Creativity & Tradition

The beginning of Springtime brings many cheerful things, some favourites include… leaving work in the daylight hours, popsicles, buds unfurling, and a family tradition that I look forward to every year at Easter… a Pysanka & Perogie Party.  It is a time to remember my Ukrainian Babas and Gidos (Grandmothers & Grandfathers), and be thankful they patiently taught me their secrets so I can pass them along to my loved ones. Every year for the past 20 years, save a couple covidy ones, I have lured my friends over with the promise of homemade perogies and encouraged, if not forced them into exercising their patience making pysankas.


Pysankas are eggs decorated with vibrant dyes using thinly drawn wax lines as a resist, and can be incomprehensibly intricate & beautifulThe process is painstaking & unforgiving if you are a perfectionist. Some of our family heirlooms are mind boggling in their detail. Sitting down to make pysankas each year exposes my lack of patience & solidifies the notion that perhaps this trait isn’t entirely hereditary. After all, the first one at the table & the last one to leave every year, is always my dearest friend & brilliant business partner Rebecca. Her steady hand, ability to focus & her unfathomable creativity always leaves everyone in awe. 


Perogies (in our family pronounced puh-dah-heyh) are also made with patience, and although not as hard to perfect, are time consuming & pleasantly repetitive in a contemplative kind of way. These pillowy pockets of dough, usually filled with potatoes & cheese are eaten in great quantities on special occasions. Over the years I have experimented with an array of fillings, but the classic mash of potatoes and sharp cheese remains a favourite. When I was a kid, my Babas used to mix sauerkraut perogies into the serving bowl, perhaps because they liked them, or perhaps because they were considered healthier, and so my cousins and I became expert detectives, avoiding them by being able to distinguish their subtle differences with a keen eye… the slightly darker colour & the almost indistinguishable bumpy texture gave them away. Sauerkraut, more palatable as an adult, now comes on the side… along with pickles, kolbassa, beets & lazy holubtchi (my deconstructed version of cabbage rolls). And don’t forget the sour cream. 


Once stomachs are full, the guests either eagerly return to the pysanka making table, or happily retire to the couch to relax & digest. 


Another Springtime has officially begun. 

Brandy Fedoruk
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