© 2020 by Diana Guralev Art

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Opekachka

December 26, 2018

 

Now, I know that barbecue is as super-popular as ever. I mean - who doesn't love the grill! But when I was little, we did things a bit differently. An open fire in a suitable corner of the garden under apple trees... and we didn't grill beef, of course. It was mostly pork sausages, shpekachky and bacon. We used thin branches of trees, I wouldn't be able to tell you what they are called, but I can identify them on the spot when I see them in our forests. The men would usually sharpen the tips so that we could easily put the sausages on and then it was all about holding the stick right above the flames so that the meat wouldn't burn right away, and waiting impatiently while the fat was dripping on the logs hissing and an amazing fragrance was penetrating our nose drills, the smoke and the smell spreading around into other gardens, notifying the neighbors that we did our share of work for the day and now were sitting together as a family, enjoying the spoils of our labor :-). There was almost always something that needed to be done around the house and on the fields throughout the year. While sometimes the opekachka was something we were treated to as a reward, it was mostly after working in the field that we started the fire and prepared the meal together. It was the best when it was not only the immediate family, but also my grandma's sister or cousin and their husbands. When big work needed to be done, there was always someone joining in without being asked, and appreciating their help by feeding them felt very festive to me. They would ALWAYS say no, of course, but the second round of inviting and encouraging them to dig in would usually be successful. I later realized it's the Rusyn way - to say no when the table is ready not to appear uneducated. So don't think it rude when your Rusyn relatives say no to being treated to good food at a social event. They will have something for sure, just not right away.

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