New Cookbook about Evenki Food Culture is About to be Released

October 20, 2016 • Alena GerasimovaProjects

Nadezhda Gerasimova – the author of the cookbook

Iengra is an Evenki village at the south of Sakha Republic Yakutia. The name of the village in Evenki language means “branchy antlers”(the same name of the river that the village is situated by and the shape of the Iengra river reminds reindeer antlers). Iengra is mostly inhabited by Evenki people, the representatives from the ancient Evenki clans – Nyurmagan, Buta, Bellet, Longorki, Keptuke and others. Traditional livelihood of Evenki people in Iengra is reindeer herding, hunting and fishing.

Nadezhda Gerasimova is Evenki from reindeer herding family in Iengra, she is an author of the culinary book about traditional food culture of Evenki people. According to the author, the main purpose of the book is to preserve Evenki traditional knowledge on food, history and culture of Evenki people from Southern Yakutia.  

“Traditional cuisine is also an important component of the culture of Evenki who were able to use natural resources very carefully. Evenki food culture relies upon traditional way of life, environment, seasons, months, and directly depends on the economic activity. For many centuries Evenki used reindeer meat and fish in winter, reindeer milk, berries and mushrooms in summer. And the way to cook was simple” – says Nadezhda.

The idea to write the book appeared long time ago.  For more than seven years Nadezhda has been collecting materials for the book, which contains personal memories of taiga life, recipes from the author and people from Iengra village. The book is intended for a wide readership. It will be of interest to anyone interested in national traditions, the secrets of cooking and the livelihood of Evenki people.

The book is planned to be finished by the end of 2016, and will be released in two languages (Russian and English). It also has photos of dishes, taiga environment and Evenki reindeer herding. Beautiful photos were shot by the well-known photographer in Yakutia – Yuri Kokovin.

Association of World Reindeer Herders and International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry invited Nadezhda Gerasimova to present her project in November 2016 during the Arctic Council EALLU seminar about meat production and use of traditional knowledge. The book that has a working title “Traditional Cuisine of Evenki People from Iengra and Southern Yakutia” is supported by the Arctic Council EALLU project about food culture and traditional knowledge.

Photos of Yuri Kokovin.