The war in Ukraine breaks my heart.
My ancestors come from this region, and my memories of food flood. Yes, you read right, memories of food and homemade bread.
When I think of my ancestral roots, I recall my grandmother and grandparents who fled a world of oppression and the food that they served to heal.
I remember my grandmother’s love and her cooking and baking.
Pampushky, a special bread infused with garlic was my favorite dish growing up.
As a child, I waited for it, breathing in deeply the aroma as it wafted and filled the kitchen. Food was a gift and a communion to bring us together to heal.
Ancestral trauma and the wounds of war are passed on from generation to generation and so too are the recipes of love that were used to heal. We might feel helpless right now and many feel re-traumatized by war. We can, however, pray, come together, and bake. Yes, we can bake and share the love.
My grandmother’s recipe is written in my heart.
1. To start, you bake white sweet dinner buns.
I’m not a baker and my schedule is hectic so I pick up premade dough from my local European corner deli. This is a secret. Even if we aren’t able to make the dough from scratch, just working with premade dough has therapeutic effects. Rolling and making the dough into small balls, covering them with oil is sweet magic. Watching them bake is happiness and the smell of fresh buns wafting through the house is divine.
2. After baking the buns remove and separate and add them to a large mixing bowl.
3. In a separate bowl prepare a mixture of minced garlic, salt, and diced dill combined and infused with olive oil or avocado oil.
4. This mixture is poured over the hot buns and a lid covers so you can shake.
This is the fun part and singing is added. Shaking evenly distributes the infusion so that it goes into the soft hot buns.
The result is a taste of heaven. The smell and taste transport me back in time. My heart yearns to talk with my grandmother as I write this out. How I long to be in her company and hear her voice. Food is a gift and legacy. While our hearts are heavy, let us continue to love and support each other and return to comforts like this sweet dish.
Our hearts are with you Ukraine.