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Learn about peasant cuisine

More insights


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Peasant farm labor

It is divided on the basis of age and sex, and children start pulling their own weight at an early age. The five-year-old peasant son is more apt to be working in the fields than playing in the back yard. The daughter starts learning her mother's unwritten recipes as soon as she is old enough to hold on to the proverbial apron strings. Culinary tradition is thus passed down from generation to generation.

Many authentic versions

Though my recipes are authentic, there are other equally authentic but different versions - as many as there are cooks. I've often sampled a rendition of a specific ethnic specialty in one hut, only to find a markedly different concoction in the dwelling next door. Peasant cooks, by and large, enjoy making a popular dish their own by giving it a unique twist. Only a purist far removed from the farm would insist on a rigid formula. Besides, cooking a recipe the same way twice is not being creative.

Be creative, but ...

There is nothing wrong and much good to say about customizing an authentic peasant recipe to suit your palate and whim. However, bear in mind:


Should your variations alter the spirit of the dish, please for the sake of gastronomy rename the creation, out of consideration to the traditional recipe.

Definition dilution

You dilute the meaning of a traditional name when, for example, you marinate beef for only twenty-four hours, yet call the preparation sauerbraten. Such a short marinating period does not impart the desired sour (sauer) flavor to the meat. Nor does it sufficiently break down the connective tissue to make the cut of beef as tender as it should be.


Be creative, but remember that you will sacrifice quality if you don't adhere to certain basic cooking principles. For instance: You shouldn't rush the cooking process if a recipe calls for gentle simmering as opposed to boiling.

Peasant market art - Ivan Semenovich Kulikov - PD


Famous peasant dishes

Arroz Con Pollo  Spain
Cassoulet  France
Cha Chiang Mein  China
Couscous  Morocco
Houskove Knedliky  Czech Republic
Huevos Rancheros  Mexico
Nasi Goreng  Indonesia
Osso Buco  Italy
Oyako Donburi  Japan
Roghan Josh  India
Tom Yam Kung  Thailand
Vatapa  Brazil
Yalanci Dolma  Turkey

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