On Your Mark, Get Set: Connecting with Food Traditions
By Allison Goodings
London, UK – I have been in denial about the coming cooler season for a few weeks now. Sandals remained my primary footwear in late September and even into early and mid October – the UK had 30C weather for the first weekend of October, warmer than most of our weekends in July and August had been. Indeed it seemed like summer was never going to end.
And then, quite drastically, it did. The sandals have been put away, short sleeved shirts have been replaced by cozy sweaters and scarves, an extra quilt has been thrown on the bed – and all just in the past week. It’s time to think about cozy and warming things as we begin to gear up for the seasons ahead.
The posts of the past few weeks have highlighted ingredients I associate with cooler weather, but also ingredients that make me think of family and roots. Having lived in London for over five years, I find it interesting to consider how food traditions and recipes migrate to new countries along with the people that take them there. My mother’s family background is Ukrainian, and there are so many recipes that I cook today that I know must have traveled with my great-great grandparents when they moved from Ukraine to Canada over a hundred years ago. It is amazing to think that I in turn, have brought these recipes with me to the United Kingdom, incorporating them into meals for myself and my husband.
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Potatoes, onions, cheese, butter and bacon were all featured in Sarah’s Pumpkin Quiche recipe from last week’s Relay, and it was those ingredients that inspired me to make a hearty Ukrainian meal of perohy, or as many know them, perogies. These dumplings have a soft doughy exterior and are filled with a delicious center of potatoes mashed with cheese. Boiled quickly in water and served simply with sautéed onions, bacon and sour cream, they are true peasant food and simply delicious. There are many commercial varieties available in the frozen sections of supermarkets in Canada and the US, but in London we don’t have them available easily so we are forced to make them from scratch – but what a reward we receive for all our effort!
To accompany these lovely doughy morsels, I am inspired by the beautiful autumnal mushrooms I see in our local shops and markets and will make a creamy sauce. A side of sautéed cabbage with bacon and my traditional Ukrainian meal will be complete. Stay tuned for my Thursday post where I will be unleashing my inner Babushka!
Allison Goodings lives in London, England, and is the recipe writer for the Archer, a local community newspaper in East Finchley. When not feeding her friends and family, planning what to cook for her next meal, selling cheese at a local market or daydreaming about asparagus, she works for the Canadian High Commission.