The controversial hero is Yevgen Klopodenko, a 33-year-old Ukrainian chef, who is famous for rediscovering Ukrainian cuisine. He did not expect himself to become the center of the “red vegetable soup dispute”.
Ukraine applies for heritage to red cabbage soup
Yevgen Klopokenko graduated from a Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School and currently runs a famous restaurant in downtown Kiev. One day in October, he brought a pot of five-liter red cabbage soup and a thick file to the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, asking officials to apply to UNESCO for listing red cabbage soup as Ukraine’s intangible cultural heritage.
The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine agreed to Klopojanko’s request. This made Russia very angry. The Russian government soon posted on its Twitter account, calling red cabbage soup “one of Russia’s most famous and popular dishes, and a symbol of traditional cuisine”.
Klopodenko said that he wanted the Ukrainian government to apply for red cabbage soup as an intangible cultural heritage because he was angry that restaurants around the world, including the “so-called Ukrainian cuisine” specialty restaurants, called red cabbage soup Russian soup. In his and many Ukrainians’ eyes, red cabbage soup is a well-deserved Ukrainian dish. In order to prove his claim, he submitted a research document collected from 26 regions of Ukraine to the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine.
These documents prove that the red cabbage soup originated in Ukraine rather than Russia. Klopodenko’s statement, supported by Ukrainian ethnologist and historian Olyona Sherban, said that “red cabbage soup is the second food I have eaten after breast milk” and that it is “ridiculous” to associate red cabbage soup with Russia.
The Russian Embassy in the United States said, “Red vegetable soup is the national food of many countries, including Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Moldova and Lithuania.” The famous Russian comedian Andrei Bocharov tweeted that the red cabbage soup is of course Russian, but Ukrainian netizens left a message: “The red cabbage soup is Ukrainian, and cabbage soup is Russian.”
Identity and geopolitical disputes
In fact, there has been a dispute between the two countries about whether the red cabbage soup originated in Ukraine or Russia. Back in May 2019, an official Twitter account in Russia posted a video saying: “Eternal classics! Red Cabbage Soup is one of the most famous and highly acclaimed Russian dishes.”
This time, Ukraine and Russia are quarreling around the origin of red cabbage soup, which is actually a dispute between Ukrainian identity and geopolitical.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has been promoting “de-Russianization”. For example, the vigorous promotion of Ukrainian as the official language, street facilities, public buildings, advertisements, slogans have also removed the traces of Russian and replaced it with Ukrainian. During the Easter event in Kiev, the reporter met a teenage girl who spoke Russian with her.
She looked blank. People around her told reporters that “She can only speak Ukrainian”. Another typical example is former Prime Minister Tymoshenko of Ukraine. She could not speak Ukrainian and only spoke Russian, but in order to win over voters, she suddenly learned Ukrainian and spoke only in Ukrainian in public.
After the conflict between Ukraine and Russia over the Crimea issue, the de-Russification process of Ukraine has further accelerated. Against this background, Ukrainians attach more importance to their national identity and their own culture, customs, traditions, etc.
However, in fact, the country has been closely related to Russia for most of its history. Ukraine and Russia have intersected for hundreds of years in history. Culture, customs and other aspects have long been integrated like meat and potatoes in red cabbage soup. It may be difficult to distinguish clearly. It can be imagined that such disputes will continue to emerge in the future.
There are 70 ways to make red cabbage soup.
Ingredients for the broth include the ingredients for the broth including the cabbage head, beef, potatoes, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, green persimmon peppers, garlic, sour cream. The main method is to first chop the above-mentioned vegetables.
After the oil in the wok is hot, add garlic, onion, red cabbage head, etc. in turn and stir-fry. After stir-fry until fragrant, add ketchup, and then put it into the beef soup pot that has been cooked for 3 hours to continue to cook. After 20 minutes, add the cabbage and cook for a few minutes.
Remove from the pan and add sour cream. When drinking soup, it’s better to go with rye bread. This bowl of dishes with thick soup, chunks of beef and bread is the most soothing in winter. Therefore, red vegetable soup has won the hearts and minds of the people and has become a national dish.
Ukrainians often say that there are two secrets to making a pot of red cabbage soup: first, you can’t make it hungry; second, you should be in a good mood, otherwise it won’t taste good. At present, there are about 70 ways to make red cabbage soup.
Hongcai soup is called borscht in China. Borscht is Russia, which originated from the early Shanghai foreign English. Russian red cabbage soup is sour, but Shanghai people are sweet, so it is gradually improved into sour and sweet, smooth borscht soup.