I’ve tired to branch out on the ranges of topic I blog about these days. Is that something you guys like? Should I stick to only one type of topic?
As I look down the empty hallway, the light pouring in through the screen in the sky, I can’t help but to see a smiling face in the distance. His eyes are deep and confusing. You can both see what he feels but are clueless to what he desires. Dark hair, thin form, tall stature. Who knew this boy would impact my life so much.
My name is of no significance; it is his that resonates within the dark recesses of my crowded mind. Person A, the name of my first love. I never thought this would happen to me. Freshmen year was the most wild and friendliest of my life. Running around, spinning until I dropped, so on and so forth. The life of a “naïve” girl trying to regain her childhood. I met Person A once before high school. He defended me from a so called friend who had spread horrid rumors about me.
We met once again during the second semester of his sophomore year. He was very secluded and withdrawn from everyone except his best friend, Josh. I remember walking to the bus stop everyday after school and see them laughing and conversing with each other, but as soon as he saw me he’d clam up. To me he seemed very lonely being by himself, so I continuously invited him to sit at the morning table and join me and my other friends. Within the week of him agreeing, I began to hug him. He was very nervous and timid about the closeness we shared in those brief embrace, but never shoved me off. Do not be mistaken, for I had no feeling for him at that time that I do now. I merely thought he felt like an outcast and wanted him to feel welcomed to the nosy group. He eventually warmed up after words and allowed me to do so. On the last day of school, he saved my grandfather’s memorial for me. We snuck into the building together after countless administrative personal kept trying to usher the students out. He led me to my locker so I could retrieve it and gave me comforting words to ease away the tears I had on minutes before.
Over summer, we spent day after day chatting on Yahoo!, GaiaOnline, and MySpace (along with another friend of mine). Needless to say, we fell in love. Over the course of my sophomore year we spent every day in each other’s company. Holding hands, sharing secrets of the past, and supporting one another in our schooling. No need to ask, because Yes! I did love him, too much really. He was a very jealous boy, however, and was never comfortable with me hugging my other friends (especially the boys). In November, he got into a huge argument with my best friend Person F and they both forced me to choose between them. I would hear nothing of the sort. I vowed to never take sides and tried to persuade them that this was not the right answer. Person A respected my opinion; Person F hated it. We were nearly ostracized, an experience I once had in elementary and not a very pleasant feeling, by her from all of our other friends. In February, she confronted me and I agreed to a truce without his consent. He hated her after seeing the way she made me cry on my birthday, and was very displeased with the actions that I took. Honestly, I only wanted peace.
In May, we shared our first break up. I was distraught, literally sick with grief. I was absent for almost a week because of it. He felt as though he had done nothing but upset me during the late of our relationship and tried to save me from more hardships, the fool. After seeing my pain, he made the decision to make up for what he had done. We were back together by the end of the month, with my parents’ disapproval.
That summer, we spent time talking on the phone, chatting on Yahoo! Messenger and “dating” on GaiaOnline. My parents were cruel in their strict policy. With these few rules, we were never allowed to go on an actual date. It would later be an indirect fault of more strife. After our first year anniversary, he was introduced to these two younger girls by a good friend of mine. Person D and Person C the pair that split us. In all fairness, I shouldn’t say anything wrong of Person C, for she didn’t try to wedge us apart. Person A and I were warned, however, by other friends of Person D’s malicious behavior. At first we took it seriously, but as weeks progressed Person A turned a blind eye towards the comments she’s say about and to me. Knowing fully well of my self-loathing attitude, she verbally attacked me with statements of how I was holding him back. Only a few times did I actually try to defend myself, which earned a scorn from my heart’s desire.
Once school started up again, we eventually drifted. He was busy with his new friends and senior duties, while I took on the role of supportive wife in the background. I knew he thought of leaving me for one of the two, so I did the one thing that could prevent him from turning into the being he hated the most: a cheater. I broke us up for his sake, and he turned it around on me. He made me regret it with his shouts of love and hurt. What hurts even more now is the fact that he was planning to do the same. Two weeks after our “fight”, he called me asking for help. He had been caught dating both Person D and Person C by the said girls. I couldn’t help him, I hurt too much.
