Maybe it’s not the most fashionable dish in the world, but, for all Ukrainians, their mama’s cabbage is always a treat.
It’s part of our heritage. To western palettes, cabbage may seem bland, but Ukrainians have the culinary chemistry to transform this humble vegetable into a feast for the senses, and a comfort food that is hard to beat.
When I began writing about our family histories, I was conscious they were overloaded with tragedy and despair, and I made strenuous efforts to present those stories so that readers could see passion and defiance beneath the gloom. Ukrainians take pride in their roots. Sometimes, to observers, this may seem like nationalism that can take an ugly shape.
It bugs me big time when people associate Ukrainians with fascism. Although there are dark periods in Ukrainian history, where fascism showed its face, it’s a lazy stereotype to make that association, without considering what else there is to know about Ukraine.
But what’s all that got to do with cabbage? Okay, it may seem like I’ve gone off at a bit of a tangent. But, another stereotype about Ukrainians is that they all like to eat cabbage – and that observation is usually made in a mocking tone.
We don’t care. The cabbage is very good.