something that’s thrown together.  And the cake is massive.”

How long has she been making this cake for everyone’s birthday?

A.H. – “The first time she made it was for her first grandchild.”

When it’s someone’s birthday, and they’re in her presence, they know it’s coming?

A.H. – “Yes.  I only learned how to make this cake because I happened to be in Mexico at the time of my cousin’s birthday, and the cake was made.  It took like all day.  If you look at photos of different birthdays, the cake is always there.”

When you think of that cake, or the idea behind it, the fact that it is just thrown together, is it a source of pride?  Identity?  Reminders of your aunt?

A.H. – “I know so much about my aunt’s upbringing – and I know that it was really tragic, really sad, like – her life sucked growing up.  So it’s that idea of – or a sense of, how mothers are just idolized.  Put on a pedestal to the nth degree.  I think it reinforces that idea, that she did what she could with what she could.  My lack of resources isn’t gonna stop me from making my grandchild’s birthday any less memorable or special.”

That’s an idea for you to to live by as well then, that never give up attitude.  As well as just, being reminded of the strength of your great aunt, and maybe your own mother.

A.H. – “Yeah.  I guess.  I don’t think that much about the cake specifically, it’s just very telling to think of everything.  It’s a lot more than just a cake.”

 

It’s a lot more than just a cake.  Again, this cake, created by this person’s aunt, is itself a symbol for the strength and resolve of her family members, some of whom grew up during tough times.  It’s easy to see a theme here; many of these submissions bring to light a strong sense of identity – of solidarity with their family.  Attributes of resolve are what create the fondest of opinions in many people, and this cake reminds me of countless other examples of strength in family.