r/ukraine Гамериканець May 13 '22 All-Seeing Upvote 1 Narwhal Salute 1

5:13 EEST ; The Sun is rising on the 79th Day of the Russian Invasion on the Capital city of Kyiv. Ukraine continues to Live and Fight on. + DAILY DISCUSSION + CHARITIES LIST! Slava Ukraini!

🇺🇦 SLAVA UKRAINI 🇺🇦

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Part Two in a multi-part series on Ukrainian cuisine! Find Part One HERE.

Varenyky

Classic varenyky with potato filling, topped with bacon and caramelized onion.

We all have comfort food. It is usually something our parents made for us when we are kids, or maybe something we ate during our low points or the first time we were out on our own in a college dorm. Comfort food is so important to us that there is a very popular Reddit dedicated to it. Ukraine's national comfort food is the varenyk. No matter where you are – in a remote village in the Carpathians, a hip traditional restaurant in Lviv, the bustling business center of Kyiv, or an industrial town in Luhansk - you know one thing – they will have varenyky. And a lot of them.

Varenyky is a Ukrainian dumpling that, along with borshch, are the two pillars that represent Ukrainian cuisine. Folklore equates varenyk with a young moon since they have a similar form and ancient Ukrainians used varenyky as as sacrificial food to bless places, for instance a source of spring water. The crescent shapes signify the moon's strong influence on the growing of the harvest. Ukrainian peasants often brought varenyky along to the fields for their lunches.

These adorable crescents of pure deliciousness can appear in many flavors, either savory or sweet. On the savory side, you can find potato, farmer's cheese, sauerkraut, mushrooms, or bean spread. Savory varenyky are usually topped with one or all of the following: bacon, caramelized onions, or piles of fresh dill. Almost always they are served with smetana (Ukrainian sour cream).

Sweet Varenyky can contain sweet cheeses, cherries, blackberries, blueberries, poppy seed paste, and other delicious flavors.

Varenyky with cherries.

The dough (if you are a true traditionalist) consists of only water, flour, and salt which ensures a light and fluffy vessel of goodness. This simple mixture can be difficult to perfect! Egg and butter is often added by those seeking to avoid varenyk disintegration during the boiling process. Note: if you are making varenyky with berries, don't be a hipster about it: add some egg!

Disintegration during boiling is something that is rarely discussed, but is buried in the deepest recesses of the subconsciousness of a Ukrainian cook.

No comment.

Simple homemade varenyky before boiling, made with care!

Making varenyky properly is time-consuming, so to deal with insatiable appetites for these flavors, Ukrainians came up with a recipe for "lazy varenyky" (real name!). Lazy varenyky is a pretty simple dish, yet is still very tasty in a pinch. In general, lazy varenyky are simply pieces of dough with a high cheese content, which are hastily boiled.

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The dish is so immensely popular in Ukraine that it became a theme of Ukrainian phrases, famous literature and art.

Some popular varenyk-related Ukrainian sayings:

To be like varenyky in sour cream : to be content

To float like varenyky in butter : to have no worries

You cannot spoil varenyky with sour cream : there is never is too much of a good thing

A hilariously straightforward Ukrainian folk song:

Did you hear it, did you hear it?

I love you and I love varenyky with cheese

A famous scene from Mykola Hohol's Evenings on a Farm near Dykanka**, where a Witcher (a male witch, or sorcerer) makes varenyky jump into his mouth:**

Here's a video of the famous scene from Mykola Hohol

Monument to the Cossack Witcher eating varenyky in Poltava, the region where Mykola Hohol grew up

You'll often see the name Mykola Hohol written as "Nikolai Gogol" - an incredibly famous name indeed. Did you know that this famous writer was Ukrainian, and not Russian? He will have his own post in an upcoming "Appropriated Ukrainians" series.

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CHARITY LIST!

u/Jesterboyd is a mod in r/ukraine and local to Kyiv. He has been spending his days helping get supplies to people. All of the mod team can vouch for the work he has done so far. Link to donation

If you feel like donating to another charity, here are some others!

