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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Folk songs are the people in Ukraine

Irena Bell, who produces the Ukrainian radio program in Ottawa, recently shared an interesting article that appeared in the English-language online version of the Ukrainian newspaper День (Den' ... The Day).

The title of the article is: "Folk songs have become the people in Ukraine." The jist of it is that in its repertoire of folk songs resides the heart and soul of the Ukrainian people.

I couldn't agree more! And it applies to diaspora Ukrainians every bit as much ... if not more.

In countries around the world, descendants of Ukrainian refugees (often several generations down) carry on this tradition. Evidence can be found in the vast array of Ukrainian music produced outside of Ukraine.

I'm not talking about bland, run-of-the-mill commercial music ... which sounds like any contemporary tune produced anywhere, with the only difference being Ukrainian language lyrics (and in some cases, not even that). There is of course a large appetite for that kind of music, and well-funded commerical interests cultivating and profitting from it.

What I'm talking about, however, and what the author of this article is talking about, is music with much more depth, colour and personality. Music with roots. Music that reflects the heart and soul of the Ukrainian people ... rather than some oligarch's bottom line.

The author speaks of:

... the truly invaluable treasure left by our forefathers, a treasure which is correctly regarded as an outstanding achievement of the Ukrainian community at large and its national culture. There are material treasures that lie buried for ages, and there are live treasures that symbolize the immortality of the Ukrainian nation and are handed down from generation to generation, mesmerizing us with their innermost magic.

Without doubt, Ukrainian folk songs are among these treasures. These songs are essentially an extremely beautiful synthesis of heartfelt poetry and captivating melodies. Without them our cultural life loses all its beauty.

He goes on to describe the richness, the depth and the breadth (over half a million Ukrainian folk songs!), and laments the lack of awareness of these treasure amongst contemporary Ukrainians. He calls on the newspaper to do more to support and promote this music. To its credit, the paper has offered space for articles on folk music festivals (such as those organized by Oleh Skrypka) and encourages submissions on the topic. Let's hope folk music affidionados will take advantage of this fabulous opportunity and send in articles about some of the music and the performers.

Meanwhile, half a world away in North America, producers and listeners of radio programs like mine are doing our best to give this music airplay. I'm sure I speak for all in saying that we are absolutely delighted to receive promo CDs and especially liner notes and backgrounder info ... and if the info is provided in English as well, some of us are totally ecstatic!

This article is truly a delight to read, and it contains some fascinating factoids.

Read it here.... and enjoy!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Recipe: Cream of Cabbage Soup

Cream of Cabbage Soup is quick, easy, and ready in one hour.

At the turn of the last century, cabbage was considered a lowly vegetable fit only for poor people. Today it is regarded as one of the most nutritious vegetables available today, and is thought to have strong anti-aging and anti-cancer properties.

•Cabbages are a good source of Vitamin K, which is essential in the production of blood clotting proteins.

•Cabbage is high in potassium, which helps regulates blood pressure, promotes a steady heartbeat, and can lower your risk of stroke.

•Cabbage juice can be used to treat stomach ulcers and help stop any bleeding.

•Uncooked cabbage is high in glutamine, an amino acid that is essential for intestinal health. Cabbage leaves are considered ideal roughage, so eating cabbage helps relieve constipation. (However, it may cause flatulence as the juice breaks down putrefying matter in the intestines.)

Some good advice: Live life like a cabbage …. live close to the Earth, keep your head down and stay out of trouble!

Here’s how to make cream of cabbage soup like you’ll find in Judy’s restaurant. It always sells out, so it's definitely a winner!

Take 2 litres or two quarts of water, add to a stockpot, and start to heat. Add two tablespoons of salt.

In the meantime, peel and cut two large potatoes into chunks and add to the water.

Take one large head of young cabbage, core and roughly chop and add to the pot.

Chop one medium onion, and add to the pot.

Then cook potatoes until done, remove, mash and add back to the pot.

