Hey, lads, is anybody hungry here? You are welcome to have some delicious minutes with me. But be aware there is no “taste” button here, you are unlikely to be able to taste anything. Don’t even think!
Fellows, I would like to steal your precious couple of minutes and introduce you some of our Ukrainian traditional food dishes. I promise not to talk too much or too long (although you know me, I hardly can keep this rule), but share with you something interesting about our typical cuisine!
Today in our menu is Vareniki (don’t look at me like that!), sweet Friends, I know that is a very odd word, which has no translation, don’t be in a hurry to your dictionary shelf, you won’t find this word anywhere, since this is a pure transliteration (a very professional term) of the Ukrainian so-called dumplings. Let’s get closer.
In Ukraine, it is said that no vareniki, no holiday! And the truth is it’s hard to imagine a Ukrainian who has never tried these wonderful stuffed dumplings. They were prepared by our grandmothers and are now one of the most beloved and popular dishes in the Ukrainian cuisine. A little history – vareniki are not only a tasty dish but they have a special meaning in Ukrainian culture. They are given to young people on the second day of their wedding (Ukrainian weddings last for 2 days) as a symbol of prosperity for the new family. And when new babies are born again friends and family hand vareniki to young mothers with the words – so that your belly is always full. It’s no wonder why we have so many fatty Ukrainians, they cannot imagine their life without vareniki. Stuffing can be different, typically meat, mushrooms, potatoes and cottage cheese. Almost anything you want. In the picture they are with cheese. Enjoy your meal (but there are only five vareniki and ask for more is not allowed)!
And how about potatoes friend with onion? Huh! Personally I do not like friend onion, most probably I will take my magical shovel and start the digging. I may be lucky to find a lot of things, which I will put into somebody’s else plate. How smart! Changing the subject, Ukrainians (including me) do like eating potatoes, they adore potatoes and even can eat potatoes with potatoes. We are crazy about it. And you? Yeah, it’s not so healthy. As far as I know potatoes are about 80% of water, in fact, it is even good for our body, as we should drink more. That’s why I don’t see any serious reason not to eat it. I will, you cannot persuade me. Good news for fans of mash: humans can apparently survive on a diet of just potatoes, and milk or butter, which contain Vitamin A and D, the only vitamins missing from the humble spud. Getting back to history I remember that there is some argue about who and when brought potatoes to Europe. The most interesting is that many Europeans did not know what potatoes are, they were using its flower as decoration for their outfits. Can you believe? They were not so smart to check that under flower, somewhere deep, there is a vegetable that is eatable! Ancient folks! Do you like potatoes?
Now it is salad’s turn. What do you think about salads? I do like them, especially fresh vegetable salads. It is a winter period here, and you almost cannot find fresh (not artificial) vegetables in our shops. If you are lucky, then they will cost a fortune. Many of us have to survive with some tins. Do you prepare tins for winter? No, lazy bones! I suppose Olivier salad should be known for you, but might not for all of you. I have some contradictory feelings towards it. This salad was very popular 25 years ago in USSR times (and I hate this time), but its taste is quite interesting. Olivier salad was discovered in 1860s by a Frenchman Lucien Olivier. He was the co-owner of one of the biggest Russian restaurants. As I heard he kept the receipt in secret and took it to his grave. Anyway, one of smart chef-cooks was able to find some information and create its approximate receipt. n different modern recipes, it is usually made with diced boiled potatoes, carrots, dill pickles, green peas, eggs, celeriac, onions, diced boiled chicken (or sometimes ham or bologna sausage), tart apples, with salt, pepper, and mustard added to enhance flavor, dressed with mayonnaise. Again not so healthy, I agree.
At last, I found a good healthy salad for you. Guess, which one? Exactly, exotic salad with sea products. You will fall in love with it. It has a nice spicy taste. It contains different sea products and ginger. Taste is gorgeous, it’s finger-licking good! And the price is awfully uninviting. As soon as I bought it I quickly took the label with price off and threw it out not to cause a kind of heart attack. Unfortunately, in my country sea products are pretty high, Ukrainians almost forget the taste of usual calamaris. So, friends, if you have some extra sea products, don’t forget to share with us, we will appreciate it so much!
Sushi, sushi, you can easily attract my tongue, and usually it’s difficult. Who wants sushi? I should tell in advance that in Ukraine we don’t have original sushi, I mean which should be made of raw fish. The only raw fish is salmon or trout. All other specific type of sea products and so on, are commonly fried or boiled. A typical Ukrainian won’t dare to put into his/her mouth anything which is moving yet. Believe me, it’s impossible. For many of us such exotic cuisine is still very strange. Though Ukrainians did get used to our own sushi and enjoy them with pleasure. Surely, it’s not cheap type food, but on special occasions we can let themselves!
It’s all for today, but we will come back to Ukrainian cuisine and taste preferences. Our national cuisine is very rich in natural ingredients. Ukrainians do like food and prefer cooking at home. They are capricious and demanding. I hardly call them gourmets, but they do enjoy table party traditions. And you didn’t hear yet anything about our vodka…hm, be patient!
See you next time!
Yours Chef-Cook Ann