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?


~ Leigh

Holly’s family and the handwritten borscht recipe.

Gram’s Borscht Recipe

Easy Borscht Recipe

Gram's Borscht Recipe

Prep Time: 4 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 19 minutes
Course: Easter, Holidays, Soups
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Servings: 6
Calories: 152kcal
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.


  • 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.


Serving: 6ounces | Calories: 152kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 453mg | Potassium: 266mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 250IU | Vitamin C: 3.5mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 0.7mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @theheritagecookbookproject or tag #theheritagecookbookproject!


Holly is my split apart.  We finish each other’s sentences, we call each other on the phone simultaneously, and sometimes we even dress alike – without planning to.   Our husbands have come to accept these oddities and just raise their eyebrows in acknowledgement of a “coincidental” purchase, a turn of phrase or the latest great idea we both came up with – at the same time, separately.  She is my soul sister.

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