After a month of separation, he came into my life again in January hoping to rekindle the friendship. It worked for a while, but was strengthen to his advantage after I got into an argument with Person F. He saw me crying after school because of what she said to me. I didn’t tell anyone what had happened, but he guessed it all. He’s my ex, of course he’s going to know what bother’s me. The next day Person A confronts her and is dragged out at the middle of lunch before it gets physical.
After spring break he took advantage of my trust. To summarize those three months, we dated in secrecy. I had fallen so low as to be a secret girlfriend while he dated the other in public. According to him, Person C knew and did not mind, but I find that very unlikely. After his graduation party, we argued about where our friendship stood. Did he even love me at that point, or did I become someone to take his frustrations out on?
I never found out and to this day I try to break all connections with him. He is blocked on almost all of my accounts. I will probably never forgive him for saying he was glad I might never have the chance to have a child. People say that I should forgive him so he won’t have power over me, but in my opinion: How can I forgive someone who won’t say he is sorry?
The moral of my little story is: be careful of who you give your heart, too. Person A was from a good family: his mom a paralegal and his step dad a firefighter. My dad and his step dad graduated together while my mom worked with him. Every teacher whom we had shared told me how good of a boy he was and how lucky I was to have him. He proposed to me three times! There is no excuse for being ignorant. My first love changed into a disaster because of the influence of a middle school girl.
A Russian proverb states “Once a word shoots out of your mouth, it cannot come back.”
Agree or Disagree?
“I can always find someone else…” these were an ending statement to a joke that have echoed throughout my life. I had said them to my mother in false confidence when she kept making banter about our current relationships. Of course I never felt arrogant enough to believe I can just dump a boy if he didn’t agree with everything I said… but at the time I didn’t know we were being overheard in the mall when shopping for prom dresses.
Two months later, these words came back to haunt me as my then love interest asked me if I truly saw his as disposable. Years have passed and when people ask me what I regret about in high school, this echo bounces back through my ears. It didn’t matter that I didn’t mean it, nor that he was ever meant to overhear it. Taken out of context or not, ‘Once a word shoots out of your mouth, it cannot come back.”
Flash Blub memory is the ability to see in vivid detail an event that one experienced. An example of a flash bulb memory that I have is the day my grandfather died. I was fourteen years old and the oldest of his grandchildren. He died after my first day of high school.
In my family’s culture, when a child reaches the age of fifteen, they go through this ceremony, which is considered they’re coming of age party, is known as a Quinceñera (or Quinceñero for boy). Since I was the eldest, it was expected of me to hold this event first out of all the other grandchildren. It was being planned for months and so many things were being prepared from the table decorations to the colors and music style.
On August 15, 2006, I woke up feeling anxious and scared. It was my first day in high school, and I didn’t know if I was going to see all of my friends. With my mom’s permission, I called over my best friend Person F to pick me up so we could go in together. After a quick stop at the nearest gas station for some breakfast tacos and cokes, we were dropped off by her mother in front of the school. Feeling my heart race, we stood near the outside of the gym and kept a look out for those we knew. After picking up our schedules, I was feeling let down to see that I only had three friends in lunch while everyone else was on a different class period.
When everyone was together, we entered the building and searched for everyone’s first class room. To my dismay I was the first dropped off. My classroom was Photo Journalism, and on the board it welcomed both the Journalism and Yearbook students. I started joking with my friends, as we usually do that if they aren’t being nice I was going to keep them out of the yearbook. Then after a remark, I changed my mind and said I was going to put them all over the yearbook.
The class went by well and I met some older friends within it. In my next class I walked by myself to the building next door. After feeling lost, I found it and entered the room, immediately brightening up as I see some other class friends. Before the teacher entered, several older classmen entered looking for another teacher and writing graffiti on the board. It was made clear that my teacher was very strict about her work. After class, I asked if she had any extra credit work, since I knew science wasn’t my best subject and I passed last year because I was able to solve the chemistry equations. Of course she thought it was too soon for me to be asking that, “Besides, I don’t assign extra credit work.”
I can’t remember how the first day went in my AVID, French, and World Geography classes went, but I remember during lunch, it was very crowded. I was with my friends Person B, Person E and Person G, but we were having a hard time finding a table to eat at. Since my friend Person B was extremely timid, I put on a strong front for her and stood up to a lot of upper classmen that day. In my English class I was once again by myself. I knew only a few students in that class, but the teacher was very inviting. She became my favorite teacher that year. In my last class I had Person G again and several others. I was late for that class since it was on the opposite end of the main hallway. I rushed into the room and bowed as I apologized to the teacher, earning a few stunned looks and giggles from some classmates. It was very awkward for the remainder of the class, but I was glad I was able to make a good impression on my teacher and make him laugh. “You’re a big dork.” Person G had said as we walked to the bus area.
