The term “folk nutrition” stands for foods and drinks made and consumed by peasants and small artisans in rural environment and by workers in urban environment until the mid-20th century. Since the end of World War II we understand folk nutrition as a phenomenon with common features without differentiating the environment.

In the past, the nature of folk nutrition was crucially influenced by the acquisition of raw materials, their range and availability, as well as the possibility to store them. Rural residents were dependent on what was grown in the fields (cereals, root crops, legumes, vegetables, fruits) and bred in the farm (pork and mutton, poultry, milk, eggs etc.). Small city artisans and even labourers´ families in cities bought the raw materials necessary for the preparation of dishes at fairs; and later even in specialized shops.

Another important factor that influenced the diet was the way in which dishes were prepared. In this area, significant is the development of different types of fireplaces, the use of wood and coal cooking stoves, the kinds and number of kitchen utensils, and the preservation and storage of foods.

What was eaten was also influenced by family traditions, regional customs, societal traditions, new raw materials (e.g. potatoes, coffee, spices etc.), confessional restrictions (fastenings etc.), and emergency situation in food supply (rationing system etc.).

In period sources, memoirs, chronicles, historical sources, and published records collected by amateur ethnographers, it is possible to find the composition of workday and festive diet from the end of the 18th century. From the beginning of the 20th century, records on the preparation of dishes for festive occasions can be used as secondary sources. These records were written by non-professional cooks who were invited to families to prepare dishes; in the mid-19th century, first printed cookbooks were published as well.  Important are public and private collections of three-dimensional artefacts (utensils, dishes, furniture).

Until the early 1940s, we can speak about the traditional form of folk diet; the year 1945 brought essential changes. Special attention must be paid to the structure of nutrition in the years of crisis (war rationing system, food substitutes in the case of food shortage). Alongside the liquidation of private ownership of land in the countryside, changed system of field cultivation, cattle breeding (working in shifts, firm working hours) and structure of employment (leaving for cities), distinctions in the lifestyle between rural and urban residents were blurred gradually. These changes, which we can observe since the mid-20th century, were also reflected in the nutrition and the way of food preparation. Several changes were also caused by modernisation in storage and preservation of foods (freezing, canning), kitchen equipment, by introduction of school canteens, etc.

Currently, we can see two trends: on the one hand, it is the acceptance of all impulses for the hitherto unknown or not-established ways of catering (fast foods, barbecues, sale of frozen ready-to-eat dishes, home delivery, international cuisine), used mainly for nutrition on workdays. On the other hand, it is the tradition accepted by almost every family at annual feasts (Christmas, Carnival, and Easter), family celebrations (baptism, wedding, burial, confirmation) and other holidays (kermesse, pilgrimages). We also can notice the interest in the recipes for the preparation of traditional dishes as a basis of healthy diet, and in the tasting of less known raw materials and dishes made from them (buckwheat, millet, sheep cottage cheese, green herbs).

The present-day cuisine and diet begin to move away from the traditional one very fast; family habits, favourite dishes associated with certain occasions, and the composition of courses are respected rather on extraordinary occasions, whereby the preparation of dishes plays a certain role there; the procedures of preparation are safeguarded by cooks and confectioners, who are invited to prepare the festive diet and who safeguard a well-established practice, which is close to the tradition.

4.1 National cuisine

Preparation of dishes, nutrition habits typical for certain communities, but not for national minorities that have settled in the Czech Republic in the last decades.

4.1.1 Regional specialty

A term, an occasion, on which the dishes typical for a defined region are prepared

4.1.2 Eating habits

Eating habits typical for a defined region; when and in which ways the dishes are served; seating chart at the table; who serves the dishes; in which way these are eaten etc.

4.2 Basic raw materials for the preparation of dishes

Basic raw materials used for the preparation of common and traditional dishes in households; the list of those dishes, the way in which raw materials are acquired, and the ways of the basic use.

4.2.1 Flour and cereals

4.2.2 Sugar

4.2.3 Milk, eggs

4.2.4 Root crops and legumes

4.2.5 Vegetables

4.2.6 Meat and meat products

Pig slaughter, venison, fish, poultry etc.

4.2.7 Fruits

4.2.8 Forest berries

Picking, drying, canning, pickling etc..

4.2.9 Natural stimulants, spices, salt, yeast, coffee, coffee substitutes

4.3 Food storage

The description how common households store foodstuffs and raw materials; the monitoring of transformation and development in those possibilities.

4.3.1 Rooms intended for food storage

House chambers, an independent chamber, cellars, wine cellars, attics, larders.

4.3.2 Furniture intended for food storage

Chiselled-out and straw chests, cupboards, storage containers, racks for loaves of bread, storage containers for eggs; refrigerators, freezers etc. Their place in the households.

