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The Underrated Pleasures of Eastern European Dumplings

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For a long time, when I would talk to people about Ukrainian cuisine, I would hurry to note, apologetically, that “it’s not all about dumplings and potatoes, you know.” It has been drummed into Eastern Europeans, mostly by misguided Westerners, that our food is monotonously heavy, featuring little besides overcooked cabbage and potato-filled pasta. I was eager to prove that the cuisine of Ukraine and other ex-Soviet countries was as seasonal and regional as it was in places with more reputable cooking, like Italy and France. Our outdoor markets in spring and summer are full of bright soft herbs and sorrel, massive pink tomatoes and enormous watermelons, sour cherries and fragrant peaches, and our food during the warm part of the year is accordingly light and vibrant.

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