I had ridden this bus plenty of times before, so I wasn’t as nerves as I was in the beginning of that day. On the bus, I sat near the front by myself. I’m very quiet and shy when my friends aren’t around normally, so I was used to it. I had noticed that the boy across from me had a drawing on his binder that I liked. I wanted to talk to him, but was very nerves.
When I arrived home, I set to work on organizing the few notes I had on school supplies and the documents that needed to be signed for the teachers. After an hour or so of talking to my friend, Person F, my dad came home early from work. He was quiet and sat down next to me on my bed. I knew something wrong had happened so I hung up the phone and looked at him cautiously. It was then that he explained to me that my grandfather had passed away. He had been in and out of the hospital for months since his first heart attack, so I wasn’t sure if dad was saying the truth or if he was saying another joke. In the days of his funeral I missed the remainder of the week from school and spent that time in the funeral home. Everyone was hysterical except for the children, my mom and I. We knew that he wouldn’t want everyone to be upset at his funeral and would prefer laughter.
In the end the plans for my Quinceñera were scrapped and I had a smaller birthday party with my friends and some family members. Mom said that it was too soon for everyone, but it was still a huge disappointment considering Grandpa was looking forward to it.
A flashbulb memory is very useful to me to be able to remember the memories I have of my grandfather and of how peaceful he looked in his wake. This memory is very vivid to me and as accurate as I can make it.
For most of my life, I have been interested in psychological disorders. Out of the many, the ones that caught my attention the most is Dissociative Identity Disorder and Bipolar disorders. Since the topic said to write about one, I guess it would have to be the one I’ve been thinking about since the first time I heard about it as a child.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.) is when a person has two or more distinct personalities. The main personality will suffer brief gaps in memory and will only learn of events or things they have done or said from someone else. “Note that identity disorders are not the same as schizophrenia.” (pg. 494. Psychology: A Journey. Dennis Coon John O. Mitterer)
D.I.D. has been shown to the public through books, television shows and movies. “One famous and dramatic example of multiple personalities is described in the book Sybil.” (Schreiber, 1973.) In the book it describes the girl going through all kinds of torture as a child and escaping from it by creating another personality. She kept this up until she had 16 other personalities, each with their own voice and background.
Another example of multiple personalities is in the movie Identity. The movie begins with a group of men gathering to hear a plea to reconsider a man’s sentence the night before his execution. The scene changes to people driving down a deserted road and end up in an accident. Over the first couple of chapters, a group of over ten people end up trapped in a motel building with the roads blocked. It is later discovered that they each have last names of states and share the same birthday. One man then learns that they are all nothing but personalities created by the convicted man and that one of them is a bloodthirsty killer who had committed the murders and is killing the other personalities off. I believe it was this movie that sparked my interest in this disorder as a child.
My final example of D.I.D. is within the Japanese cartoon, Sukitsuyo, which is about a high school boy with a slight case of amnesia from falling out a window to one of the buildings. In the first episode his is introduced to a childhood friend, whom he has no memory of. It is reviled that this friend has another personality named Ran, which is in love with him. As the show progresses, the audience learns that the main character also has a dormant split personality called Yoru whom was the lover to Ran. Both kids were kidnapped and experimented on as children. The main character decided to be stronger for the younger one by becoming the determined and strong-willed protector, Yoru. Following his friends example of survival, Ran was born and together they made an attempt to escape with the help of two adults. Unfortunately, Ran had tripped and was left behind, which leads up to the plot of the series and the cause of the main characters accident.
What causes D.I.D.? “A history of childhood trauma, especially sexual abuse, is found in a high percentage of persons whose personality splits into multiple identities.” (McLewin & Muller, 2006; Simeon et al., 2002) Another personality is typically created as a defense in order for the host personality to escape from the reality of their pain. Most of the time the new personality is someone more stronger and able to endure different sorts of abuse. In the book Identical, the main character had recreated her twin sister to both escape the reality of her death and so she would be able to live through the sexual abuse from her father. Her “sister” Reianne, enjoyed the thrills of sex and drugs; Keighla in reality tried to stay being a good girl with high grades and good friends. She learns about her sister not really being there when Reianne is caught by Keighla’s boyfriend doped up on drugs and with another boy. She’s trying to explain to him that she’s “Reianne” and that he’s mistaken the twins again. It is then that he yells that he followed Keighla after school to the house. Other times the personality is someone who is more dependant and trusting than the original, like Ran from Sukitsuyo who was not afraid to admit he needed help, and willing to be free with their emotions then being antisocial and stubborn.
