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Old 05-15-2010, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Bradenton, Florida
27,237 posts, read 27,195,922 times
Reputation: 10607

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I almost didn't want to make a new thread about this, but I can't find anything closely related, so...

Yesterday, my employer hosted a cultural diversity potluck. They asked employees to bring in a dish that reflected their heritage. Bring in the dish, and the recipe for the dish--because they were going to get a little cookbook published at company expense.

My mother's side of the family is Ukrainian, and I made varenyky. I wrote up a little essay on it, found out what the word was in Cyrillic, wrote that on there also. Said it was culinary cousin to the empanada, potstickers, pierogis, pelmeni (thanks to JustJulia for mentioning that, I found out that they are indeed similar when I was doing my research), and something else, I think I said the knish.

I included a little history of the Ukraine--VERY brief, and mentioned that they were the "breadbasket" of the old Soviet Union. Just a little page for a bit of education with one's meal, so one would know what they were eating, and where it comes from. They basically told me they didn't need that. And while they didn't toss it out in front of me, it wasn't there when I came and collected my dish--empty--last night. I must have made three to four dozen of these things--they're like ravioli, but filled with sauerkraut or mashed potatoes instead of meat--in fact, I learned that the word meant "boiled thing".

This annoyed me, because they said it was supposed to be about celebrating one's heritage, about sharing one's heritage, and I DID that--and they dismissed it.

I mean, in the long run, no, it's not REALLY a big deal--but I did find it annoying enough that I won't contribute the next time they ask for volunteers. Luckily for me, they were easy enough to make. Seven ingredients in total, including the two fillings
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Old 05-15-2010, 07:13 AM
 
Location: On the East Coast
45,228 posts, read 6,326,180 times
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How rude of them to not include your essay with the dish! So many ignorant people in this world who irritate the heck out of me when they don't take into consideration other people's work and feelings!
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Old 05-15-2010, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in Cass County MI
13,062 posts, read 1,473,433 times
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So they told you they didn't need the heritage facts on the origin of the dish? And...they tossed out the dish and the facts? confused
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Old 05-15-2010, 07:31 AM
 
Location: Kirkwood, DE and beautiful SXM!
10,100 posts, read 11,431,367 times
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Since this potluck was about cultural diversity, it is disconcerting that they showed no interest in the history of your recipe and I agree that it was rude. However, if you enjoyed the potluck, continue to contribute. I woujld think that many of your co-workers would have been interested since they participated. I know that I find that type of information interesting. I doubt that they tossed it. If they are like my co-workers, everything was eaten and enjoyed. Just to be sure, I would ask someone who's opinion you valued. Really sorry that that happened to you. I am curious as others probably are: can you share the recipe and the full history?
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Old 05-15-2010, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Bradenton, Florida
27,237 posts, read 27,195,922 times
Reputation: 10607
Quote:
Originally Posted by tulips4you2 View Post
So they told you they didn't need the heritage facts on the origin of the dish? And...they tossed out the dish and the facts? confused
Oh, I think they ate the food! Just told me they didn't need the fact sheet, just the recipe itself.

I put in a bit of work to make that up. Some stuff I already knew, but other stuff I had to look up. Like, I knew that the Ukraine was known for Cossack warriors, but I didn't know just when it first fell under Russian rule. I learned something about my own heritage, in fact! And I didn't know--still don't really--the Russian alphabet, and how the word looks. It looks something like this (close as I get get in the English alphabet) BaPe`NHN...except the N's are reversed.
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Old 05-15-2010, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Where Trolls get BBQ'd
131,621 posts, read 43,994,058 times
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I'd say it was blatantly rude in the least. Totally uncalled for behavior.
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Old 05-15-2010, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Bradenton, Florida
27,237 posts, read 27,195,922 times
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The recipe I found for it:

3 cups of flour
5 ounces sour cream
4 tablespoons of butter, softened
1 large egg
some water (this was NOT included in the list of ingredients at all! but mentioned in the preparation step!)

You need the water to make sure you have enough moisture to make it a dough, but not TOO moist, or it will be sticky, and sticky is bad.

You blend the ingredients together to form a dough. Roll it into a rope and cut it into pieces. But here I cheated--I rolled it out and used a biscuit cutter to make three inch circles, which I rolled out a little bigger and thinner. 4 to 5 inches. The recipe would have had you flatten these pieces BY HAND, and they would have turned out kinda irregular. I know this because the first time I made these I followed the recipe exactly. Some I made real big, and some I made too small--but I finally figured out the optimum size.

They were stuffed with mashed potatoes--I used instant, though the recipe would have you use REAL potatoes--or sauerkraut and onion, about half an onion diced. Sautee both sauerkraut and onion before using as filling, sauerkraut will be browned. I used one 14 to 16 oz can (not exactly sure, but about that size) to half an onion, then had to move on to the potatoes. I bought cheese to add to the potatoes, but forgot it.

Now you take these and dump them, a few at a time, into a pot of boiling water. They float up when they're done. They can be set aside, and served warm or cold, with butter and/or sour cream. The recipe mentioned frying these, but mom never did that.

I mentioned above their culinary cousins. They are called varenyky but we called them pedehey, which means "piece of heaven" I'm pretty sure. At the top of the page, I wrote both the transliteration "varenyky" and the Cyrillic spelling of the word--which I did NOT know and had to look up.

I just gave a very brief history of the Ukraine--only from its inclusion into the Russian Empire in the late 18th century, its brief stab at independence after the Russian Revolution (Bolshevik vs. Menshevik, you might have heard of that), and its time in the USSR until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

I said it was known primarily for Cossack warriors and winter wheat--it was the breadbasket of Russia. I didn't mention, but could have, that it's one of the warmest parts of the USSR. Odessa, on the Black Sea, is considered a warm-weather port. Some of Russia's other ports iced over pretty bad in the winters.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Kirkwood, DE and beautiful SXM!
10,100 posts, read 11,431,367 times
Reputation: 25074
I had no idea that Odessa was considered a warm-weather port. Thanks for the recipe and some of the history. Your co-workers missed out.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Inman Park (Atlanta, GA)
19,910 posts, read 8,208,474 times
Reputation: 10692
I agree - they were rude

I however, enjoyed reading your story and learning something new today
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Looking East and hoping!
28,227 posts, read 13,795,844 times
Reputation: 2000000652
Crude and rude of them for sure. We're proud of you.
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