The love of food and trying something new

Growing up I mostly ate Ukrainian food. Delicious foods made by seasoned bakers & cooks. Yummy foods like cabbage rolls, perogies, cheese rolls, borscht, deep-fried donuts, baked breads and desserts. Just thinking of these foods is making my mouth water!

No we didn’t eat these foods every day, most of the foods were for a specific holiday or season. Borscht was usually something we’d have when there was fresh produce from the garden. Cheese rolls were only eaten at Easter. Deep fried donuts were for Christmas. Perogies and cabbage rolls were something we’d have on hand all year round. If we didn’t have time to prepare a meal, perogies and cabbage rolls were always quick to heat and eat.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried other nationalities foods. Mostly ordering these foods in restaurants. I’ve also tried different foods at fairs and festivals. It’s an interesting experience trying a different cultures food. Realizing how foods are seasoned and prepared gives me a deeper appreciation for the dishes created. Yes I appreciate the food made for me and try to pass on my appreciation to the people who have taken the time to make it. I think we all have felt unappreciated as we spend hours on a special meal only to have the food eaten so quickly we’re not sure it was even tasted. Or the only noise heard while eating is slurps and burps. After the meal has been eaten there is also the robotic “thanks” because it’s always the polite thing to do – thanking someone for the meal.

My husband is Icelandic and I’ve tried some of his cultures traditional foods, dried fish, rullupylsa, vinarterta and rye bread. When I was growing up my mom would make vinarterta, not a Ukrainian dessert at all. I think she found a new recipe one year and decided to try it. It turned out good and she made it every year after that. Our very first Christmas together, Dean (my husband) and I tried to make vinarterta. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of that disaster, I mean dessert. lol Actually it tasted very good, the only problem was the layered cake. The layers are supposed to be thin, with a prune filling. Our cake layers were about 1 cm thick. Dean’s family named our vinarterta cake – Mile High Icelandic Pie. The reason they called it pie was because saying mile high Icelandic cake didn’t sound as good as mile high Icelandic pie! Such a funny family! It wasn’t bad for our first try at making it.

When Dean and I got married, we had a combination of Ukrainian and Icelandic traditional foods. We had traditional kolach (braided Ukrainian bread), vinarterta and Kransakaka (Icelandic ring-shaped tiered tower cake) as our wedding cake. Such delicious tasting foods!

Dean’s sister, Tanis is married to Herman, an Indigenous man. They have been together for over 24 years. Dean has told me over the years she’s made many traditional foods of First Nations People. I’ve had her moose stew, deer meatballs and bannock. All of the food is good but the bannock was what I liked the most. Every time we’d have a family get together, she’d bring some bannock.

Last week Tanis posted a bannock recipe on Facebook. I decided to try to make it. This recipe was for deep-fried bannock. Lately we’ve been eating healthy and one cheat of deep fried bannock wasn’t going to hurt us. I decided to only make half a recipe. Pretty straight forward; mix the dry ingredients together, mix the wet ingredients together, combine it all to make a dough. Roll the dough out, cut into squares and deep fry. That bannock tasted so Good! I was very proud of my achievement. Dean and his mom tried it and said it tasted good. I was worried I might have messed something up and it wouldn’t taste very good but it turned out ok. Of course I sent Tanis pictures of my accomplishment. Jokingly I told Dean “now that I can make bannock, I won’t have to rely on Tanis to make it for our family meals anymore”. She’s been making it and bringing it for years, I don’t think she’s going to stop any time soon. I do appreciate the time and effort she takes to make it for us. Especially after making it myself and realizing how time consuming the process really is.

Not sure what new recipe I’ll be trying next, but the idea of stepping out of our norm and cooking different foods is something we’re ready to embrace. Our food journey is going to be more than what we’re accustomed to, and we’re ready for it!

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