There is no real cure for D.I.D. with a shot or any kind of medication. The only way for a person let go of their other personalities is for them to come to terms with the past and go through the acceptation that they don’t need their “sister”, “defender” or “other me” anymore. “Therapy for dissociative identity disorders may make use of hypnosis, which allows contact with the various personality states. The goal of therapy is integration and fusion of the identities into a single, balanced personality.” (pg. 494. Psychology: A Journey. Dennis Coon John O. Mitterer)
It is good to know that genuine D.I.D. is very rare. “Flamboyant cases like Sybil’s have led some experts to question the existence of multiple personalities.” (Casey, 2001) However, D.I.D. is very real. It is not uncommon for some adolescents to believe that they might have this disorder with the way it is shown to the public, but a vast majority of these cases are of the teens over-thinking things with their imagination at work.
Originally, I was assigned to do my internship at the Cimarron in Mission, TX. On my first day, I was told that the restaurant was closed for the day and to call back tomorrow. On the next day, I was unable to work, because the manager wanted to fix the schedule. The third day was when I got to meet Chef Danny. I was there for thirty minutes meeting some of the workers while the manager was looking over the paperwork. I was excited to be at such an exclusive place, but due to a change in their policy the management was not able to carry on any more interns. After the decision, I was assigned at the last minute to work in the school cafeteria with Elia and Robert. Patrick Woodin, who is in charge, was nice and is trying to keep me on a regular schedule. He gave me a time sheet to keep track of my hours. On the first day of my internship I meet the people who currently work there including: Chef Julio, Cook Anita, Fry Cook Will, Sandwich Prep Cook Olga, Salad Prep Cook Ashel, and the cashiers Angie, George and Maribel.
The first thing I learned while working with Julio was how to properly chop onions, before going straight into making baked rice. There was three parts water to every part rice. The water was flavored with chicken base before being baked. After that was done, frozen vegetables were added to the hot rice and allowed to cook in the steam given off. I also learned how to make loaded and mashed baked potatoes. After the spuds were rinsed and baked, they were drowned with a layer of ranch dressing and coby jack cheese. I made baked potato soup for the first time and had to keep in mind the salt content. Spices should always be added last. I also made small portions of Chicken Cordon Blue which was breaded chicken breast filled with cream cheese spread and black forest ham. It was fried lightly before being baked. When making lunch portions of chicken cordon blue it is very important to keep in mind the amount of filling put inside. I also got to bake chocolate chip, oatmeal and macadamia nut cookies. Using a recipe I made Chicken Guisada by myself and Fideo soup.
When working on Catering orders, it is important to think on presentation as well as giving a variety. Olga and Ashel don’t work on Fridays, so it was Elia who taught me about what she learned to make the sandwiches. I learned how to assemble sandwiches with the correct amount of portioned ingredients. Each one is made exactly alike through weight measurement and tools such a scoops and ladles. Very rare is eyeballing an ingredient allowed. We made tuna salad, chicken salad, turkey breast and black forest ham sandwiches. Each type was divided in half between wheat and white Italian bread. The same thing applies when it comes to making the salads for the lunch line. Ashel told me that every salad is weighted for 6 ounces of lettuce before portions of toppings are added into the carton. Before making the salads, prep work must be complete first. I made Caesar, Chop Salad, Garden Salad, Southwest, Greek, Apple Cranberry and some side salads as well as fruit salad cups.
One Friday, I learned how to deeply clean a fryer with Robert by the fry cook, Will. First the oil was drained out of the fryers one at a time and deposited into the designated outside container unit. It was very nerve wrecking pushing the bucket outside with fear of being burned. After that, Water was poured into the fryer and using a tool, gunk was wedged out and dumped. When Will was showing us this, he overestimated the about of water to pour for the rinse and accidently overflowed the oil. It had to be mopped up three times before we could work on it again. After that the fryer was filled with water again and a chemical solution was added. Will explained that this solution was very corrosive to human skin and that inhalation was very dangerous so we were supposed to be very carful. I have never seen Robert as tense as he was then. With the water boiling and the chemical mixed in we very carefully scrubbed the fryer walls, baskets, holders and grates with wire scrubs and tongs to not touch the solution. In total it took over three hours to clean the fryers and carefully rinse out the chemical. I hope to never have to hold my breath while cleaning again.