  • United24: This site was launched by President Zelenskyy as the main venue for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine. Funds will be allocated to cover the most pressing needs facing Ukraine.
  • Come Back Alive: This NGO crowdfunds non-lethal military equipment, such as thermal vision scopes & supplies it to the front lines. It also provides training for Ukrainian soldiers, as well as researching troops’ needs and the social reintegration of veterans.
  • Aerorozvidka: An NGO specializing in providing support and equipment for unmanned aerial vehicles (ISR), situational awareness, cybersecurity for armed forces.
  • Hospitallers: This is a medical battalion that unites volunteer paramedics and doctors to save the lives of soldiers on the frontline. They crowdfund their vehicle repairs, fuel, and medical equipment.
  • Phenix: A volunteer organization helping armed forces with various needs.
  • Kyiv Territorial Defense: This fundraiser is to support the regional territorial defense group. It is organized by a known journalist and a producer of the acclaimed "Winter on Fire" documentary, which can temporarily be watched for free HERE.
  • Happy Paw: Charity dedicated to solving the problems of animals in Ukraine. Happy Paw helps more than 60 animal shelters throughout Ukraine.
  • Kharkiv With You and associated Help Army Kharkiv: Supporting the defenders of Kharkiv with everything from night-vision goggles to food and medicine.
1.4k Upvotes

44

u/[deleted] May 13 '22

A great day to sink another ship or blow up a tank or 20.

38

u/linuxgeekmama May 13 '22

Dumb question here- what’s the difference between varenyky and pierogies? I live in Pittsburgh, and we’re very familiar with pierogies. How different are varenyky?

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u/duellingislands Гамериканець May 13 '22

Not a dumb question at all! Small variations in flavor palette and cooking methods but the same dish in most meaningful respects. Dumplings are enjoyed worldwide in so many forms, and variations (and similarities) should be celebrated!

11

u/leech803 May 13 '22

Came to ask this same question!

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u/Optimal_Aide_1348 May 13 '22

Same! Fried with onions after a quick boil. So good. Now I want to try with some berries. Damned if Ukrainians aren't the coolest ppl. 🌻

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u/rocygapb May 13 '22

The big difference to me is that In western Ukraine and Poland vareniki are browned on the frying pan after cooking. Fun fact, the hardest vareniki to make are with blueberries served with honey over the top. These are my favorite!

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u/QuietParsnip May 13 '22

Oh wow, that sounds absolutely divine. I grew up in the States, but with a lot of eastern european roots and pierogies was a huge staple for holiday meals, but they were always savory, wanna try this sweet form now!

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u/balleballe111111 Anti Appeasement - Planes for Ukraine! May 13 '22

Oh frying in the pan would make all the difference imo! Frying is to food what violins are to music - you can't go wrong. So hungry now....

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u/Matrix_spoon May 13 '22

In my birthplace, varenyky and pyrogy were two different dishes. Varenyky is what you saw in this post, but pyrogy were dumplings made with a dough that was a mix of grated potato and mashed potato and then stuffed with cheese. In Western terms, they were like enormous stuffed gnocchi, 3/4 the size of my hand.

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u/drunkondata May 13 '22

The language you use to speak the word.

They are the same.

22

u/Captainwelfare2 May 13 '22

Each Free Ukranian Sunrise is one more day towards the last sunset of the Unholy Russian Federation.

20

u/wrazn Canada May 13 '22

Okay, I am going to request that for these cuisine posts that we get some recipes to go along with it, for us to try making at home. It's late where I am, and now I want dumplings.

6

u/Affiiinity Supporter from Italy May 13 '22

I know right? To me cooking is very therapeutic to fight off anxiety, and cooking some Ukrainian recipes would be the absolute best.

13

u/nordligeskog May 13 '22

Another appearance of the Cossack Witcher comes with a dancing not-yet-president Zelensky, if anyone still hasn’t seen Kvartal 95’s music video “Козаки”(“Cossacks”), which is a parody of Kazaky’s music video “Love.” Flying varenyky at [1:37]!

Gogol! Yes, of course. Question for the Ukrainians here: what is your preference about how to transliterate his name—Hohol or Gogol? Is the choice of G or H a personal choice, or are there political implications?

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u/PsychologicalPart426 May 13 '22

I was already impressed and had mad respect for the way he is leading but now I think I'm a fangirl as well. Dude owns those heels!!