Take three tablespoons of butter or margarine, add a second chopped onion to the frying pan and fry until caramelized (about 10 mins). Add to the soup pot.

In the same frying pan add two tablespoons of flour, fry until a light golden brown.

Finally add one cup of whipping cream to the flour and stir until blended. Add to the soup, simmer for about 20 mins or until your soup is thickened.

Optional: Judy’s Baba would add pidpenke (wild fall mushrooms) at the end of cooking process.

Serve this yummy soup with multi-grain, sourdough or rye bread.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summer Programs in Eastern Christian spirituality

The Sheptytsky Institute offers a program in Eastern Christian spirituality called An Eastern Christian Feast for the Mind and Heart during this summer's Study Days July 2-4, 2009 at Saint Paul University in Ottawa.

This is a conference for members of the general public – adults and youth alike – who are interested in deepening their knowledge of Eastern Christian theology and spirituality. For those concentrating on academic studies, there is a possibility of earning up to six undergraduate credits by continuing for two more weeks of courses and liturgical services.

They are also looking for young adults to volunteer with the youth program. (Call 613. 236-1393, ext. 2359.)

For more information, please contact Julie Daoust 613. 236-1393 ext. 2332 or visit the Sheptytsky Institute Summer Programs website.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Language Lanterns Founders Receive Inaugural Translation Prize

On May 19, 2009 the Board of Directors of the Canadian Foundation for Ukrainian Studies (CFUS) announced that Dr. Roma Franko and her sister, the late Sonia Morris, were selected as the first recipients of the George S. N. Luckyj Ukrainian Literature Translation Prize.

The Prize is named in honour of the late Professor George S. N. Luckyj, an eminent Ukrainian Canadian Slavist, editor, and translator of Ukrainian literature. Roma Franko and Sonia Morris were awarded the Luckyj Prize for their dedication to and tremendous efforts and achievements in translating Ukrainian literature into English and making it accessible to a wide reading audience.

After taking early retirement from their respective academic careers at the University of Saskatchewan in 1996, the sisters embarked on new careers, Roma Franko as translator and Sonia Morris as editor. Together they founded Language Lanterns Publications dedicated to publishing works of Ukrainian literature in English translation. To date, seventeen volumes have appeared translated by Roma Franko and edited by Sonia Morris. A further three volumes are in preparation.

Roma Franko currently lives in Toronto. Sonia Morris passed away in 2007.

The Prize was presented to Dr. Franko and the family of the late Sonia Morris on June 3, 2009 in Toronto. Family members included Sonia's son, Paul Cipywnyk, a Vancouver-based freelance writer, editor and photographer.

More details at Paul's blog here.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Studenetz - Jellied Lean Pork

Here’s another of Judy’s recollections from her memorable trip to Ukraine and preparing for a family wedding in the village. She shared it on Nash Holos on Sunday May 17, 2009.

One of the most unique dishes of Ukraine, and certainly very traditional as well, is "studenetz" (also known as "kholodets" or “hyshka”). I’ll never forget making studenetz in Ukraine, for my cousin Oleh and Oksana’s wedding.

Most of the food was being prepared in the converted garage (on a 24-inch stove yet!)… but every cooking area they had was being used to the max. We’re Ukrainian, we had a lot of people to feed at this wedding!

At one point Loosha asked me to go and stir a pot simmering on the stove in the summer kitchen. I picked up the large wooden spoon, and lowered it into the pot. It seemed to have gotten caught on something. As I tried to unhook the spoon, up came the head of a pig.

Screaming, I let go of the spoon … all I remember was teeth and these beady eyes looking at me. Of course, everyone came running into the kitchen to see what all the screaming was about... and started laughing their heads off . That sight will live with me forever.

I never remembered my mother using the head of the pig. Then again in Ukraine, they utilize every part of the animal.

While jellied meat is not commonplace in North American cuisine, it is very popular in many parts of Europe. In Ukraine, and Ukrainian homes around the world, studnetz is often served as a main course. Or, as an appetizer with other assorted cold meats.

