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"Russian Ustian dishes"

The main occupation of the population is fishing and hunting white fox.

The main products of the northerners were fish, reindeer and bird meat. There was very little bread due to shortage and high prices. Cereals, flour products were consumed mainly in winter. Vegetables were not known at all, as well as dairy products. Salt was used in small quantity. The food of the Russian Ustians was divided into three main types: "food", or "own food" - fish; "dairy" - meat; "edible", or "provisions" - flour, bread, breadcrumbs.

Fish served as their mainstay of food all year round. And nowadays, if you ask any resident of Russky Ustya: "Do you agree not to eat fish every day?" In response, you will hear: "How can you live at least a day without fish..." And that is why fish with a stench or as it was called "sour fish" was often present in the diet.

The methods of cooking meat and fish food were the same as those of the locals: Yakuts, Even, Chukchi, and Yukaghirs. But the menu of Russian old-settlers was characterized by quite a wide variety of fish dishes, they had more than 30 kinds of them. For example, fish was used to make: pies, smoked fish, stuffed fish, dumplings, etc., which was absent in the cuisine of the locals.

Here are a few fish dishes.

SCHERBA - fish soup. It was served for dinner. They ate fish first, and then "sherba". After dinner they drank tea. The rest of boiled fish was left for the morning and served as a cold dish. Broad whitefish, nelma, muksun (a type of whitefish) were used for soup.

STROGANINA - frozen fish cut into thin slices. It was served at lunchtime. Only "live" fish, i.e. fish that had not died in the net, was used for stroganina.

YUKOLA - dried and smoked fish prepared in a special way. Only freshly caught fish is used. First it is dried in the wind, then smoked.

BARCHA - yukola was pounded in a mortar, resulting in a fibrous, dry mixture. It was then poured into fat.

VARKA - is boiled and crushed fish in fat. It was also prepared for winter.

TELNO - is a fish pie where the dough is not made of flour, but of fish flesh. The filling is also made of fish - overcooked and mixed pieces of skin, navels, fish stomachs and caviar. From freshly caught muksun and vendace are made excellent telno.

KAVARDAK  from fish - overcooked skins, navels, fish stomachs and caviar.

STUFFED FISH - from the flesh of fish prepare cutlet mass, then fill the skin with it, shape the fish and bake in oven.

FISH GUTS - fish stomachs are boiled, cleaned, cooled and filled with fat.

NELMA GUT - the stomach of nelma is turned inside out, put pieces of fat in it, stretched on a spindle and roasted on coals.

FRIED PICHANKI - the liver of broad whitefish or Arctic cisco is fried in a pan or on a fire.

FISH SAUSAGE – the fish bladder is filled with blood, fat, pieces of stomach, liver, caviar. Then they are boiled and cut into pieces.

BURBOT MAXA - burbot liver, consumed boiled, fried or frozen.

RAW FISH - clean the fish from scales, separate the flesh with the skin, cut with a sharp knife into small pieces and sprinkle with salt.

TOLKUSHA - in a copper cauldron pour fish oil, pour ripe cloudberries, and put a fillet of freshly caught fish and a little salt, all this is mixed with a wooden spatula and stewed over low heat.

HANGING HERRINGS - at the end of September, unsalted roe in separate bundles are hung on hangers and left until the fall. In winter, the roe is baked by the stove or the fireplace.

NELEMNAYA SHAGLA - cleaned washed gills of acidulated nelma are eaten raw with salt.

SALTY NAVELS - fresh fish is cut out of the belly and salted.

SMOKED HERRING - salted vendace is wilted and smoked.

CAVIAR PANCAKES - frozen caviar is pounded in a mortar or kneaded with a hairnet until a liquid dough is obtained. It is used to bake pancakes and fritters.

PEREZHENNIKI - fish patties.

FISH DUMPLINGS - regular fish-stuffed dumplings.

In winter, raw fish is not eaten, as stroganina is abundant.

Hung herrings. At the end of September, small batches of grouse are hung on hangers and slightly dried in unsalted form. In winter, this grouse is baked standing by the stove or fireplace.

Nelemnaya shagla – the cleaned washed gills of the nelma are eaten raw with salt.

Salty navels – in fresh fish, the abdominal part is cut off and salted (tesha).

Smoked seldyatka (local anme of a vendace) - salted vendace is wilted and smoked.

Caviar pancakes (fritters) – frozen caviar is pounded in a mortar or crushed with hands using a hair net, then pancakes and fritters are baked from it.

