God bless every Baba and Didukh, Bubbe and Zayde who contributed a piece of the story or a recipe. Babas Marika and Pawlina, especially. My Mom, Hanya, who let me stain her precious copy of Traditional Ukrainian Cookery with beets, butter and honey from the time I could read, and who dances up a kolamayka storm. My Dad, Petro, who escaped both a Stalinist prison camp (“collective”) and a Nazi labor camp and passed on his skill with horses and dogs. He insisted I attend Ukrainian language school, listen to and sing our music and read our literature. What irritated me as a child, is a treasure now.A big hug to my almost-stepdad, Otto Prockert, who patiently endured my teenage mocking of his German background, and who taught me the power of love and redemption. You were the Dad I never had. You'll have to forgive me again, for the Ukrainian-German Warm Potato Salad.
A loving nod to those who shall remain nameless because (a) I was too young to remember my family's friends names; or (b) you told me something outrageous at a:
Winnipeg/ MontrealToronto/Calgary/Edmonton/Vancouver/Seattle bus stop/bar/Legion/community center/thrift store/church/shul, then left; or (c) I was sworn to anonymity.
What happens in the Old Country, stays in the Old Country.
Writing is borne afloat by a tribe of other creatives and supporters.
In alphabetical order:
Steve and Bill Allen, for encouraging my writing and being all around good guys. Thank you for the comedy and music tapes Steve, and RIP.
Jean Auel, for your “Earth’s Children” series, starting with Clan of the Cave Bear. It was wonderful to discuss the Ukrainian domestication of horses with you, and be inspired to explore the historical facts upon which your books are based.
Harvey and Oscar Cantin and families, owners of Cantin’s Drugstore in Winnipeg. Thank you for your kindness to a senior lady and her granddaughter. The Chocolate Medivnyk (Honey Cake) is for you.
Colleen, Chef Extraordinaire and Den Mother to Many, who taught me how to roast peppers perfectly.
CompuserveBooks & Writers Forum. Thank you for critiquing ideas, editing chapters and trying recipes as they emerged, and convincing me of the value of Baba's stories and recipes. In particular, Eve Ackerman, Esme Ann Binoth, Deniz Bevan, Jo Bourne, Marte Brengle, Claire Greer, Diana Gabaldon, Laura Leigh, Barbara Rogan. Kathleen Horrigan for her concept of “mammogrammed” fish balls. A special nod to the Kid Crit special interest group, where the character of Baba sprung full blown from my children's story: “Rosie’s Rescue.”
Twyla Francois and CETFA and Animals' Angels. Thank you for educating me on modern factory farming practices.
Victoria Cownden, Gary P. Green, Mary Holland, Jacquie Hunt, Margo McLoughlin, Cat Thom, Tim Tingle. Fine storytellers all. Thank you for your camaraderie and support.
Chris Gardner, whose encouraging words and generosity helped me summon the courage to complete and publish this book. Start Where You Are, he said, and I did.
Lina de Guevara and Marianne van der Meij of Puente Theatre, who first created the opportunity for me to perform Ukrainian legends and explore Baba's emerging voice.
The staff throughout the Fraser Valley Regional Library System.
Morris, Arthur and Bernie Gunn, “The Fabulous Baker Boys” of Winnipeg. Gunn’s Bakery is where I first tasted the ultimate poppyseed cookie as a tot. My Babas were then nagged to produce this delight on a regular basis. An entire chapter in this book is dedicated to poppyseed, largely due to this sublime experience. When Baba urges use of only genuine rye and pumpernickel bread, it’s Gunn’s she has in mind. I’m still working on the secrets of your incredible coffee cake and bagels…
Ben and Phyllis Hochman and family, owners of the finest deli in Canada, Winnipeg’s Oasis. Your early influence on my idea of great food is considerable. I’ve not been able to find garlic dills, corned beef or pickled herring as good as yours anywhere. I’ve attempted to duplicate the latter in this book. Also a big warm hug to Sophie, the waitress who served perfect grilled cheese to a happy kid.
My soul brothers from the New Orleans Dirty Dozen Brass Band: Efrem, Kevin, Roger and the rest of ya big lugs. You blew into town like jazz angels, and convinced me I'm most beautiful when I'm loud and powerful. Wish I was telling Baba stories in the Lower Ninth. Love forever.
Steve Ram’s All India Sweets Restaurant in Vancouver. Where Baba had the epiphany that Ukrainian food becomes Fusionski when combined with delights such as jasmine rice, coriander and curry. And Matka Bozha, traditional cheese patties (syrnichky/paneer) with sweet and sour sauce.
Beloved Santa Barbara Market on Vancouver’s funky Commercial Drive, and the wonderful Cioffi’s Meat Market on Hastings. Where Baba gets her mixed meat and cheese samples for impromptu lunches. Santa Barbara’s immense collection of olive oils gave her the opportunity to experiment beyond the traditional sunflower oil. Who knew Italian goes so well with Ukrainian?
I won’t be the judge of who serves the best smoked meat in Montreal, so will thank two regular haunts equally: Schwartz’s and Dunn’s.
Maria Alexakis and The Shadbolt Centre, for booking me to tell Ukrainian legends and horse stories.
Victoria Kaspryk and the Ukrainian Cultural Centre of Victoria for selling my storytelling CD, “Legends of Ukraine and Canada,” in which Baba's distinct voice was first recorded.
The librarians at Vancouver Public Library, Downtown and Britannia branches, who helped with research and morale boosting. Nathalie and Maria, in particular, you are gems. Thanks for the laughter, and for recommending Tony the mechanic to keep my beloved old GM tank alive!
Krista Boehnert and all librarians at Victoria Public Library, Downtown branch, who welcomed my storytelling. Also to Esquimalt branch, where the librarians overcame their squeamishness to help me research spiders.
Vancouver Poetry Slam at Café Deux Soleils for your “live editing.” Most special thanks to Sean McGarragle, Slammaster extraordinaire.
Winnipeg’s White House Restaurant, for setting the standard in coleslaw.
With lyubov (love),
Raisa Marika Stohyn