Traditions and innovations in nutrition of the Sysolsky Komi in the first half of the 20th century 

Chudova T.I.



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Based on the analysis of original field materials, a characteristic of traditions and innovations in the subsistence system of Sysolsky Komi living in the southern regions of the Komi Republic has been provided. By the beginning of the 20th c., the most successful model of the integrated economy was formed among the Sysolsky Komi of the southern regions, which, along with agriculture and animal husbandry, retained hunting and fishing. Natural and climatic conditions did not always allow a good harvest of grain crops, and their shortage was compensated through trading operations, while hunting and fishing activities provided the opportunity to purchase grain. The basis of nutrition was cereals, from which bakery products, porridges, soups and drinks were prepared. Dishes of meat, dairy and fishing/hunting products were not served often, which was associated with the practice of observing Christian fasts, the number of which exceeded 200 days within a year. The forest products provided the overall diversity to the diet and in particular nutrition with a vitamin complex. The technology of cooking was predetermined by the presence of an oven which can bake, boil, stew and deep fry, while frying as a cooking method would be difficult to perform. The formed grain-meat-dairy model of nutrition with the inclusion of hunting/fishing products and wild plants is close to the cuisine of the Priluzsky Komi in terms of the composition of raw products and dishes, which can be explained by the territorial proximity of their habitats. However, a unique phenomenon of the Sysolsky Komi is the preservation of the practice of baking ritual Christmas cookies. Socioeconomic transformations in the country in subsequent years brought innovations to the food culture. The main role in the food provision of a family with was played, as before, by subsidiary farming; crop yields and livestock productivity were significantly higher than in the collective farm-state system. The increase of areas for potato cultivation and the reduction of areas for crop cultivation led to the replacement of grains by potatoes. Hunting and fishing products was significantly reduced in the diet. Innovative practices included the method of salting shredded cabbage, as well as the practice of cooking freshwater fish with potatoes in milk sour cream sauce, and brewing purchased dry-salted cod. The nutrition model during the Great Patriotic War can be defined as potato and vegetable with the inclusion of wild plants, and natural resources made it possible to keep the minimal level of food consumption during this period. In fact, produce from the forest allowed a minimum level of product consumption, while innovations in food traditions became means for overcoming crisis periods in food supply.

Keywords: Sysolsky Komi, first half of the 20th century, food raw materials, cuisine, food model.



Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 27.02.2023

Article is published: 15.06.2023


Chudova T.I., Syktyvkar state university, Oktyabrsky prospect, 55, Syktyvkar, 167001, Russian Federation, E-mail:,