Traditional Recipes and Old Remedies

Contemporary man returns to grandparents' recipes: traditional gastronomy is part of the much-promoted concept of organic food; thus, more traditional fairs are being organised in Sibiu, rural brunches enjoy great success among tourists and townspeople, while culinary blogs are developed from old family recipes notebooks.

In this context, traditional dishes - some of them very well known, such as noodle soup, semolina “hencleș” or spread beans, others less known outside Sibiu - e.g. goose on the plate, “floștoroage” and dipping sauce with lardon stripes and omelette crests - arouse more interest both for the recipe and for the story providing details about the cultural context in which these dishes were once prepared. For example, barley porridge, a food specific to the village Rod, was served at weddings and funerals; bean pottage with pork hock was always prepared for the wheat harvest, in Retiş; Brodenlawend is the vegetable and meat soup that Landlers ate on festive occasions.

Simultaneously, from the food specific to the fasting period, to the one cooked for holidays, gastronomy accompanied events in people`s lives. Thus it became the basis of the traditional gastronomic culture, promoting the songs performed when serving chicken soup or cabbage meat rolls during the wedding feast, the Easter bread and wine, sometimes containing cheese, the festive dinner of sons and fathers, organised by the lads on Christmas, the ritual meal served by the bride and groom a week after the wedding and so on.

Contemporary man also returns to his grandparents' cures. This is proven by the large number of organic shops and by the fact that mothers and grandmothers, living in villages or towns, utter specific incantations for their children. The sap drops which drip from grapevine shoots which are cut in spring was used (and still is) for eye cleaning; that eyesore is cured by dripping vine sap in the eyes or bandaging them in a cloth soaked in this sap. In the Romanian traditional medicine the grapevine sap is also called “living water” and it is considered an antiseptic and antioxidant agent. Incantations relieve headaches, and the onion and potato kept in pocket help people in case of rheumatic pains.

Beyond these well-known medicines, village communities remember the initiated people who knew secret prescriptions for old time cures. In Boian, for instance, healers used to diagnose jaundice with cuts on the forehead: “One would make a cut in the forehead skin with a knife and drop some blood in a glass of wine. If the wine turned yellow, that person had jaundice”.

Certain dishes were also used to alleviate various ailments: the cumin soup was offered to those who had stomach pains; whey was used in case of frostbites; cheese and rice were consumed in case of digestive problems, and cabbage juice alleviated the problems of those suffering from lung disease.