Authors

Petro Haivoronskyi

Petro Haivoronskyi

Born in 1958 in the Luhansk region of Ukraine, Petro Haivoronskyi, the author of The Kniahynia’s Comb, is a modern Ukrainian writer and journalist who has received several accolades including the Gold Medal of Ukrainian Journalism and the Honorary Ethnographer of the Donetsk Region. Haivoronskyi’s published works include his numerous contributions to the Free Thought Ukrainian newspaper in Australia and the Ukrainian works Miners’ Ballad (2002) and Mykola Momot: Life Without Intermissions (2010), a documentary novel about the Ukrainian opera singer.

Klym

Klym Polischuk

Klym Polischuk, author of Treasure of the Ages: Ukrainian Legends, was born into a Ukrainian peasant family at the end of the nineteenth century and he became active in the world of art and literature. His writing career was disrupted first by arrest and exile to Russia and then mobilisation to fight in World War I. During the 1920s his literary output included a range of novels and accounts of the Soviet revolution. He was fascinated by folklore and in 1921 produced his collection of Gothic tales, Treasure of the Ages. In 1929 he was again arrested and incarcerated in Soviet labour camps until his execution in 1937.

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836–1895) was an aristocrat and author, and a scholar of his homeland, the historic region of Halychyna (Galicia) in Ukraine. Best known to Western readers for his novella Venus in Furs (1870), and for his involuntary inspiration of the term ‘masochism’, von Sacher-Masoch wrote the short story Bloody Wedding in Kyiv in 1886. This fictionalised tale of the notorious Olha of Kyiv contains compelling historical details and betrays some curious insights into the author’s preoccupations.

Orest Somov

Orest Somov

The writer, literary critic, translator and ethnographer Orest Mykhailovych Somov was born in 1793 in the Ukrainain town of Vovlchansk, then a part of the Russian Empire. His family were Ukrainian gentry who were moderately well off. At the University of Kharkiv he became an admirer of Romantic literature and Gothic fiction. Somov moved to St Petersburg in 1817 where he continued writing and established himself as a critic and translator, editor and publisher – one of the first professional men of letters in the Russian Empire. He moved in literary circles that were involved in the Decembrist movement and advocated the exploration of folklore. Somov was drawn to the folklore of his native Ukraine, which he wove together with elements of Romantic literature and Gothic tales, in his works such as A Tale of Buried Treasures (1830). His stories and critical support inspired the literary greats such as Mykola Hohol (N. Gogol) and Aleksandr Pushkin. Somov remained in St Petersburg until his death in 1833.

Liudmyla

Liudmyla Starytska-Cherniakhivska

Liudmyla Starytska-Cherniakhivska, author of Living Grave: A Ukrainian Legend, was born in Kyiv in 1868. She wrote poetry, prose, drama and literary criticism for various publications including the Lviv almanac, Pershyi vinok. Her story Living Grave was first published in 1889 in the journal Kyivska Starina (Kyiv Antiquity). She supported Ukrainian nationalist causes and in 1919 she was co-founder and deputy president of the National Council of Ukrainian Women. In her sixties Liudmyla was first arrested and convicted during a show-trial of the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine in 1930. She was imprisoned and exiled. In June 1941 the 73-year-old woman was again arrested and accused of carrying out anti-Soviet activities then tortured. She died during the journey to exile in Kazakhstan and her body was thrown from the train at a location still unknown.

Svitlana Yakovenko

Svitlana Yakovenko

Svitlana Yakovenko is the author of Taste of Ukraine, a professional translator and an expert home cook. Svitlana spent many years seeking out and adapting the recipes of her homeland for Taste of Ukraine.

Svitlana tasted, tested, presented and photographed dishes for the book to ensure the recipes were both faithful to the culinary traditions of rural Ukraine and within the reach of home cooks around the world.

Svitlana was born in the Central region of Ukraine and moved to Sydney, Australia, in the 1990s where she studied Literature and then Law.

Interview with the author – Svitlana Yakovenko

Svitlana, what prompted you to embark on such a demanding project, this cookbook that would take so many years to complete?

Quite simply, after living happily in Australia for years, I could not forget the smell and taste of the beautiful dishes of my childhood. My Australian friends who came to my place for dinner always commented favourably on the Ukrainian dishes and so I wanted to share the recipes with a larger audience.

Why is Ukrainian cuisine relatively undiscovered and how did you capture authentic recipes for Taste of Ukraine?

Unfortunately, there are few surviving written records of the history and recipes of Ukrainian cuisine from before the 19th century. It took me three years to research Ukrainian cuisine in order to find, reproduce – and often to adapt – old recipes, and to record my family recipes.

In what ways did you make Taste of Ukraine unique?

Firstly, there are not many comprehensive Ukrainian cookbooks in English at all, yet we have so much to be proud of. The Ukrainian cuisine is versatile and I tried to incorporate at least a few examples of dishes from the various regions of Ukraine. There are recipes that were recorded by ethnographers two centuries ago and recipes that are relatively new. The recipes range from those known to the whole nation to my family’s secret recipes. Then throughout the book there are articles dedicated to a specific dish, or focusing on different aspects of Ukrainian cuisine including its role in society. There are also hundreds of photographs, which I think make this book unique and really give “a taste of Ukraine”.

How did you manage the process of both writing and publishing the book?

A team of people who worked on this book, as well as those who helped and supported me, were truly dedicated to the project. As a result, I was happy to see the book reach such a high professional standard, including high value production and English language editing.

After producing such a comprehensive work is there anything else about Ukrainian cuisine that you would like to explore?

I do have a particular interest in borshch! For a lot of Ukrainian food fans too it is something of an obsession. Having collected many more borshch recipes than we could fit into Taste of Ukraine I think there might be a place for a small book dedicated to this addictive soup…