Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Ukraine a vast country which used to be called the ‘bread basket’ of the Soviet Union. Its capability as a source of bread certainly impressed the French novelist Balzac, who had a Ukrainian wife and who referred to the Ukraine in a letter as ‘this terrestrial paradise, where I marked 77 ways of preparing bread’. Savella Stechishin (1979), whose book on Traditional Ukrainian Cookery is of exceptional merit, writes:

To the Ukrainians, bread is one of the holiest of all foods. The older people consider it most disrespectful when leftover pieces of bread are thrown about carelessly. They pick up such pieces reverently, kiss them in apology, and then feed the bread to the birds or burn it on the hearth.