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Summer Kitchens: Recipes and Reminiscences from Every Corner of Ukraine

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by Olia Hercules
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London-based Ukrainian chef & food writer Olia Hercules sheds light on Ukraine’s culinary culture through the lens of the litnya kuhnia: a simple one-room kitchen workshop separate from the adjacent home and indoor kitchen, where Ukrainian families cooked and ate all summer, sometimes into the winter.

Many litnya kuhnia featured a large masonry oven, or pich, and allowed space for ambitious fermenting, pickling, and preserving projects. While practical for pre-industrial times, the modernization of home kitchens coupled with less available free time has meant many a summer kitchen is now being used used as storage space or has been torn down altogether. 

An extensive section on preserving offers instruction on simpler projects like quick fermented cucumbers and beet kvas, as well as more involved undertakings like fermented watermelons and dried smoked pears—a typical addition to borscht.

Hercules' breads & dumplings chapter offers its own range of enticements: sourdough garlic buns (pampushky), Ukrainian wedding bread (korovai), and spelt dumplings with kraut and caramelized onion. 

Offering recipes from every corner of Ukraine, Summer Kitchens is a boon for those interested in traditional foodways and how facilities, as well as ingredients and recipes, play a role in what people eat.

Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.

Published: July 14, 2020

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