Have you ever considered that the diet of a nation can simultaneously develop and adapt according to the daily social-political events of the country? This photo-story depicts the meals that were popularised in Georgia during the 1990s. The social and economic situation largely impacted people’s meals; the lack of electricity and gas, shortage of products and other external causes, forced numerous recipes of meals to be modified.
Starting from the day Georgia announced its independence, events in the country - revolutions, wars, and poverty - had a significant impact on every aspect of people’s lives. Limited electricity forced upon people the need for meals that would require less cooking time. The shortage of products, while waiting for humanitarian aid, was also a large factor. Moreover, the labour migration of women to foreign countries also contributed to diet adaptation: Men, who were left at home, had to come up with meals, which required fewer ingredients and cooking time. Some recipes therefore changed over time.
Cake “Sigua”, Korean fried cucumber (my father’s recipe), Gogli-mogli, Lazy woman’s Khachapuri - are among a short list of meals disappeared with the memories of the “sweet ‘90s”. See the recipes and start cooking, before “Kassandra” begins:
“Kassandra” was a popular Venezuelan telenovela. Every housewive watched and wholeheartedly waited for the new episodes of this soap opera.
2 “dried out” home-baked breads
2 eggs (preferably chicken eggs)
1 tablespoon of butter
1 pack of spring onions
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop spring onions and fry in butter. Add water and chopped coriander. When it starts to boil, add mixed egg and salt. Pour the boiling liquid over the bread pieces, which are in a separate bowl.
Note: Chop the onion and coriander before you start cooking, because the electricity/gas can be out at any moment and you’ll be left without dinner.
2. Korean fried cucumber
1 kg of fresh cucumber
1 pack of spring onions
250 gr. of rice
Soy sauce (if you belong to a rich family)
Cook the rice so that it doesn’t lose its structure. Wash the cucumber, peel away yellow parts and cut in thick slices. You can save the tender part and use it in another meal. Cut cucumber peels very thinly and stew them in the pan. When cucumber slices become tender, add finely chopped spring onions and cook together. Let it cool and mix with cooked rice, add soy sauce, salt and red pepper to taste.
Note: This is a side dish, which you can eat with meat or fish. However meat was as expensive in ‘90s as enriched uranium.
3. Lazy Woman’s Khachapuri (cottage cheese pancakes)
400 gr. of cottage cheese
3 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
Oil (from humanitarian aid)
Mix the cottage cheese and flour, add eggs and some baking soda. Heat the pan and fry little oval pancakes in the oil. Sour cream is a good addition, if it’s available.
Note: It’s impossible to identify the origin of the name of this meal. One of the versions is that this meal is cooked very quickly, in contrast to proper khachapuri, which requires a lot of time for the pastry.
Small amount of butter
Scramble an egg in a cup and slowly add sugar to it. When your hand is tired, you can ask for some help. You can add some butter and cocoa powder in the process, of course, if you have some. You can spread the Gogli-mogli on a slice of bread and enjoy.
Note: This recipe was not invented in ‘90s, but it was very popular back then, due to the fact that is requires few ingredients.
5. Khachapuri with salted water.
Tsatkhi (salty water - brine for storing cheese)
Wet dried bread in the salty brine and fry it in the pan or in an oven.
Note: There was no cheese, so if you used brine, it would give the bread a slight taste of cheese. One could bite into it and imagine that one was actually eating the luxury of cheese.
6. Cake “Sigua” (Recipe by Diana Anpimiadi)
1 cup of flour
Half a cup of sugar
Grate apples and add sugar and flour. Pour in a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Bake in the pan or in an oven.
Note: This was a brilliant option for a cake: it could be made with the fewest ingredients that you could find. It didn’t require any butter or eggs. The cake got it’s name as a joke from Georgian politician, Tengiz Sigua, who was the Prime Minister of the country in 1992-1993 years, to mock the bad economical state and shortage of products during his governance.