Most cooks I know, including myself and Pawlina, prefer an equal mix of jelly and meat, but it’s up to you. You can have more meat, or more jelly, depending on your taste. If you find you have broth left over, you could freeze it and use it as soup stock.

Total cooking time for studenetz is generally about 6 hours. (A quality dish takes time!). So it’s a good idea to start in the morning.

Not everyone uses pigs feet, and you can make a good studentz using just pork hocks, but I find that adding the feet makes a firmer jelly. But I draw the line at using a pig’s head. Fortunately, when you shop at supermarket, it’s not an issue!

For studenetz the way I make it, you’ll need:

4 pig’s feet, cut in half
2 pounds (2-3) pork hocks
1 tablespoon or more of salt
1 medium to large onion
3 heads of garlic
5 peppercorns
4 bay leaves

Use a strong clean brush to scrape and trim the pigs’ feet. Wash them very thoroughly and pat them dry. Cut the feet in half lengthwise.

Wash the pork hocks and place them and the feet in a large kettle. Add the salt and cover with cold water.

Bring to a boil and skim. Cover the kettle and simmer very slowly. This is very important, because rapid boiling will make the broth turn milky. And make sure not to stir it, as it will also make the broth go milky. You want a clear broth.

After 2 hours of cooking, add the whole onion, garlic and spices. Continue simmering until the meat comes off the bones easily, another 2 or 3 hours depending on your stove.

Take the meat off the bones, and cut up the larger pieces. Strain the broth. Discard bones, spices, and vegetables.

Arrange the meat in a baking dish or a pan such as for scalloped potatoes or lasagne. If you want to be really traditional, like I do, cut up some of the skin and add the small bones from the feet to the meat.

Pour the broth over the meat. You can add fresh crushed garlic if you like, and mix it in. Chill thoroughly so the broth will gel.

Before serving, scrape off the fat that collects on the top. Serve in slices or squares (the traditional method) and garnish with sprigs of parsley.

Most Ukrainians enjoy their "studenetz" with slices of dark rye and will pour a bit of white vinegar on each piece.


When she's not on the radio you can usually find Judy at her restaurant, Prairie Cottage Perogies in Langley.

Vancouver audio archives updated to May 24, 2009

The Nash Holos audio archives are updated to May 24, 2009. (Chetverta Khvylia, Vancouver's all-Ukrainian radio program, is updated to May 17.)

On Ukrainian Food Flair, Judy shares some details on the amazing health benefits of cabbage, along with a recipe for cream of cabbage soup.

On A Spiritual Moment, Fr. Ihor Kutash presents Blahovisnyk (The Evangelist) with reflections on the Orthodox theologian, the late Fr. Alexander Shmelon. (Blahovisnyk comes to us courtesy Ukrainian Time in Montreal.)

The musical theme for tonight's program is "doubles" ... as in double tracks off the chosen CDs. Among them are two brand new CDs: Diaspora by The Ukrainians, which came courtesy Omnium Records and was anxiously awaited, as I wrote earlier. The other is a demo CD of a digital release, called Hutsul Magic. More on both in future programs.

For now, there are two tracks from each on last night's program ... so enjoy!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Website launched for Yaroslaw's Treasure

Coquitlam author Mirko Petriw has launched a website for his recently published novel, Yaroslaw's Treasure, which I blogged about earlier (here).

Described by some as Indiana Jones meets James Bond, what makes Yaroslaw’s Treasure different from both of those stories is its firm grounding in hard, cold and often bloody fact. ...

For more info, visit Mirko's website here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Judy's perfect perogie dough

Probably the most loved food in the Ukrainian tradition is ... you guessed it ... varenyky, or perogies, or as we called them growing up on the prairies: pyrohy (pronounced pedahy).

Here's Judy's recollection of that wonderful time growing up, as shared on Nash Holos ... along with her recipe for the perfect perogy (pyrohy) dough:

A Friday supper in our home was either fish or pyrohy. I remember coming home after school on Fridays to see the kitchen table covered with clean flour sacks with little white pillows of dough, stuffed with potato and onion or sauerkraut.

