Author’s foreword

Dear readers,

What you have in your hands is a book of traditional folk recipes. The term “Serbian” from the full tide of this book Traditional Serbian food and recipes is a geographic denominator, meaning that this book presents the recipes for which there is reliable evidence that they used to be prepared in late 19th and early 20th century, before the Second World War, at the territory of state of Serbia as defined at that time.

In this book we put in a lot of effort to present both the most popular and the completely forgotten dishes, in order to illuminate the time in the past when industrialization, visual presentation and marketing were not crucial for the culture of food.

This book does not have a goal to set standards and define the “original” traditional recipes vs. the others. According to our humble opinion, there is no such thing. Each of the listed recipes was once invented by someone, starting a continuous history of its development with all the modifications and additions to this very day, and I am sure that it will continue in the future. According to our analyses, there is not a single recipe that never experienced a small modification or addition. There is also no town in Serbia or any home, family and homemaker who will not jealously defend the qualification: “My recipe is the only original one, that thing you are talking about is not the original recipe!”

Our journey through gastronomy of region of Old Serbia is, we are aware, very short and condensed. In the lifetime of each of us there is not enough time or space to describe it all in a proper way. It would be necessary to acknowledge the specificities of each region, each district, each town, each household, each homemaker’s experience, showing due respect and care for history, culture and specific features of each of them.

Research and work on this book lasted for almost a year, and they were finalized with great help of our associates and friends of the project. I will specially acknowledge each of them in the complete list at the end of this book.

For all those who intend to be active in this field in any form, to save a part of tradition from oblivion, at the end I must cite the words of Dr Jovan Erdeljanović from the introduction to the book Serbian folk dishes and beverages.л

“To those who would take upon themselves this task,” (saving dishes and beverages from oblivion author’s remark) “my special recommendation is to look for those traditions in preparing dishes and beverages that are very simple or ancient, so they are either completely lost or maybe remembered only by the oldest persons, or used only by shepherds, manual workers, the poor etc.”

An important remark to all those who wish to test their culinary skills by preparing dishes according to the recipes from this book

– The ingredients were not measured with apothecary precision!

– Тhe ingredients we used may be significantly different in quality, volume and weight from the ingredients at your disposal!

– Try, change, adapt!

Find the ratio and the final taste and quality that fill you with pleasure and happiness!

The goal of this book is to use fragrances and flavors to remind you of tradition, childhood, and hometown, home where you were bom… To find INSPIRATION and to ENJOY! Cheers!

As you start reading, I send you my cordial gratitude for buying this book and supporting a part of our culture to be saved from oblivion!

Miodrag Ilić
Belgrade, October 2017.