The week after that I was told to report to school very early in the morning to learn how to make breakfast for the masses. Having to wake up early to make breakfast was an unforgettable experience. I had to wake up at three AM in order to make it to school on time at four. Once there, Anita said that eggs were to be prepped first. In a total of twenty-two quarts of eggs were used for the breakfast line every day except for Friday. These eggs were blended with an industrial sized blender and mixed with four cups of lemon juice, garlic and salt divided in two containers. The lemon juice was added for its acidity and was used to prevent discoloring of the eggs when they were being served on the breakfast buffet line. Eight quarts were cooked separately as scrambled eggs while six were cooked with partially fried potatoes sticks. Of the eight, a third was mixed with chorizo in a separate hotel pan once they were finished being cooked on the stove. While the eggs were cooking, sausage and bacon were baked in the oven, beans were made in a boiling pot, oatmeal was simmered in warm milk on the stove, and tortillas were flipped on the grill. After everything was ready breakfast tacos were rolled and pancakes were mixed. Anita makes the pancakes by eyeballing milk, eggs and pancake mix and whisking it together. On Fridays, we made Chiliquilles with sliced corn tortillas that were sliced yesterday and baked it with cheese and salsa after lightly pan frying the strips.
For the past month, I have been left solely in charge of the breakfast and lunch buffet line. I had to learn how to correctly serve portions and roll custom tacos during the morning hours. During lunch, I had to time and figure out when to request for a certain item before it ran out. This was a long process, but I think I go the hand of it. Most of the time, it is just me unless someone else decides to come help. I have noticed there are regulars that order the same thing every time. It’s kind of weird. When I am not serving food, I am also left in charge of restocking the drinks when shipments come in. I also have to fill the fountain drinks with four buckets of ice as well as the salad bar and dressings bar with one and a half each. While on the line, I learned how to clean the Panini sandwich press and the steamers. The sandwich pressed had to be scrubbed hard to get the cooked on crude off. A wire brushed was used for this. After that it was rinsed with a moist towel, because the machine was still hot. I also learned how they brew the coffee before the morning breakfast can be served. One whole pack of coffee grounds is added into a filter and left to brew that way. Normally it is measured for the amount of people, but I guess in a store setting it is fine to use so much.
Since I am left in charge of the serving line, there are not many opportunities to cook. When I get a chance to be in the kitchen to fetch something a customer has asked for, it’s for a short time. On a few occasions I have been able to toast some tortillas for customers if Anita is not able to. On a certain day, Will showed me how to make cheese burgers if the line runs out. With this knowledge, I was able to figure out how they made Salisbury steak. First one needs to get the cooked burger patties Anita earlier made out of the warmer and place the amount needed on the grill. Than add some juice from the pan they were being held in to get a sizzle. Burgers are flipped twice while steaks are flipped three times. When making burgers, the buns should be heated on the grill too. After flipping the meat, American cheese is added on top of the patty to melt before being assembled and wrapped into a cheeseburger for the line. For Salisbury steak, the patties are arranged in a half hotel pan and premade brown mushroom gravy is poured on top.
I have spent most of my time this summer learning how to serve food in a cafeteria setting as well as getting items such as ice, salad dressings, chili, nacho cheese, chopped chicken, sliced lemon, tortilla strips and shredded coby jack cheese ready to be served. I have learned to restock drinks and chips as well as portioning syrup and tarter sauce into small cups. When I was allowed to cook, I learned as much as I could. I have been offered a job here by Patrick, but I think I am going to pass on that offer. I don’t mind serving food if I am getting paid for it, but I already do that at the Boys and Girls Club of Zapata County and am able to cook at least at What-A-Burger. All in all, this has been an interesting internship.
