Friday, November 4, 2011
Welcome to Potluck!
"Welcome to Potluck" said the chalkboard and we were thrilled to see that students had all brought food from home to share with us. EkoArt, our partner in Donetsk, works with young people, so they decided to have the conversation at a lyceum with high school and college students. We met in the French language classroom, where their enthusiastic teacher, Nikolai Routchka, had read our blog, had it projected on the board, and had even brought us a jar of preserved sea buckthorn after seeing my request for information and identification after spotting the berries in a market.
We began the evening with girls in traditional costume bearing the traditional Ukrainian welcome of bread and salt; a lovely reminder of an ancient, still important tradition. We asked students to share the details of each dish they had made--and impressively, each one did it in English, most with an accompanying PowerPoint presentation. Here's just a bit of what we ate (and thanks to Valya Sakhnenko and others for the descriptions!)
The salad is called "herring under fur coat" or short "fur coat" ("shuba" in Russian). It includes herring, pickled onions, potatoes, carrots, beets. Clean and cut the herring into small pieces. After that put chopped fresh or pickled onion. Vegetables cooked, rubbed on a grater and put by layers. You can add the grated apples and eggs. All layers except herring, covered with mayonnaise.
Daria's pickles, "This is my pepper in tomato sauce, which was pickled by my mother. In Ukraine we call this dish "lecho"."
Verguny--a fried dough.
Mlyntsi, (depending on where you're from, blini or crepes) filled with homemade cherry jam.
Homemade compote, above, and below, holubtsi, stuffed cabbage rolls.
Below, still warm plov, brought in right as we started by a student's father. Plov is traditionally made by men, and she had made it with her dad, who was Kazakh, and had, as I recall, learned to make it from Uzbek friends while living in Moscow. Ukraine is a diverse place, with many different cultures, and of course, it can be seen in the food.
We ended the evening with group photos and headed out, with bags full of sea buckthorn, cake, grapes from the teacher's arbor, bread, and more, to sustain us on our next train trip. The rain continued, but the warmth of the evening carried us home.