“If your wife is Ukrainian, you will not have the traditional bachelor’s bread with peanut butter; you will have a really good restaurant at home, because Ukrainian women are some of the best cooks in the world! They are able to cook something delicious even from “nothing”. But if a West Ukrainian woman arranges a special reception (Christmas, Easter, New Year, wedding, birthday, or simply just a meeting with friends or relatives), she could actually stay up all night before the event preparing for the festivity.
It is a quote of one my stories I wrote about the incredible hospitality of Ukrainians. Now I would like to tell more, actually, about Ukrainian women and some their features. Also I want to say that I will tell mostly about West Ukrainian women. As I grew up in West Ukraine, I know very well the life there, also many experiences and stories from my family, friends and other people of whom I met during my work in journalism.
When I was 16 years old, all my classmate girls already were thinking seriously about marriage. Yes, I am not joking. It is tradition in Ukraine, to get married at a very young age. This tradition is especially strong in the West Ukrainian villages. As I am a farm girl, I know it very well. I remember that even 20-year-old girls were called “old maids” in my village. I am silent about myself at what age I got married.:)
Actually, a lot of such 30-40 years old are now searching for husbands abroad because almost all the Ukrainian men are already married before the age of 30. Well, everybody has own choice. Perhaps, if I would think more about marriage when I was 16 years old, maybe, I already would be a grandmother, like many my classmates are now. But at 16 years old I was thinking about studying in University, about future work in newspaper and I did not think how to bake a pie properly. I remember my classmate Lyuba telling me about her first cooking experience and how she burnt the pie. A young gentleman classmate overheard Lyuba and said “What? You are 16 years old, and you are not able to bake a pie?” Even at such a young age, it is expected by society to be proficient in cooking.
So, this story can explain more why Ukrainian women become such good cooks. It is because in their 30’s, they already have had a big experience of cooking.
OK, to know how to cook, it is just half of the story. The second half it is that all the good West Ukrainian mothers are to teach their daughters before their marriage, “When you are cooking for the family, remember: the best pieces of meal must be to your husband and children”.
It is not just truth, but historical truth. To give you an example, I will translate the words of one of the West Ukrainian folk song “Otkel Sonechko Shodilo” …