4.3.3 Vessels intended for food storage

Vessels, in which foods were and are stored before being processed or consumed. (Ceramic vessels – e.g. for cream or lard, wood vessels – e.g. cages for sugar loaves, containers made of wicker, straw, metal sheet, cats iron, plastic etc

4.4 Long-term preservation of foods

The ways of long-term food storage and preservation.

4.4.1 Food drying

Herbs, fruits, mushrooms, meat etc.

4.4.2 Smoking

4.4.3 Boiling

Damson cheese, jams, ketchups etc.

4.5.4 Canning

Fruits, meat…

4.5.5 Pickling

Vegetables, fruits, meat pickled in salt etc.

4.6.6 Cooling

Haltýř – small buildings built over a brook to store foodstuffs, wells, the use of ice, cellars, refrigerators.

4.7.7 Freezing

4.7.8 Salting

4.5 Preparation of foodstuffs to be consumed

A description and the list of the ways to prepare dishes before they are served; the ways of their use (workday diet, festive meals, starters, main courses).

4.5.1 Foodstuffs which are not processed thermally

Spreads, custard, cheese, salads, muesli etc.

4.5.2 Food preparation on open fire

Fireplace, grill, lava stones

4.5.3 Food preparation on cooker or stove

Solid fuel, electricity, and gas cookers. Which way do the households prefer if they can choose one. Advantages of particular types of cookers as to subjective opinions of the housewives and those who eat the dish (for example: potato pancakes made on the range…)

4.5.4 Roasting and baking

Baking in solid fuel, electricity, and gas oven, remoska, etc. Which way do the households prefer if they can choose one. Advantages of particular types of cookers and cooking stoves as to subjective opinions of the housewives and those who eat the dish (for example: roasted pork or baked cakes made in the solid fuel can be more tasteful …)

4.6 Hygienic principles

To record traditional and present-day procedures. The situation in cities and that in the countryside may differ.

4.6.1 Hygienic principles for food storage

To which extent are the foods currently stored in higher quantities? The situation in cities and that in towns may differ; the differences may be noticeable depending on the habitation of those asked (family houses, block of flats). To record recommendations, such as to wash or not to wash foods before storage, why?

4.6.2 Hygienic principles for preparation of dishes

To record the level of transformation in last years.

4.6.3 Hygienic principles for consumption of dishes

4.7 Workday foods and dishes 

To record the present-day situation and to monitor changes as compared with the traditional model: which dishes are made at home on workdays, and in which form (lunch, dinner – cooked, cold). Which role does the family members´ occupation play in the type of family nutrition? Do they eat in canteens? Who from the family makes the dishes? Does the nutrition on Saturdays and Sundays differ? Do they perceive Saturdays and Sundays as festive or as common days? Does the season of the year play a role in the preparation of dishes?

4.7.1 Eating habits

At home, at work, in canteens etc. For example: does the family gather for meal, for what meal and why? Do the family members eat individually, why? The sequence of dishes, e.g. is the soup a matter of course, or is it not made?

4.7.2 Sorts of dishes made on workdays

To distinguish between cold and cooked dishes, half-finished dishes etc.

4.8 Dishes on festive days

Dishes made on traditional calendar holidays, family celebrations, and Sundays. Dishes made for birthday celebrations; celebrations by work groups; sports groups, gathering of friends, etc.

4.8.1 Eating habits

Family members eat together, invitation of friends and wider family members.

4.8.2 Kinds of dishes made on festive days and on the occasion of festive events

The dishes are made at home, some of them are ordered in restaurants, etc.

4.9 Bread and bakery products

Bread, bakery products and pastries made at home, not the purchased ones

4.9.1 Bread

Its position in folk nutrition, sorts and preparations – home-made, bakeries. Do people bake bread at home, at weekend houses – why? How do they perceive bread today? Does the family show a certain honour to the bread?

4.9.2 Workday bakery products and pastry

Only purchased? Which kinds of bakery products and pastry are baked on workdays at home and why?

4.9.3 Bakery products and pastry on festive days

Sundays, family and calendar holidays. The frequency of baking (every Sunday, on each birthday etc.), sorts, who bakes, according to which recipes (cookbooks, recipes from friends, family recipe, recipes known from TV etc.). Baking for own family, friends, relatives, for order?

4.9.4 Ceremonial pastries

E.g. wedding “wreaths” and cakes, baked wreaths for mothers in childbed, pastries baked on St. Nicholas Day …. if a kind of pastry is baked today, and why? Where did the female amateur bakers learn to bake? Do they bake only for own family, friends, relatives, for order…?

4.10 Drinks

Occasions to consume drinks, resources, vessels, containers, and transport; the way to acquire and prepare them.

