Moderation is a great thing, they say, and it is extraordinarily great during Christmas and New Year celebrations. Still, sometimes one just fails to remember that, and when one fails miserably, they have to face a hangover.
In this sad the-day-after-New-Year scenario don’t despair — the age-old traditions of the Belarusian cuisine will be your rescue.
1. Jellied meat
Hangover type: What Have I Done?
You feel like you have risen from the dead, and swear that you will never allow yourself such excesses again. We all know the value of such promises, so let’s move to something that will help you feel like a fully functional living being again. It is jellied meat.
Read also: Handy tips for New Year 2019 night in Minsk
Yes, it doesn’t sound or look fancy, but neither do you. Besides, jellied meat works wonders for Belarusians “the day after”. Give it a try — in the end, what have you got to lose now? If things look really bad, you can combine jelly with something even less glamorous — pickle juice, just a glass.
You can lament later about how low you have fallen in your own eyes.
2. Zur, or zurek soup
Hangover type: Whoops, I’m still wasted
The snag of this hangover type is that you are not immediately aware of your condition, so look out for this signpost — you are weirdly mad for chats. Sleep it off immediately and help yourself with some zur.
This is the oldest recipe of the Belarusian hot sour soup. It has a less well-known native Belarusian name — кісяліца (“kisyalitsa”).
Zur is made from soured flour and seasoned with toasted lard and onions and served with a baked or boiled potato. The name of the soup suggests a hint of its flavor. It comes from the word “cranes”, which means “cranberry”, as well as from the old German “saur-“, meaning “sour”.
Sounds good? You bet, and this hot mouth-watering brew will sober you up in no time.
Hangover type: I feel great… Nope, hasty assumption
You wake up and sorta feel OK. Then 3 pm tinkles out, and here they are — heavy headedness, fatigue and a pang of hunger for stodgy food.
A fat and rich verashchaka is your choice, and you are fresh enough to utter the word at the restaurant.
Basically, verashchaka is a rich meat-and-onion sauce, but it is always served with a certain side dish — homemade sausage and pancakes. This combined with cold kvass will put you back on track in 20 minutes.
The dish was named after the chef who worked at the court of King August III, a monarch who ruled Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania in XVIII century. Verashchaka came up with a special way of serving sausages: they were cut in a plate, shifted with pieces of bacon and poured with sauce.
We can only assume that the king was a bit of a reveler.
4. Kulaga (hasty fruit pudding)
Hangover type: Cozy Coma
At the very moment you rub your eyes you realize that this day will be wholly devoted to a comfy bed. A headache is somewhere at 3 out of 10, but you will do nothing but Netflix and chill. That brings us to kulaga.
This Belarusian “jam” is made from fresh berries (blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, viburnum or raspberry). The berries are boiled and then mixed with honey and wheat flour, and then boiled again to the thickness of jelly.
Eat kulaga with pancakes or toasts to chase your hungover melancholy away for good.
5. Draniki and Sour Cream
Hangover type: Shaken but Unhurt
You wake up, slowly making through the morning with caution — a little thirsty, a headache is almost non-existent, but nothing too serious that would prevent you from seeing the light of the New Year’s day.
Congratulations, you made it almost unscathed. A good reason to sample some hot draniki.
You thought we would leave this cornerstone of Belarusian cuisine out of this list? Fat chance (pun intended)!
At this stage, you are strong enough to appreciate the taste of an authentic dranik with sour cream and chicken gravy or mushrooms and fully recover.
Text by Anton Ananich.