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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ukrainian recipe: Remembrance Borsch (with yellow beets)

This recipe originated with Ukrainians in the United States, where by the early 2000s it was becoming part of their Thanksgiving tradition.

This yellow-coloured borsch is served as the first course of Thanksgiving Day dinner. It is always accompanied by a moment of silence. This is in remembrance of the millions of Ukrainians who died in the Holodomor famine-genocide of 1932-33 and the following Years of Terror at the hands of soviet communists. As well, in remembrance and gratitude for those who survived, and for the family's own abundance today.

The recipe is patterned after the meatless borsch served at Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner, Sviat Vechir. It varies from family to family, but the one constant is the substitution of yellow beets for the red.

Yellow (golden) beets give the broth a golden colour. Yellow is a colour often related to mourning in Ukrainian culture.

To make Remembrance Borsch, start with a mushroom broth. If you can get them, used dried mushroom caps imported from Poland. (These are the closest to those that used to come from Ukraine before Chornobyl.) Otherwise, use a combination of Italian porcinis, Japanese shiitakes, or other flavourful species.

Soak dried mushrooms several hours or overnight. Wash carefully to get rid of any bits of sand or dirt. Strain the dark water through a coffee filter and add it to the salted cooking water for the washed mushrooms. Let it simmer several hours, adding more boiling water as needed.

If you’re pressed for time, the ready-made mushroom broth found in organic stores or delis will do.

To the broth, add chopped or shredded beets, chopped potato, carrot, onion, mushrooms, dillweed, a bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper. There are no rules, other than using ingredients that even the poorest peasant would have in his or her bit of garden.

Add your favourite vushka (mushroom-stuffed mini perogie-like dumplings), sprinkle with chopped fresh dill.

If you can’t find yellow beets, use a combination of white turnips and a parsnip (for sweetness). Colour the broth with a few strands of saffron, a pinch of turmeric, or as a last resort, a few drops of yellow food colouring.

If you don’t have the time or skill to make vushka, dried mushroom-filled Italian tortellini are a reasonable facsimile.

Don’t skimp on the fresh dill. (Make sure to use fresh, not dried dill weed or dill seed.) Most supermarkets carry fresh dill year round. As well, it can be chopped and frozen fresh for use later.

Whether or not you are celebrating American Thanksgiving, this is an excellent symbolic borsch to serve during Holodomor Remembrance week wherever you are in the world.

This recipe and the accompanying information came by email from Peter Borisow, of the Hollywood Trident Foundation.

Update: It has been presented on Nash Holos Ukrainian Roots Radio by Judy Hrynenko (audio link here) and Sylvia Molnar (audio link here). These features have aired every November for the past several years in honour of Holodomor Remembrance.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Canada honours memory of Ukrainians murdered by Stalin's famine

The week of November 21-27 is the fourth annual National Holodomor Awareness Week, which was first launched by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

The goal is to annually unite the Ukrainian community and all Canadians in remembering the victims and raising awareness of this genocide the 1932-33 Ukrainian famine genocide known as Holodomor (translation: death by hunger).

This year, International Holodomor Memorial Day will be observed on

Canada's Prime Minister acknowledges 78th anniversary of the Holodomor

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued this statement today:
“On Saturday, November 26, I join Canadians in remembering and honouring the millions of men, women and children who suffered horribly and perished during the Ukrainian famine-genocide of 1932-1933. Moreover, I encourage all Canadians to participate in the many Holodomor commemoration ceremonies taking place this weekend across the country to learn about this terrible episode in human history.

“The Ukrainian famine, under the oppressive Soviet communist regime of Josef Stalin, remains one of the most atrocious crimes against humanity ever perpetrated. It also reminds us of

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Nominations officially opened for Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism

Jason Kenney, Canada's Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, calls on Canadians to submit nominations for the 4th annual Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism.

The award pays tribute to people in Canada who have contributed to multiculturalism and the integration of new Canadians. It commemorates the legacy of the late Senator Paul Yuzyk, who worked to establish multiculturalism as a fundamental characteristic of Canadian identity.

Here's the public service announcement in both official languages. (Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be in Ukrainian. It's still not an official language here in Canada. LOL)

While a single winner of the award is chosen each year, their selection is from one of two categories: Outstanding Achievement or Lifetime Achievement.

The Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

More chocolate on this week's edition of Nash Holos

Coming up this weekend on the PCJ Radio network, and on the podcast for last Sunday's Vancouver broadcast:
  • On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia's recipe for chocolate honey cake.
  • On Ukraine News Outlook, Keith Perron reports on ongoing gas talks with Russia, corn exports, ban on stray dog killing.
  • On Kultural Capsule: Vasyl Pawlowsky profiles Petro Jacyk and his legacy.
  • An interview with Doreen Pendgracs, author of her recently released book, Before You Say Yes: A Guide to the Pleasures and Pitfalls of Volunteer Boards.
  • And as usual, a Ukrainian proverb, other items of interest, and great Ukrainian music.
Vancouver podcast available now on the Playlist page at the Nash Holos website.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nash Holos audio archives updated for week of Nov. 13, 2011

On this week's show:
  • Ukrainian Food Flair: Sylvia shares her recipe for malay (hutsul cornbread)
  • Ukraine News Outlook: gas talks with Russia, a bleak job market for youth, and new satellite TV
  • Ukrainian Christian Heritage: Fr. Ihor Kutash on 16-year old Ukrainian saint, St. Juliana
  • Did You Know? With Irena Bell, producer and host of the Ukrainian radio show in Ottawa on Canadian Brigadier General Joseph Romanow
  • Ukrainian Proverb of the week
  • Great Ukrainian music!
  • This week’s musical lineup:

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Chocolate soup, Ukrainian language, and Viktor Yanukhovych featured on this week's edition of Nash Holos

Audio archives are updated with Sunday's Vancouver broadcast on the Nash Holos Ukrainian Roots Radio website.

Here's what's on:
  • Ukrainian Food Flair: This is Natalia’s farewell broadcast and she leaves us with three very unusual soup recipes from the 1929 cookbook of Olha Senatovych: chocolate, wine & beer soups.
  • Kultural Capsule: Vasyl Pawlowsky on Ukrainian Language Day which falls on November 9th.
  • Ukraine News Outlook: Exclusive interview with President Yanukhovych (courtesy EuroNews) on the cancellation of a meeting in Brussels to discuss Ukraine’s integration into the European Union.
  • Proverb of the Week
  • Upcoming events in Vancouver's Ukrainian community 
  • Great Ukrainian music by Pryvit, Zubrivka, Berkut, Paris to Kyiv, VV, Sofia Fedyna, Sashko, Ukrainian Old Timers, Prairie Crocus … and the new theme song for Euro 2012 – Let’s Play by Ruslana.
The international edition of this show will air on the PCJ Radio partner stations this weekend, and on CHLY 101.7FM in Nanaimo on Wednesday Nov 16 at 2 pm.


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Vancouver

Mir Huculak in a playful pose with cultural artifacts
at the Ukraine Pavilion during Fusion Fest 2011 in
Surrey. The giant pysanka egg he's holding is the
creation of Marcia Moroz, a Richmond artist.
Photo credit: Marcia Moroz.
Mir Huculak is a very well-known personality in the BC Ukrainian community to which he has devoted himself for decades.

Less well-known perhaps are the details and scope of his work and accomplishments over the years, in particular the past 3 or 4 years as Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Vancouver.

In my 20+ years here on the west coast of Canada, I have noticed that at any festival where there is Ukrainian presence, it’s impossible to not bump into Mir!

However, quite frankly I had no idea really what exactly it is that a Consul (or for that matter a Consolate) does.

At one festival this past summer I had the good fortune to chat with Mir for a few minutes. He graciously agreed to come on the show to tell Nash Holos listeners a bit about his role as Honorary Consul of Ukraine in British Columbia, what function a consulate serves and some of projects he is currently working on at the consulate.

Our interview aired on Nash Holos Ukrainian Roots Radio in Vancouver on AM1320 on October 23, 2011, and on the PCJ Radio Network the following weekend. You can hear the full interview here.

The consulate of Ukraine for British Columbia is located at #807-938 Howe Street, Vancouver. If you’d like to meet with Mir, you can book an appointment by phone at (604) 331-2505 or by email.

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