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Friday
Mar192010

VESELKA - UKRAINIAN RAINBOW IN NYC

The Veselka in the East Village of New York City has been a staple in the neighborhood for over 55 years.   What started as a small little counter has grown into a full scale restaurant open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.   Known for the best Borscht and Pierogis West of the Ukraine, Veselka is the go to restaurant  for anyone looking for home cooked favorites on Sunday  for brunch or on any night you have a craving.  

The charm of Veselka ( Rainbow in Ukrainian) is the feeling that you are in Eastern Europe.   Family run, and authentically staffed with many of the waiters and waitresses new to America from the Ukraine, the feeling this setting creates is impossible to fake.   

Much of the original success of the Veselka stems from Eastern European immigrants living in the East village that were looking for a little bit of home in these delicious, authentic recipes.   Add to that everyone who has or had a grandmother from the region, that grew up eating Ukrainian soul food.   Then add to that anyone with a grandmother from Central Europe who cooked similar dishes.  I myself am in this bunch.   My Paternal grandmother was Hungarian.   The youngest of 9, my grandmother was born in America but grew up with a strong link to Hungary from her older siblings and parents.   While she never learned the Hungarian language, happily the recipes were passed down.      Visits to my grandmothers house meant eating Hungarian delicacies such as stuffed cabbage, Haluska (pasta & cabbage), beet salad, & sweet little pastries  to name a few.   Ukrainian dishes are not exactly the same as Hungarian, but it is close enough to put a smile on my face. 

My story is not unique and thousands flock to the Veselka every week to remind them of a little bit of home cooking just like Mom or Grandma used to do.   I recently surprised my parents and took them to the Veselka for lunch on their anniversary.   My father was really pleased to try the stuffed cabbage that reminded me so much of his mother.   While the recipe is slightly different, he loved it!  

Now for the first time, the Veselka is sharing their famous recipes in a beautifully photographed cookbook.    The book gives you a chance to experiment with the recipes that might not have survived to your branch of the family tree.   It also is just a great coffee table book for those who would never cook, but appreciate the wonderful photography that can conjure up nostalgic feelings of a time gone by.  The book and the restaurant both have this effect.   I know I think of my grandmother every time I visit.    

To order the book now, click - VESELKA COOKBOOK

 

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