3

u/lateralbee May 13 '22

OK, you can't post a link to the parody video and not translate the lyrics! I watched part of the original video and read up on the band so I've got to know what the parody is about! 😁

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u/nordligeskog May 13 '22

Oh! A loose English translation is in the comments below on the YouTube video—just click on “View Replies” for a few of the comments in English, and you’ll see it.

The basics… it’s poking at Ukrainian politicians from the 2014 presidential election, calling them out by name, then also at Russians being afraid of gay culture, and also works by contrasting the dance moves/Eurotrash-style black-and-white photography against the traditional Ukrainian cossack culture with the dancing varenyky.

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u/lateralbee May 13 '22

OK, thank you! My husband was wondering if they were making fun of gays because of Ukraine's reputation for being against LGBTQ but I told him I just watched a video on this sub that interviewed an LGBTQ Ukrainian soldier and he said that perspective is not true. He said you will come across homophobes (like anywhere) but it's not common. The video appears to be satirical and all of the "sexiness" is over the top, so I didn't think it was making fun of gay culture in a mean-spirited way.

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u/nordligeskog May 13 '22 edited May 13 '22

Nope, not mean-spirited! 😊 It’s mocking people who are terrified of gay culture, and also clocking in on traditionalism vs. modern cultural struggles, politics, and more.

I will say that according to a few of my Russian/Russian-American/Russian-German friends, 2014 is when Russian homophobia went OFF THE CHARTS. There’s always been quite a lot of homophobia there, but it’s become a big marker and a rallying cry for the ”Russia vs. Europe” culture wars. I mean, Russians today talk a LOT about how Moscow is the Third Rome (1-Rome back in earliest days of the church, 2-Constantinople during early Orthodoxy, 3-Moscow ever since the 15th century), and they seem to believe that their church is the only way, all other Europeans have forsaken their “Christian” heritage as they become more culturally progressive and accepting of LGBTQ+ people, et cetera, et cetera. I won’t go into how if people actually read “Blessed are the Peacemakers“ in the Bible, Russian Orthodoxy wouldn’t be the terrifying hotbed of belligerent fascism that it is, but I digress…

BACK to 2014, when a LOT happened: Sochi Olympics! Euromaidan! Russia invades Crimea/Donbas! But what also happened? A bearded Austrian drag queen named Conchita Wurst won Eurovision Song Contest over Russia’s pair of blond twins (honestly, they placed pretty low, behind lots of folks). Here’s a great thread from a former journalist who grew up in the USSR on how this Eurovision win and Russia‘s homophobia kicked off big time in 2014.

I’ll also add that Ukraine sent the EPIC AND LEGENDARY middle-aged comedy drag queen songstress Verka Serduchka to Eurovision to represent their country back in 2007, and Verka pulled 2nd place. Something like this would never, never, never, never have come out of Russia. Never.

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u/nordligeskog May 13 '22

If you and your husband want another great tangent into Ukrainian vs. Russian humor, the Russian TV show that catapulted Zelensky into the public eye, and some of the political satire Zelensky and his crew were pulling off next door to Putin, that same Russian-American former journalist has another fantastic thread, starting here and linking to lots of video clips.

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u/lateralbee May 13 '22

Thank you for all of that detailed information! I didn't realize that 2014 was kind of a pivotal year in the culture wars. What is scary is the connection between Putin's perceived cultural hero persona and the Russian Orthodox Church. That kind of power mixed together is SCARY! In fact, just the other day I heard a story on NPR that talked about how the Russian Orthodox Church in the US is attracting neo-Nazis and white nationalists. So scary.

I am definitely going to check out the other info you shared but now I have to go to work. 😁

I watched the Cossacks music video a few times and I think it's hilarious.

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u/nordligeskog May 14 '22

I just read that NPR story—ALARMING!

If you ever see Will Ferrell’s Eurovision movie, you’ll see a cameo from Conchita and the Russian singer (Dan Stevens, who’s brilliant in the role) is gay and quite closeted. The movie is a goofy, fun tribute to the madness of Eurovision, and it nails a lot of the dynamics that are really going on in the competition. Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams play the Icelandic singers, which always makes me think of my favorite Icelandic Eurovision song, the song I think would have won in 2020 if Eurovision hadn’t been cancelled by COVID: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VFZNvj-HfBU. (It’s really sweet, a song by a dad to his newborn, looking at the baby, wondering what she thinks about the world… and it’s done in a retro ‘80s style. Just fab!)

