If to try to describe what borsch is to make it clear for anyone irrespective of the country of origin, it can be said that borsch is heavy-bodied vegetable soup. Ukrainians have been cooking this soup for more than three hundres years. Even though there are dozens of borsch variations, the beet-root is an irreplacable ingredient of any recepe.
It is not enough to say that borsch is a traditional Ukrainian dish. This dish is archetypical. Cooking borsch for many people is a special ritual. The consistent meditative process of cooking it, cooker`s involvement in this ritual, and ingrediates combination reveal a lot about the bearer of this culinary tradition.
The place of borsch in the battlefield may seem questionable to many. Since the beginning of war in the east of Ukraine in 2014, volonteer movements had been created by Ukrainian women. These women were cooking dry borsch and sending it right to the front since they had natural desire to feed their men. This way, under the influence of new life conditions of the society, traditional dish went through transformations. It is impossible to count how many kilos of dry borsch were sent to the front within the last 4 years.
Borsch is also cooked on the frontline by men.
Traditionally, kitchen has always been woman`s domain. On the frontline of eastern Ukraine, there are also many women nowadays. But they do not cook. They fight. So, borsch is cooked in the field by men, and it is very delicious. Among Ukrainian soldiers there is a guy, nicknamed Santa, whose borsch is well-known for its extremely cool taste.
All these changes in cooking tradition can not but reflect the spirit of our times when gender roles cease to exist.
A man is cooking borsch in the video created by the artist Zinaida. This video is her means to share the above mentioned obvervations and also to reveal the enegry the dish radiates, which remains the part of our culture in this constantly changing world, and even during war time.
*More than 50 volunteer organizations in Ukraine officially cooked and sent dry borsch to the Anti-Terrorist Operation Zone. Within 2014-2016 they delivered above six hundred thousands packets of dry borsch, which was more than 7 million liters of borsch for the sodiers.