As my little hand would reach to grab a venechie, which is what we called the end pieces (which were just raw dough), Mom’s hand would always come down *smack* on it.

"Don’t touch!" she would say. "If you eat that, your stomach will stick together!"

Sometimes she’d say, "We are going to be eating in 45 minutes. Can’t you just wait?"

So then I’d wander over to the stove. Ummm... onions frying in lard or butter! In those days, no one worried about things like cholesterol. We all worked off the calories one way or another!

Having a meal of pyrohy brings back so many memories. The farm, milking cows... Mom used to skim off the cream, add to onions frying in butter, and cook it down until it became a rich sauce which of course she poured over the pyrohy. Who could resist?

There are all kinds of fillings for pyrohy, sweet as well as savoury. Each household has its own tried and true recipe.

When I was in Ukraine I asked Chocha (Auntie) Sofia what her recipe was for the dough. Looking at me funny, she said, "Just flour, salt and water!"

"Hey," I said to her, "that’s my recipe!" It was handed down to me from my mother, which she got from her mother.

To make a perfect perogy dough, combine 3 cups of flour, 1 tsp salt and one cup of lukewarm water (or potato water). Mix until smooth, place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a lid, and let rest for 20 minutes. This will be enough to make about 4 dozen.

That’s it!

For fillings, the sky is the limit. Use your imagination! For a change from the usual potato and cheddar cheese, try potato, chopped spinach, onion, bacon and cottage cheese. To die for!


The Ukrainians have a new CD - Diaspora

Now that title I can relate to!

I found out about this CD from Cal Koat. Cal and I go back to the first incarnation of Nash Holos, when it aired in the 1990s on CJVB and he was the program director there. He did a program called "Crossing Cultures" which was the forerunner of World Beat. (Cal's lovely wife, Patricia Fraser, produces the Celtic radio program, Celt in a Twist.)

Recently Cal tweeted about The Ukrainians' new CD, Diaspora, which he got from his buddy Drew Miller at Omnium Recordings. (Cal said he loved it, and that Ukrainian music would figure prominently on the world music scene soon.)

So, of course I had to check it out! There are a few of their earlier CDs in the Nash Holos library, and over the years I've shared more than a few of their tunes with listeners since they first hit the Nash Holos radar screen way back in 1991. And they are all fabulous.

I've just sent away for my copy of Diaspora ... but while we're waiting for it to arrive, have a boo at this video of their title track on YouTube. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

FootLoose & fancy-free Kolomeyka

I remember how much I enjoyed this movie when it came out, but I can't believe that it never occured to me at the time how much this scene resembled an Americanized Hollywood version of the kolomeyka:

Now here's the real thing:

I have no idea who Stephen and Lilly are, but obviously they are (were) Ukrainian dancers...

Love that human pyramid the guys do!

The gals can give the guys a run for their money ...

Looks like this is the last one they posted. The wedding must have been a blast!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pawlina writing a book

Just thought I'd let you know that I'm in the process of writing a book. I've signed a contract and just met with my editor to discuss the direction of my story.

It's a non-fiction book on the WWI internment of Ukrainian Canadians and will be one of a 3-part series on wartime internment of ethnic minorities (the other two are the WWII Japanese and Italian) in Canada. The target audience is high school students.

I'm actually co-authoring it. My mission is to write a narrative and my co-author (chosen by the publisher) will compile the "dry" historical and political facts.

Because the Ukrainian internment happened so long ago, and the government destroyed the official records in the 1950s, it's a pretty tough row to hoe. I've got a lot of research under my belt already but it's so far mostly the "dry" stuff. Now I have to dig deeper and find any personal accounts that may have been chronicled and are stored in some dusty archives.

I've got a few already but may still have to do a research trip or two in the near future. In the meantime, if you happen to know of any personal diaries that descendants may still have, or have personal stories in your own family and are willing to share them, please let me know. Either leave a comment on this blog post letting me know how to get in touch with you, or contact me directly by email.

