Victory Day is celebrated in Russia on May 9. On that day in 1945 Nazi Germany announced its capitulation to the Soviet Union in the Great Patritic War (a part of World War II). Even though the event took place 67 years ago, it is sill celebrated as a great national holiday commemorating more than 20 million lives that were given to protect the freedom and hapiness of the future generations of Russian people.
There are few families in Russia, at least one member of which hadn’t been killed in the war, whether it be a soldier, a guerilla group member, a concentration camp prisoner or just a civilian in a bombed-out town. All Russian people stood in the war as one for their motherland. Even though very few war soldiers are still living, they gather every year on May 9 in Red Square in Moscow to take part in the annual parade. Later generations know about the war not only from the stories of war witnesses but from the large number of books, movies, and theatrical plays depicting that heroic time. Victory Day is the right time for the new generation to learn about the war and be grateful for the peace and freedom gifted by their great grandparents.
There is a Russian saying: “War is war but lunch is scheduled” and it is true. Field kitchens played a very important role in the war to keep the soldiers healthy and their spirits up. The favorite soldiers’ meal was kasha. Making this dish may seem trivial but, in fact, it is an art to make kasha as delicious as it was made in the war field kitchens. Here is one of the recipes: Soak pearl barley in cold water at a ratio of 1:5. Add salt to taste and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, turn the flame down and simmer for about 40 minutes until the water almost evaporates. Add canned beef/pork stew, sprinkle with pepper and simmer for another 5 minutes. Turn the flame off and keep the pot closed for 30 minutes before serving.
You may choose to use another recipe for soldiers’ kasha. Boil a chicken until the meat easily separates from the bones. Remove the chicken from the boullion, discard the bones and return the meat back into the pot. Add rinsed millet, potato cubes and fried onion. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the millet is almost ready. Stir in a few eggs, add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for a few more minutes. Serve the kasha with fresh vegetables and greens. You may try one of these recipes for your Victory Day lunch with your family. Say thanks to the fallen and appreciate the simple and tasty soldiers’ food.