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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Belarus formerly called Belorussia, a name which translates into English as White Russia, is a vast, flat, landlocked country with many large rivers, lying between russia, latvia, lithuania, poland, and the ukraine. A Russian author, Pokhlebkin (1984), comments:

There is some difficulty in establishing exactly what constitutes traditional Byelorussian cooking, because of the continuous social and religious upheavals the region has undergone.

The peasants of Byelorussia belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church; the petty gentry were mainly Unitarian; the nobility, chiefly Polish or Lithuanian in origin, were exclusively Roman Catholic. The cooking traditions of the ruling classes resembled the Polish and German cuisines, while the small-town artisans and merchants were influenced by Jewish cooking, after the seventeenth century when the Jews began to settle there en masse. Only the peasants maintained the real traditions of the Slavic tribes from which they descended.