Duzhe diakuyu!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Vancouver audio archives updated to May 10, 2009

The Nash Holos audio archives are updated to May 10, 2009, including Chetverta Khvylia, Vancouver's all-Ukrainian radio program.

This Sunday on Nash Holos, Judy tells a hilarious story about making homemade sausage in a Ukrainian village for a relative's wedding one hot summer's day not long ago ... and she also has a quick and easy recipe for North American city dwellers.

On A Spiritual Moment, Fr. Ihor Kutash joins us (courtesy Ukrainian Time in Montreal) with an Orthodox perspective on the transformational love of Christ.

An interview with author Anton Shleha of Lenggries, Germany about his book Surviving Lienz and a memorial project spearheaded by Dr. Harald Stadler of The University of Innsbruck, Austria to commemorate the Ukrainian cossacks who were massacred at Lienz, Austria after WWII by British and Soviet forces intent on repatriating them against their will to the Soviet Union. The two are touring western Canada to raise awareness of the tragedy and the memorial.

This week's upcoming community events include a perogy supper on Friday at the Ukrainian Community Society of Ivan Franko in Richmond, and a re-dedication of a commemorative plaque honouring a Ukrainan Canadian WWI war hero and Victoria Cross recipient at the Royal Westminster Armoury in New Westminster.

The musical theme for tonight's program is, being Mother's Day, all about mothers and grandmothers.

Archives are uploaded, so enjoy! Recipes for tonight's and last Sunday's programs to follow...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Ukrainian writers in BC meet European colleague

Three Ukrainian Canadian writers in BC attended the Vancouver presentation on the massacre of the Cossacks at Lienz, Austria. At the presentation they met a fellow author who was launching his book, Surviving Lienz. The author, Anthony Schlega (writing as Anton Schleha) lives in Germany and recently joined a writers’ list-serv that I co-moderate with Marsha Skrypuch. Marsha launched the list when she brought a group of writers together to collaborate on Kobzar's Children: A Century of Untold Stories, an anthology she was editing. Since then the group has expanded to include other aspiring writers as well as published authors writing other untold Ukrainian stories.

One of the BC writers attending Anthony’s book launch was Danny Evanishen, one of the original list members and a fellow Kobzar’s Children contributor. Danny also runs Ethnic Enterprises, which produced and distributes Anthony’s book in Canada on behalf of the publisher, Innsbruck University Golf Publishers. (The book is available for purchase from Danny's website (here) for those unable to attend one of their presentations.) Danny and his wife Jean just came down for the evening and had to head back to the Okanagon today. So there was only time for a couple of hurried snapshots (and a few bad jokes of Danny’s I hadn’t heard before). Danny has some new books on his website and Jean creates beautiful Trypillian pottery, so I’ll be doing some in-depth interviews on Nash Holos with both of them in the not too distant future.

Another interview I’m looking forward to doing is with newly-published author Mirko Petriw, whose novel I blogged about earlier. Mirko is another list member who came out to meet Anthony in person and learn more about Dr. Stadler’s work. BTW, Mirko hasn’t done an “official” book launch yet of Yaroslaw’s Treasure but he sold a whack of books at the BC Ukrainian Festival in Mission on Saturday and has people calling and emailing for copies. So I’m looking forward to letting Nash Holos listeners know more about Mirko and his book.

Anthony is still exploring his father's past and is working on a personal memoir, so you'll be hearing more about him and his work in the future as well. He'll be returning to Canada at some point in the future with Dr. Stadler to continue spreading the word about the Bridge of Remembrance project in Lienz, Austria. I'll bring you the details the minute I get them!

Vancouver the first stop on tour revealing Allied massacre of Ukrainians at end of WWII

Two European historians are visiting western Canada May 5-15 to reveal the virtually unknown story of a 20th century massacre in Austria by British forces at the end of WWII in what is known as "Operation Keelhaul."