According to Merton, there are five typologies in which a person may have a cultural goal and a means to attain them. There are many ways to describe this, but using recent events may be my favorite. In terms of this past election and how people may have voted, a conformist may have gone to the voting booth with no doubts that his vote will determine the outcome. An innovator wants their vote to count, but may feel the process won’t work, so will try to commit some form of fraud. A ritualist has given up hope that their party will win, but still votes because they feel like it is what they are supposed to do. A retreatist believe that their vote won’t matter, as well, and refuses to take part in the election. They will skip voting. Finally a Rebel does not like the current two-party system and will choose to vote for a third party candidate that has different view to the societal beliefs of the current.
In the Industrial Society in which Karl Marx saw developing from the Feudal Society he began to notice two distinct classes that names changed depending on the type of society. The first is the Bourgeoisies whom turned from land owners to those who had the means of production. With these means of production (property) they were able to establish the creation of jobs, wages for those jobs, and type of living allowed to their workers, which he called Proletariat. To Marx you either owned the means of production or were a worker in this two-class system. Any who saw themselves as the other, he would say to have a false class consciousness. Max Weber saw Marx theory and agreed with him but added two determinants stating a person’s class status was determined by their power, property and prestige and usually needed only two.
Opened for nearly fifteen years, MoonBeans began its operation in McAllen, Texas at a simple plaza along 10th street. The coffee shop has a very relaxed atmosphere with different types of tables, chairs and couches for its customers to rest upon. The dim lighting makes it an ideal location for friends to gather and students to work.
In the counter, there is a display case of both lunch or breakfast sandwiches, depending on the time of day, and baked breads such as scones, muffins and loafs. On the menu above, written in chalk, is a list of signature coffee drinks. The names all relate to the theme of outer space such as: Comet Cappuccino, Launch Pad, Milky Way Mocha, White Dwarf, etc. What makes this drink shop special is not only the friendly vibe, but the variety of drinks. In their menu includes an ale and lager selection from specialty brands to staples. There is also a selection of smoothie flavors, non-coffee based drinks and teas for those that enjoy the atmosphere, but do not want the caffeine.
In the past few years, the coffee house had begun expanding across the valley with two new locations. Opening on November 9, 2012 is the Edinburg location settled along Trenton road, in front of the new Bistro Theater. This Edinburg building is the first to include a drive-thru option for those on the hurry. Recently in August of 2014, the chain has opened its doors in Pharr, Texas behind city hall. The city used U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development funding of $114,000 and added $60,000 from city coffers for the project under a revolving loan program that covers rent for the coffee shop until the loan is paid. A dozen jobs were created and MoonBeans invested $60,000 and equipment for the new store.
It all began when Luis Beltran, a fifty-four year old man and native of San Francisco, California, moved to McAllen two decades ago and decided to start the coffee house after an illness in his wife’s family. “My grandmother used to make it on the stove, old school Puerto Rican style,” Luis Beltran said in an interview, as he confessed his love affair with coffee from a young age. “The way she made it was more like candy, with sugar and condensed milk… she got me hooked.” Luis Beltran has traveled coast-to-coast in order to scope out what quality coffee really means. Shade-grown coffee from high-altitudes in Central and South America can yield some of the most complex flavors but MoonBeans offers brews from around the globe. Plans to start using direct trade with farmers around the world are in the works, but they currently offer organic fair trade brews. A seven-foot tall coffee roaster churning out dark beans will be behind a glass wall viewable from the coffeehouse floor when the renovations are complete. “Anybody from here to the expressway will be able to smell it because that’s the way the wind blows,” said Beltran, a master coffee roaster who “cups” his coffee after roasting to ensure quality and consistency. During the cupping process, hot water is mixed with freshly ground beans in a ceramic or glass cup and scooped out with a spoon before tasting. There is no filter required.
The Republic of Belarus is located west of Russia, above Ukraine and below the Baltic nations of Lithuania and Latvia as well as the neighbor to Poland. Agriculturally, they are very well at growing grain, potato, vegetables, sugar beet, flax and their meat and dairy industry is in the high. Currently the people of this nation can be described as kind, friendly and good humored. They can claim their patience comes from a darkened history of endless wars in which they were in the crossfire of and had to participate in.
Settlements can be traced far back in the beginnings of Belarus, but it wasn’t until the 13th century that wars began to divide the people amongst its neighbors. An especially damaging time in their life was during 1569-1795 in which the region was known as Rcecz Pospolita. During these times the citizens were forced to participate in a war with Russia during 1600s followed by the North war in 1700. This led to a weakening that made it easy to loose provinces to other nations such as Russia, Austria and Prussia.
