Food Culture and Tradition

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Foods Commonly Used in Albania

The foods that are commonly used in Albania

The staples of the Albanian diet include: corn; seasonal fruits, such as olives, lemons, figs, and oranges; and ewe’s and goat’s milk from which cheeses and kos are made. Albanians live simply. Only special occasions or social status differentiate the quantity or variety of food that is consumed daily. In some areas, water for drinking is so scarce that dishes are washed in goat’s milk in order to conserve the precious water.

Because draft animals are valued for their power and by-products, they have, for many thousands of years, been considered too valuable to be used merely for food. As a result, the Albanian diet is mainly vegetarian except for the occasions or social status that permit the use of lamb, pigs (in Catholic areas), and some-times chickens. Unfortunately, a lack of scientific chicken breeding has resulted in small and sporadic egg production, so that eggs have never formed an important part of the Albanian diet. The main source of protein in the mountain areas is cheese, while fish predominates along coastal areas and in cities. Everywhere, kos and cheese are much preferred over the use of fluid milk.

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