It's a story of betrayal and brutality, known in the region as "The Tragedy on the
Drau." The victims were mostly Ukrainian Kuban cossacks and their families who had escaped soviet communist tyranny during WWII and were led to believe that the British were giving them sanctuary along the banks of the river Drau. Even when forced at gunpoint and bayonet-point to return to the soviet union, they resisted. Some Cossacks and their family members were killed by British troops while praying enmass, or trying to escape into the woods. Many preferred death by drowning rather than torture and/or starvation and threw themselves into the rushing river. A few managed to escape through the woods. Little is known of the fate of those the British did manage to send back into the arms of Uncle Joe.

The two men are in Canada to raise awareness of this tragedy, and funds for an interpretive memorial at the site. They launched their tour last night here in Vancouver.

The evening began with a slide presentation by Dr. Harold Stadler: "The Fate of the Cossacks in Lienz During the 20th Century." Dr Stadler is Professor of Archaeology at the Leopold Franzens-University, Innsbruck, Austria. He gave a gripping overview of the leadup to the massacre and the public perception in East Tyrol Ukrainian cossacks. He told us that the vast majority of Austrians and Germans don't know the difference between Ukrainians and Russians and that he feels it is important that they do. As an archaeologist and historian with "a slavic soul" he is working on "The Bridge of Remembrance," the name of the memorial at the site of the massacre.
As well, author Anthony Schlega (writing as Anton Shleha) of Lenggries, Germany, launched his book,Surviving Lienz, an eye-witness account by a survivor of Operation Keelhaul. He gave an emotional and very touching account of why he wrote this book, which is the story of his father's close friend. His own father died when the Anton was only 21, shortly after he had begun to understand the underlying causes of their troubled relationship and its link to this massacre, the war, and the strain of fighting fascists (literally) left and right.

Last night's presentation and book launch was held at the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox auditorium, 154 E 10th Ave in Vancouver. Their next stop is Winnipeg (May 10) followed by Saskatoon (May 11) and Edmonton (May 15).
If you are in or near one of these cities, I highly recommend taking in this presentation. The schedule, times, and location are below and in their media kit which you can view or download here.
Please support this project by attending the presentation and making a donation for their memorial. More information about the memorial and the work these two wonderful men are doing can be found at their website here.

The Fate of the Cossacks in Lienz

For Immediate Release

April 27, 2009

A little-known story of betrayal and treachery during Operation Keelhaul at the end of WWII will be revealed to Canadians by Professor Doctor Harald Stadler and author Anthony Schlega. They will be visiting four Canadian cities from May 5–16, 2009 to raise awareness of this shameful historical event, and funds for a memorial at the site of the massacre in Lienz, Austria.

Doctor Harald Stadler is Professor of Pre- and Proto-History, Medieval Ages and Post-Medieval Archaeology at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. In Lienz he has researched the history and movements of the Cossacks in World Wars I and II. His presentation on this tour is an account of their tragic story.

Anthony Schlega (writing under the name Anton Schleha) is the son of a WWII, Kuban Cossack. He is Assistant to Dr. Stadler and the author of Survivng Lienz. This newly-published book tells the true story of Ivan, a friend of the author’s father and a survivor of the massacre at Lienz at the end of WWII. Mr. Schlega lives in Lenggries, Germany. He will be launching his book on this tour.

The Fate of the Cossacks in Lienz During the 20th Century
An interdisciplinary project by:
Doctor Harald Stadler, Professor of Archaeology
Leopold Franzens University, Innsbruck, Austria


Surviving Lienz
Book launch and signing by:
Anton Schleha
Author, and Assistant to Dr. Stadler


Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral
154 East 10th Ave.
Vancouver, BC
6 p.m.

Sunday, May 10, 2009
Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral
1175 Main Street
Winnipeg, MB
Inmediately following Divine Liturgy (which begins at 10 a.m.)

Monday, May 11, 2009
Mohyla Institute
1240 Temperance Street
Saskatoon, SK
6 p.m.

