Ukrainian Food

Okay, I know I keep writing about the food here but a lot of home life revolves around it. My host mom makes me breakfast, and I often help her fix dinner in the evenings after class. Here are some descriptions of recent eating occasions: big Sunday lunch w/ my host family, birthday celebration for Andy, and cluster cooking day. Pictures below, too!
 
I experienced my first Ukrainian “Sunday Dinner” last weekend. Not sure if it’s tradition or was just for the special occasion (Teachers’ Day, the first Sunday in October) but friends of Anya and Serhiy came over and we proceeded to eat, toast with vodka/wine/juice, and socialize for four hours (2-6pm)! I think I consumed 2-3 meals’ worth of food over those four hours: fried fish (риба); more delicious beet/carrot/potato/onion/pickle salad; fresh farmers’ cheese (сир; SO good!); an excellent egg salad-type dish; boiled and buttered potatoes; varenyky (вареники) filled with cherries or cheese; homemade tomato juice (сік, or сок in Russian); homemade peach-cherry juice (компот); watermelon (кавун); chocolates (шоколад)… It was fun to meet more Ukrainians and show them some photos of my life and family. They all agreed that I look a lot like my dad! This is true. Taught them some new words in English (watermelon!) and learned some new Ukrainian words.
 
My cluster had our “cooking day” – mandatory for each cluster to do during PST – this Friday. We decided on an “American” dish and a Ukrainian dish, with Andy’s Spanish rice thrown in for flavor (and flavorful it was!). The “American” dish vote was for pizza, so we used Kate’s host mom’s incredible pizza dough to create deep-dish style pizzas – for lack of a baking sheet that fit in Natalya’s oven – with cheese (сир), sausage/pepperoni (ковбаса), peppers (перець), onions (цебуля), and parsley (петрушка). Natalya made Ukrainian пампушки (“pampooshky”), which are like fried dough with chocolate inside. YUM. We declared cooking day a success and decided to try and do one fun thing a week for cluster bonding!
 
Peace,
T.
“Sunday dinner” at my host family’s house — salad, varenyky, tomatoes, fish, egg salad stuff, compote, tomato juice…
Birthday food! Cream puffs, caviar/tomato on bread, cookies, apples, grapes…
Cluster cooking day: our recipe for pizza, in Ukrainian!
Cluster on cooking day — yum!
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