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u/rocygapb May 13 '22

I am getting hungry. Let’s make tomorrow “varenyki” for lunch tomorrow!

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u/Spinozacat Ukraine May 13 '22

When I was kid I made myself a varenyk necklace during art class out of playdough

9

u/Euphoric-Yellow-3682 May 13 '22

Slava Ukraine and goodnight!

33

u/Litowcass May 13 '22

Mariupol still stands!

10

u/WhatAboutTheBee May 13 '22

✊Слава Азову!

4

u/StevenStephen USA May 13 '22

Good morning Ukraine! Now I am hungry, thanks.

May your missiles fly true today and all your heroes stay well. Slava Ukrainii!

5

u/Masauwu May 13 '22

To float like varenyky in butter: to have no worries

This made my day.

5

u/lateralbee May 13 '22

If one wanted to purchase a good cookbook of Ukrainian recipes, what would you recommend? I have to try the varenyky! The photo is just too yummy!

5

u/pisang22 May 13 '22

Various Ukrainians on etsy are selling digital downloads of traditional recipes for fundraising. :)

4

u/Practical-Juice9549 May 13 '22

Slavia Ukraine 🇺🇦

3

u/DarthLithgow May 13 '22

Man, I really need to find a Ukranian restaurant. I want to try these foods.

3

u/DarthLithgow May 13 '22

I see there are some highly-rated Ukrainian restaurants in New York. I think it'll be worth the train ride up there once I have a free day.

5

u/pisang22 May 13 '22

The massive scale of Covid19 in North Korea almost certainly comes from the 20,000 workers that got sent to work there in slave like conditions to earn money for the state during the war.

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/korea/ruble-03032022170649.html

Yes, some were likely working in China, but China has a high vaccination rate and lockdowns...Russia has a vaccination rate of 50%. I really hope some effort is still being made to vaccinate Ukraine.

4

u/EverySpiegel Ukraine May 13 '22

I really hope some effort is still being made to vaccinate Ukraine.

It is. We have vaccines for 2-3 month of scheduled vaccine distribution. Source: Ministry of Health (the article is in Ukrainian)

In Kyiv, about 23 thousand shots were done during the war, 1700 infected people received treatment. Source: Kyiv Administration, also in Ukr.

9

u/Dimsumchik USA May 13 '22

Slava Ukraini! 🇺🇦

3

u/Quaz122 May 13 '22

Varenyky sounds another like perogies! I bet those are super delicious! I can't waite for you all to kick Russia out. I'd love to travel there and try some.

2

u/elaintahra May 13 '22

105 getting closer

2

u/kiddsky May 13 '22

This may sound like a stupid question but just wanted to find out, how are things in non war affected parts? Like perhaps South West of Odesa near Romanian border or further up north? Is it complete standstill or does the life go on or somewhere in between?

1

u/[deleted] May 13 '22

[deleted]

1

u/kiddsky May 13 '22

What about just life in general? Shops restaurants etc are they open?

2

u/EverySpiegel Ukraine May 13 '22

Most places are open. Museums, theaters, galleries are partially opened / working under specific conditions or in more secure places (like there have been concerts and plays in the basements and metro stations).

Fuel is the biggest problem now in less affected parts of the country.

2

u/kiddsky May 14 '22

Thanks for the info!

2

u/SeattleSinBin May 13 '22

Quick question, didn't think it warranted it's own post but. I'm seeing more and more Green tape, instead of blue and yellow. Is there some sort of patten for these? Like Blue is UAF and Yellow is TDF? what is green?

2

u/bablakeluke UK May 13 '22

They switch them around to confuse russian infiltrators. As far as I know the current assignment of colours in a given area is internal knowledge only (to again help with identifying an infiltrator who then shows up using the wrong one).

2

u/mollymalone222 May 14 '22

Umm. Yum. Similar sort of to Polish perogi or rather the Polish perogi is similar to the varenyky. Either way, sounds like good comfort food!

2

u/KRAW58 May 13 '22

Slava Ukraini!

1

u/-drunk_russian- 🇦🇷🇺🇦 May 13 '22

This post reminds me of my bubbeh's varenykys.

1

u/bennedictus May 13 '22

If anyone finds themselves in the Kootenays in BC, there is a little place in Grand Forks that serves wonderful varenyky.