Does/did Eastern European pickling (and/or cooking in general) use vinegar?
Below is a link to an Op-Ed article from the 08/04/11 NY Times in which the writer (a woman who wrote a book about European foodways of 100+ years ago) says that Eastern European cooking or cooks used (a lot of?) vinegar.
Do you know if this is true? This does not sound right to me. Sauerkraut and NY-style pickles are *fermented*, not made with vinegar, and I don't think you could ferment any vegetables if you used vinegar in the process.
Nor can I think of any classic Eastern European dishes that are known for vinegar.
Would appreciate reading anything from anyone who can address this matter knowledgeably.
Here is the link:
As a child of Eastern European immigrants, I'd have to say "yes." My mom used plenty of vinegar, from cucumber salad to marinated meats. As for classic dishes, and Germany may not be "Eastern" enough for you, but sauerbraten is a classic use of vinegar. There was never a meal served at my parents' home that wasn't accompanied by something pickled (or served with mustard). Pickled herring was one of my father's favorites.
And the main market in Budapest is a massive building featuring vendors of all kinds. They have a large number of pickle vendors selling pretty much anything that can be pickled (and it's been around for about a century).