Friday May 15, 2009
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Elia
11833 66 Street NW
Edmonton, AB
6 p.m.

For more information:
Anthony Schlega:

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

New Ukrainian Studies society founded in Alberta

From the CIUS Press Service:

A signal event for the development of Ukrainian studies in Canada took place in Edmonton on 8 April 2009: the Alberta Society for the Advancement of Ukrainian Studies was founded and held its first general meeting.

"The main aim of the society is to support the scholarly and educational programs and projects of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) at the University of Alberta, as well as to serve as liaison between these two institutions, the Ukrainian community, and Canadian society at large," said Dr. Orest Talpash in his opening speech.

The former chancellor of the university, Peter Savaryn, said that a similar organization, known today as the Canadian Foundation for Ukrainian Studies (CFUS), was established in 1975 and took on an all-Canadian character owing to the scale of its activities, moving its office to Toronto. CFUS supports a number of publications including the five-volume Encyclopedia of Ukraine and the Hrushevsky Translation Project, as well as the Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine, and projects of the Ukrainian Language Education Centre.

Professor Emeritus Bohdan Medwidsky, a well known scholar and philanthropist, was elected president. Dr. Medwidsky called CIUS “a hidden treasure of our community.” Without it, that community would be difficult to imagine, and there would be far less general knowledge about Ukraine and Ukrainians.

The director of CIUS, Dr. Zenon Kohut, emphasized that the founding of the society is also timely in view of the global economic crisis. As two-thirds of CIUS activity is funded by interest earned from endowment funds established by its benefactors, the annual budget has been reduced by some $275,000. This has already resulted in the elimination of positions and diminished support for research projects and scholarships.

Dr. Kohut spoke of the role of CIUS in Canada and abroad in disseminating knowledge about Ukraine and Ukrainians, making connections with the homeland, and helping preserve Ukrainian cultural heritage by means of programs and projects such as the Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine, the Ukrainian-Canadian Program, the Hrushevsky Translation Project, and the Kowalsky Program for the Study of Eastern Ukraine.

As an example of CIUS influence, Dr. Kohut mentioned the ongoing archaeological excavation of the capital of the Cossack Hetmanate, Baturyn, which has obtained financial support from the Ukrainian government and given many students, scholars, architects, restoration specialists, state and museum employees a unique opportunity to acquire professional experience and revive this historic gem of Ukrainian culture.

Directors of CIUS programs who attended the meeting reported to the audience on their activities. Dr. John-Paul Himka shared his thoughts about the Research Program on Religion and Culture, one of whose main aims is to preserve sacral sites and cultural heritage. Dr. Serge Cipko spoke about the Diaspora Studies Initiative, which does research on the Ukrainian diaspora throughout the world. The society looks forward to initiating a new stage in the development of Ukrainian studies in Canada, strengthening the institute’s ties with the community, and helping promote its activities both nationally and internationally.

Participants in the first ASAUS general meeting (L-R):

Luba Feduschak, Dr. Serge Cipko, Iryna Karpenko, Anna Biscoe, Alexandra Hildebrandt (secretary), Dr. Orest Talpash (board), Dr. Zenon Kohut (CIUS director), Dr. Bohdan Medwidsky (president), Peter Savaryn, Paul Brodoway, Oleksiy Karpenko, Dr. John-Paul Himka, Dr. Mykola Soroka (board), Zorianna Kohut
Photo by Roman Petriw

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Recipe: Banana Cream Nalysnyky … Dessert crépes, Ukrainian style!

This delightful recipe aired on Nash Holos on April 19, Easter Sunday on the Julian calendar.

Just a little warning. It’s not what most North Americans would consider a “traditional” Ukrainian recipe. A diaspora variation, maybe ... as nalysnyky (crépes) are very well-known, and very well-loved by Ukrainians the world over!

However, this recipe comes direct from Ukraine ... Judy got it from her Chocha (auntie) Pawlina when she was visiting her a few years back. So it’s certainly an authentic Ukrainian recipe!