Perzhenniki – fish hand-held pies.
In summer, along with fish products, deer and bird meat occupied a large place in the diet, while in winter meat food was consumed little.

Here are some meat dishes.

Selyanka – sliced deer meat, both filled with water and stewed.

Meat kavardak (a mess) – meat of geese, ducks and loons, cut into pieces and fried in its own fat.

Bone fat from deer shinbones and tendons were considered especially tasty and were consumed raw.

Goose muchilki – peeled goose stomachs, especially slightly rotten ones, were eaten raw and boiled.

Among the drinks are tea and perezhar.

Perezhar (literal translation is "overcook") is an original travel drink, most likely, and invented by the Russian northerners. It was prepared from flour overcooked in fish oil. Perezhar was put in a glass and poured with strong tea, it turned out to be a kind of coffee.

Tea was a universal drink for Northerners. They were unusually partial to him. Everyone tried to stock up on tea first of all. This is understandable to some extent. As you know, brewed tea contains essential oil, which gives the drink a peculiar aroma, tannins that contribute to the accumulation of vitamin C in the body, caffeine, which has an exciting and tonic effect on the body, which is extremely necessary in harsh climatic conditions. "If the means allow, the local Russian will drink tea five, six times a day, and each time with equal enjoyment" [Bulychev, 1856, p. 212]. Bay leaf and cloves were sometimes put in tea.

The "mode" of nutrition was something like this

Breakfast: tea with yucola or with cold boiled fish, flippers.

Lunch: tea, fried fish, fried meat, flippers, telno.

Evening tea at 5 o'clock: stroganina, tea, yukola.

Dinnner at 10 o'clock: fisherman soup (ukha), tea.

On big holidays, they drank tea from the samovar in the morning. Bread or flippers were served. The lunch consisted of three courses: fish pie was served for the first, boiled fish or boiled meat for the second, fish soup or meat broth for the third. At the end, they drank a glass of tea.
Из дикорастущих ягод и растений впрок заготавливали морошку и голубику, а также змеиный корень, который ели с икрой. Грибы не собирали и не ели совсем. Кроме повседневного употребления в пищу, рыбу заготавливали на зиму: хранили в мороженом виде на сараях, потрошили и складывали в погребах в ямы. На зиму заготавливали также рыбий жир. Летом рыбьи внутренности, мелкую рыбу клали в котел и, залив водой, варили длительное время. Ложкой снимали сверху жир и сливали в котелок. Остывший жир – в бочонки. Зимой на рыбьем жире жарили рыбу и оладьи, а также использовали его для освещения.

Несмотря на однообразную пищу, русскоустьинцы, по наблюдениям ученых и путешественников, производили впечатление крепких и здоровых людей, не болели цингой.

«Сии русские, подобно соседям их якутам, не употребляют хлеба, который им, к счастью, не по вкусу. Они едят рыбу, гусей, уток и всякое мясо. Охотно едят протухшее мясо и предпочитают его свежему. При сей пище они бодры и здоровы. Даже венерическая болезнь, к несчастью, здесь также повсеместная, не имеет тех ужасных последствий, которые известны в теплых странах, хотя жители лишены здесь всех врачебных пособий» [Геденштром, 1830, с. 102].

Курили большинство мужчин и женщин. Курили в основном листо­вой табак. Его резали, затем перетирали деревянным пестиком в дол­бленых чашках – ступах. Нюхательный табак хранили в небольших деревянных табакерках, а курительный – в кисетах. Трубки («ганзы») делали из «креня» – корня березы и из мамонтовой кости. Края чубука трубки оправлялись медью или свинцом, у женских трубок к нижней части головки на небольшой цепочке прикреплялась заостренная ме­таллическая пластинка, при помощи которой прочищали трубку.

Иногда в целях экономии табака пользовались разборной трубкой. Она представляла собой конус, состоящий из двух равных половин, внутри конус был пустотелый, к нему прикреплялась головка трубки, и головка и обе половинки конуса скреплялись между собой путем зам­шевой обмотки. Поэтому иногда такую трубку называли «ганзой-за-вертушкой». В случае отсутствия табака обмотку разматывали, трубку разбирали и выскабливали из нее образовавшийся нагар. Этот нагар смешивали с остатками табака и древесной коры – получалось «новое» курево.

Водку пили очень редко и мало, поскольку доставка ее была затруд­нена. Употребляли ее только мужчины, женщины могли лишь пригу­бить при угощении. Никаких других алкогольных напитков не знали и не умели изготавливать.

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