Saturday, September 01, 2007

I Say Potato, You Say Kartopla


We spent yesterday in a small village about 20 minutes away from where we live. We went with Maria’s father, Fedir, her mother, Vala, her sister, Stacia, and a neighbor, Valeri to help her aunt, Baba Hanya, and her uncle, Serhiy, harvest their potatoes. (Maria’s aunt and uncle are brother and sister. Neither of them ever married so they live together in their old age.) As we got off the bus to walk the couple of miles to the village, it began to rain. It made for a beautiful walk as we descended into the misty valley below. The rain stopped just as we got to Baba Hanya’s place. We had a delicious breakfast and then headed for the potato field.

Edna and Maria before breakfast

Edna and Baba Hanya


I helped the men dig up the potatoes as Edna and the women gathered them in baskets and then into sacks. The sun came out after awhile, but it didn’t get that hot. It turned out to be a beautiful day for harvesting potatoes. Dominic and Joshua had fun with all the animals. Baba Hanya has chickens, pigs, cats, and a dog named Topeek. Joshua especially liked all the Ukrainian songs that Valeri would sing as we worked in the field.

Fedir, Dominic, and Edna

When it was time to go and we were all cleaned up, they made sure we had plenty of fresh vegetables to take home with us and of course some salo (salted pork fat). Needless to say we were all pretty tired by the time we got home. We took some of the freshly harvested potatoes and made Deroony (Ukrainian potato pancakes) for dinner.

Valeri, Joshua, Vala, and Serhiy washing up before lunch

Deroony (potato pancakes)
Deroony (or Deruny) is the word in plural, however it doesn't have a singular form. The last syllable of the word is stressed. Deroony are savoury potato pancakes common for Ukrainian national cuisine. They are eaten both as main course and as a snack, and sometimes even as a starter.

1 kg of potatoes
2 eggs
a bit of black pepper and salt
2 tbsp of oil
sour cream

Grate the peeled potatoes on the grater with small holes. Add eggs, salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly (better with wooden spoon). Put with the spoon small pancakes on the warm frying pan with oil. Fry both sides till pancakes are ready. Deroony are served with sour cream. Sometimes they serve as a garnish for the meat dishes.

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