Incidentally, it was on that trip that Judy got her first taste of this incredible dessert... and she wasn’t too inclined to share. (You can hear that story here.)

Of course, after trying this recipe, anyone could understand why! :-) So, here it is:

Banana Cream Nalysnyky

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
3 tbsp. water
1/2 cup flour, sifted
1/4 tsp. salt
1 pint whipping cream
3 Tbsp sugar
3-4 medium bananas

Beat the eggs until light. Stir in milk and water, then mix in flour and salt and beat until smooth.

Butter a small frying pan lightly and heat well. Pour a few tablespoons of batter onto the pan … just enough to coat the bottom. When lightly browned, remove crépes and stack on a plate.

Repeat until all the batter is used. Set aside and let cool. (This will make about 12-15 crépes.)

Whip together cream and sugar until stiff. Lightly spread whipped cream over the surface of each crépe. (Make sure to reserve some for the top!)

Cut the bananas into quarters lengthwise. Place one banana quarter onto a crépe, roll up, and place on a serving platter.

Once all the crépes are done, lather the tops with the remaining whipping cream. Sprinkle tops with shaved chocolate - dark, milk or even white chocolate … your choice!


Ditched AdSense

To those readers who know (and/or care) about Google AdSense, I have just taken it off this blog site altogether. And it will stay off until some drastic changes occur at Google.

Specifically, at least to my mind at the moment, that would involve Google either divesting itself (whether voluntarily or like AT&T had to eons ago) and in the process coming to appreciate smaller clients, or it just organically takes a sudden genuine interest in satisfying the needs of small niche bloggers.

I'm not holding my breath for either.

I don't mean to be ungrateful. After all, Google provides free search, AdSense, and hosting for this blog (and several kajillion others). And I am truly grateful to have the choice to use AdSense or not. Nor would I try to discourage anyone else from using it.

Unless, of course, you aren't crazy about having sleazy ads cluttering up your blog, and/or ads for sites that claim to sell things you write about on your blog but that you find out after visiting the advertiser's site that they don't really sell it.

That last scenario is kinda what did me in, truth be told. A while ago I moved AdSense to the bottom of the page because I just didn't want to see all those sleazy ads of Ukrainian women for sale. It's quite humiliating, actually, even tho I'm not, thankfully, one of those being sold. (And as those in the know can tell you, precious few of them get to keep the money.)

So anyway, I moved the ads to bottom where they'd be more or less out of site, and thought I'd give it some time. Maybe Google would come up with a better filtering process soon. Maybe Google would become more selective as to who it allows to buy ads (and what kind it allows). Maybe a bunch of reputable and respectable Ukrainian businesses would jump on the AdWords bandwagon. I mean, who knows, right?

Alas. The last ad that appeared on this blog was one for a shopping site. It said it offered cabbage rolls. Of course, having just posted a recipe for cabbage rolls, this came as no great surprise. Still, I was quite intrigued, as the site didn't have a Ukrainian or even a European-sounding name, nor a foodie name even.

So I noted the URL and went to the site in a new tab (it's a mortal sin to click on a Google ad on your site). Much to my surprise, there was not even a food category at this shopping site. WTF??

Now, to my feeble mind, that borders on phishing. And I really don't appreciate bogus ads on my site ... any more than I do sleazy ones. Unfortunately, with the notable exception of Yevshan (bless Bohdan's heart), about the only ads Google sends to blogs with any kind of a Ukrainian theme are bogus and sleazy ones.

So I give up. There are just too many ads that I vehemently do not want on my blog, and I just can't spend the time to filter them all out. So I'm going to sacrifice my AdSense revenue ($4.81 so far) until Google cleans up their advertiser criteria, and/or makes it easier for bloggers to keep bogus and/or sleazy ads off their blogs if they so wish.

In the meantime, dear Readers, unless I have overlooked some seriously compelling, practical reason to reinstate Adsense, you and I will just have to do without Google ads cluttering up this blog. :-)

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