Setting a Traditional Table
Sometimes our holiday memories involve more than just the food. For Holly, the Ukrainian Borscht she makes each Easter is only part of the tradition. Setting the table brings joy and anticipation as she places heirloom pieces acquired from the women in her family on the holiday table. Each piece brings memories of her mother, her Auntie O.Z. and her Aunt Laura. As she looks over the table, she feels the presence of each of these special ladies.
Sausages, Pierogies, Sauerkraut Soup and Borscht – But Especially Borscht
Visiting Gram’s house for the Easter celebration always included sausages, pierogies, sauerkraut soup, and borscht. The borscht, though was Holly’s favorite. Lucky for her, her sisters were not quite as enamored with the Pepto Bismol colored soup as Holly is. Which, of course, meant more for her. What kid wouldn’t be happy with that outcome. As with so many family recipes, Gram didn’t pass on the borscht recipe before she passed away. So many of our traditional foods are lost to time this way. So we do what we can to replicate the flavors to help us hold on to the memories and traditions. And so, Ruth, Holly’s mom tested and retested until she was able to get the flavor and color of the borscht that graced Gram’s table. It may not be “authentic”, but does that really matter when that first bite evokes a place and time that you remember fondly?
Gram’s Borscht Recipe
- 2 (15 ounce) cans whole beets, drain and reserve juice and dice beets
- 1 (15 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
- 1/2 cup canned mushrooms, drained
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- In a large pot over medium heat, combine all ingredients and heat through.
- Serve with additional sour cream.