Once upon a time Eastern European (Russian, Bulgarian, etc) kitchen used to have two distinct types of soup. Winter (or broth) style and Summer. These have evolved to match the continental climate in Russia and other Eastern European countries.
The winter soup was something to be eaten after you were out in -20C chopping wood or doing other hard manual labour. Its calorie counts are off the scale - one portion may exceed the recommended daily intake for a manual laborer. You can stick a spoon in it and it will stand straight. The best known example of a winter soup is Russian Borsch. It is, however, not the only one - there is a number ofl similar meals - Solyanka, etc. Most of them are prepared for hours and you need a proper kitchen to cook them. They are also fairly labor intensive.
Summer soup was something to be prepared and eaten on the field at mid-day during field work in the summer. People usually think of Russia as somewhere cold and do not realize that temperatures around 30C are the norm in midsummer. You cannot eat something like Borsch in 30C and go out in the field and try to harvest, plough or weed. At best - you will crawl somewhere in the shade to digest the meal. At worst - you will get very sick. Working in 30C required completely different meals - something light, with lots of fluid, easy to digest and most importantly easy to cook. Summer soups were cooked by the side of the field - mostly out of vegetables. Meat was a rarity. Protein came from mushrooms (freshly picked or dried) or fish caught up by the kids in the nearby stream.
Unfortunately, as people moved into cities, the "diet" nature of the summer soup was lost. If you open a Russian or Bulgarian cooking book the recipe always starts with a fry-up and continues until you get something more akeen to a winter one.
I have tried to restore this recipes to their original historic state and remove any gluten from them. They are easy to cook, as expected from something intended to be made in a pot at the side of the field. They are very light and well suited to the caloric intake we really need with our modern sedentary lifestyle.
- 23 Jan 2017