4.10.1 Water

Own wells, supply of water from a near spring (healing spring, high-quality drinking water, etc.)

4.10.2 Milk and drinks made of milk

Buttermilk, cream, kephir, cocktails, cacao, white coffee. Popularity in families, ways of preparation. For example to record the “novelties” – the use of Tibetan mushroom in milk etc.

4.10.3 Drinks made of fruit (without fermentation)

Juices and lemonades. Ways of preparation, consumption, reason for this type of preparation.

4.10.4 Wine (made of grapes, made of fruits)

Own production, sorts

4.10.5 Beer

Made at home

4.10.6 Spirits

Made at home.

4.10.7 Special drinks

E.g. “water” from sauerkraut, pickles etc.

4.10.8 Herbal teas

Raw materials from own resources, purchased raw materials – occasions to drink the teas (permanently, in the case of healthy problems – sorts of teas for particular problems etc.).

4.11 Sweets

Sweets made at home for children and adults. Fried peas called pučálka, fried almonds, fried nuts, boiled and fried chestnuts, fried oat flakes, bonbons, chocolate etc.

4.12. Dining

Customs applied when a family dines on different occasions

4.12.1 Place

At home, at work, on workdays, on holiday. Do they dine in the kitchen, dining room, living room, another place?

4.12.2 Furniture

Table, bench, chairs, tables and chairs for children. To distinguish between workdays and holidays.

4.12.3 Vessels and tableware

For dining at home – on holidays and workdays (does the used tableware differ), at work, at school, on journeys.

4.12.4 Spoon, knife, fork, and cutlery

Own knives and forks: does a family use special knives and forks, for example to eat fish, steaks, deserts etc.

4.12.5 Tablecloths, plate mats, napkins

Are there differences between workdays and holidays etc. Is a family used to using tablecloths – from which materials, what kind of tablecloth, and where do the family get them (it buys, makes them etc.)

4.12.6 Habits and customs when dining

Seating charts and habits when dining: family habits, habits applied with mass dining, customs on workdays and holidays etc.

4.12.7 Dining at field works and exceptional work occasions – construction of a house, common works

Catering of the own family, cooking and getting meals for hired workers, etc.

4.13 Customs in relation to folk nutrition  

4.12.1 Customs and superstitions related to the preparation of dishes

E.g. why certain dishes are made and eaten on certain days: e.g. fastening, legumes and fish on Christmas Eve.

4.12.2 Customs and superstitions related to the preparation of bread and pastries

For example bread and other yeast bakery products and pastry (cakes, Easter cakes etc.). To distinguish between the active and the passive knowledge

4.12.3 Customs and superstitions related to the consummation of dishes

E.g. why legumes are to be eaten at Christmas, “green” and egg dishes at Easter etc. Again to distinguish between the active and the passive knowledge.

4.12.4 Customs and superstitions related to the consummation of pastry

Yeast bakery products and pastry, the importance pastry associated with annual customs … Active and passive knowledge

4.14. Provisions, food market

To record the ways of provision deliveries to a certain family: do they buy everything (where – supermarkets, fairs, private suppliers), do they grow some amounts of food, or do they get them from relatives, etc.

4.14.1 Provisions – small shops, stores and fairs

What is dominating, how often do they go shopping, who from the family decides about the shopping, and who does the shopping..

4.14.2 Fairs, specialized shops

Searching for fairs, participation in specialized fairs (with vegetables, fruits, wine etc.)

4.15. Instructions, cookbooks

To capture the way of getting information on food preparation, etc. Where and how do the family members learn to make dishes? What kind of nutrition and type of dish preparation is dominating (in terms of composition – traditional foods, semi-processed foodstuffs, and type – “common” nutrition, vegetarian and vegan nutrition. How does the family accept novelties (exotic dishes, exotic raw foodstuffs, new ways in dish preparation, etc.?). To capture the instructions and cookbooks that are really used in the family.

4.15.1 Professional and amateur cooks

(also for pastries and confectioneries for common and exceptional occasions). Printed recipes and copied-down recipes from friends, recipes from TV programmes

4.15.2 Instructions for the preparation of traditional dishes

Printed recipes and copied-down recipes from friends, recipes from TV programmes

4.15.3 Experience exchange within a family, among friends

4.15.4 Cooking at weekend houses and the type of cooking that follows the traditions

Dishes and pastries made exclusively at the weekend house and why?

4.16. Handicrafts associated with foodstuffs

To capture the occurrence of handicraft associated with foodstuffs in the past and currently (bakers, millers, growers of corn, potatoes, fruits, and wine, confectioners, etc.

4.16.1 In the countryside

4.16.2 In cities and small towns

4.16.3 In labour colonies