Monday, 12 November 2012

The Most Loved Ukrainian Cookbook!

Cooking is soul work, at least in a Ukrainian home.  You can always order in pizza, or get a bucket of chicken, but traditional Ukrainian foods are a trip down nostalgia lane.  Making pyrohy, kolach (braided circle bread), holubtsi (cabbage rolls), no matter whether you are using instant ingredients, or a stand mixer, still require tender loving care, lots of handiwork and an admiring audience.

So, for the best known and perhaps the best loved Ukrainian cookbook I reach for my Savella Stechishin cookbook.  Traditional Ukrainian Cookery by Savella Stechishin was published by Trident Press in Winnipeg, Canada in 1984. (ISBN 0 919490-36-0) So, I have the Fourteenth Edition!

Interestingly enough, the book was initiated by the Ukrainian Women's Association of Canada as a national organization project, and first published in 1957.  But it was the product of much love and dedication, and took a long while from conception to publication.

The way I heard it, Savella Stechishin was among the first Ukrainian women to attend University in Saskatchewan, earning a Bachelor in Home Economics.  She was also an early leader in the Ukrainian Women's Association of Canada, and felt the importance of sharing modern cooking techniques to the rural Ukrainian women on the prairies.  Safe methods, sanitation, canning, preserves, entertaining, and displaying foods for bake sales or banquets - these were her lecture and presentation topics.  In turn, these women shared their fabulous recipes, lovingly passed down from generation to generation.  So the cookbook, is the product of endless hours of fieldwork among the UWAC of the day.  And with the publication of this book, community organizations could sell their wares and fund the building of many community halls, gathering places, and churches.

Truly a person with a vision, Savella Stechishin can be honored for being the first, most popular Ukrainian Cookbook writer in North America.  Since then, Ukrainian food has come out of the farm kitchen and into the supermarkets everywhere in North America.

Have you ever found another cookbook like it?  Which are your favorite recipe books?  Where can you get the most authentic recipes? I am hopeful you have some gem in your cookbook collection to recommend!

ps  I just checked Amazon and perhaps you might be amazed to know a book in new condition costs $516 and a used one for $116.  So, take care of yours - it is a collectors item!! I know my mom's is already in shreds!.
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