In line with the Russian Empire, the parts of Belarus that were under this influence were intirated to take up Russian culture and traditions. Many conflicts followed suit including: revolt under Tadeusz Kostushko’s leadership, Napoleonic invasion of Russia, Polish revolt, and a great rebellion headed by Kastus Kalinovski. After many more hardships, the nation of Belarus was formed when it’s people declared independence in March 1918.
It wasn’t until the beginning of the New Year in 1919 that the country renamed itself as the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic and fell in line with the USSR during the following years like many other eastern European countries. In the 1930s, famine brought about from soviet economic policy lead to a collective farming known as Kolkhoz which resembled America’s Great Depression in the use of over farming. The nation was bitter about the suffering of its people caused by the Great Purge, but attitudes changed at the start of the Second World War. It was during these times that Belarus became the battlegrounds between the red army and the German Nazi party. The capital of Minsk was turned into a large ghetto known as Tuchinki where many of its native Jews, as well as German and Czech Jews, were executed in masses. By the End of July in 1944 a movement known as Operation Bagration saw the liberation of the Belarusian SSR by the Red Army from German occupation.
Joining the United Nations in 1945, Belarus took part in bringing cultural understanding throughout the world, dispirit being a member of the Soviet Party. Horror occurred when the neighboring Chernobyl suffered a nuclear reactor disaster which lead to the pollution of large areas of Belarusian territories. This made farming harder on the citizens, but they were able to overcome it. By 1991, the official namesake of the country became the Republic of Belarus with the dissolution of the Soviet Union soon to follow months later. It wasn’t until policies were put in place that the country entered a democratic form of government and its first president Alexander Lukashenko whom was inaugurated on June 20, 1994. The day of independence was shortly moved to July 3 in which was the day Belarus was liberated from Nazi invaders during the Great Patriotic War.
After going through so much, it is great to see culture bloom in the country. With wildlife such as elks, deer, wild boar, beavers and wolves to roam about, it is easy to understand how traditions are able to keep up. Belarusian national cuisine has evolved over the centuries. A mix of simple recipes used by commoners and sophisticated cuisine of nobility, extensive use of local ingredients and unusual way of cooking makes up the culinary taste. Old recipes have managed to survive to present day and is a local treat for visitors. Restaurants serve food ranging from “peasant cuisine of the countryside” to “elaborate dishes for Belarusian magnates” to give a full experience to any unsuspecting traveler. Traditional dishes are served at farmsteads that use only fresh farm produce to make the dishes which are often common only for a particular area. Here they bake bread to old recipes and technologies, cook homemade meat delicacies, cheese from cow or goat’s milk, and sweets made of honey, apples and cranberries.
As previously implied, the two main factors that lead to the way food is served today come from both active farming and extensive use of local produce, as well as influences from neighboring countries and migrant settlers. Since the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania the national culinary traditions have been a mix of Baltic, Slavic, Jewish and partly German cuisines. Therefore, the Belarusian cuisine is one of the most diverse in the continent. It is similar to the Russian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Polish, Jewish, but is unique in its own way, is hearty and delicious. In the old days, each social class had its own gastronomic traditions. Therefore the Belarusian cuisine was divided into peasants and high nobility cuisines.
There are special features that distinguish the Belarusian cuisine from culinary traditions of many other countries. For example, the Belarusian cuisine is characterized by quite complicated and lengthy processing of products. It includes such methods as braising, stewing, baking, cooking, blanching and roasting, with several of them being used in some recipes. Many national dishes require various kinds of flour made of oats, buckwheat, peas, rye and their mixtures. The Belarusian cuisine offers a great variety of dishes made from vegetables. Many of them are unique despite the fact that they are based on traditional Slavonic recipes. The pride of the national cuisine is traditional Belarusian bread baked with the use of rye flour. Instead of yeast Belarusians used a special leaven. Belarusian bread is heavier and is a bit sour. In old recipes different additives were used like caraway seeds, linseeds and sunflower seeds. Bread was sometimes baked on the ‘pillow’ made from birch and oak leaves.
Today’s restaurants offer modern intake on traditional Belarusian dishes which reflect original ideas of chefs and principles of Grande cuisine, which takes into account the diversity of products and seasonal changes. The main changes that the Belarusian cuisine underwent in the 20th century were that wheat flour and dishes from it became very popular and that salads became quite common.