Since the Russian invasion of the country on February 24, all eyes have been on Ukraine. From the United States to Japan and even Australia, no one indifferent to the war. Many of us are anxiously thinking about the possibility of a World War III, wondering what the impact of this conflict on the world as we know it will be. How big is the threat of an atomic disaster? What’s the best way to stay safe? While around 1,5 million Ukrainian refugees are seeking help elsewhere, some of us are trying to be of help in any way we can. Donating food or money, housing a Ukrainian family, raising awareness… There are a lot of ways to help and a lot of ways to honor Ukraine.
One of them, without a doubt, is putting the Ukrainian culture in the spotlight. Because even though Putin and his army are on the march on Ukrainian land, there’s one thing they won’t be able to destroy, even with the most powerful weapons in the world: the Ukrainian identity. And while this is, of course, a very relative thing, prone to generalization, it’s something we should embrace nevertheless. So whether you’re cooking for yourself, your family or the Ukrainian refugees you’re housing, these three Ukrainian cookbooks might come in handy.
1. Summer Kitchens: Recipes and Reminiscences from Every Corner of Ukraine
Like many a cookbook, Summer Kitchens is much more than just a gathering of recipes. Author Olia Hercules was born in the South of Ukraine in 1984, yet life led her abroad. After living in Cyprus for a while, she moved to London where – starting from 2008 – she trained at the Leiths School of Food and Wine. After working at different restaurants, including one of Ottolenghi’s, she decided to become a culinary author. Her most recent book, Summer Kitchens, takes you on a journey through Ukraine, with an emphasis on the so-called Summer kitchens throughout the country: small structures alongside the main house where people cook and preserve Summer fruits and vegetables for the Winter months. With more than 100 recipes, breathtaking images and a very personal narrative, Olia lets you discover the Ukrainian cuisine from a different perspective.
2. The best of Ukrainian cuisine – expanded edition
Are you looking for a compendium of the Ukrainian cuisine in some sorts? The best of Ukrainian cuisine holds more than 200 Ukrainian recipes, ranging from well-known classics to some better-hidden dishes only a select group of cooks know about. Thanks to a very long list of menu items, you’ll also be able to train your language skills as the ingredients are listed both in English and Ukrainian. A classic cookbook from start to finish, one you could easily find in your grandma’s kitchen cabinet and a must-have for anyone who’s interested in putting a Ukrainian feast on the table.
3. The Veselka Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Landmark Restaurant in New York’s East Village
More and more restaurants are publishing their own cookbook and so did Veselka. New Yorkers might be familiar with this Ukrainian coffee shop in the East Village, beautifully named after the Ukrainian word for ‘rainbow’. What once started as a newsstand selling soup and sandwiches has grown into a twenty-four-hour restaurant serving only the best the Ukrainian cuisine has to offer. Whether you are looking for the perfect breakfast pancakes, a hearty soup to warm yourself at noon or a true Christmas menu, The Veselka Cookbook will show you what to serve and how to proceed. Owner Tom Birchard also shares some juicy stories about famous clients of the restaurant, which will be perfect to fill in any blanks at the dinner table.