Pillowy potato dumplings, dusky mushroom soups, plum cakes full of butter: These Slavic soul foods are as much a part of my paternal DNA as my hazel eyes and dark curls. Like clockwork, autumn’s chill triggers my craving for the sweet-and-savory flavors of my people. And it seems a new generation of eaters has decided Eastern European food is not just cozy, but cool.
Even before the conflict in Ukraine trained the eyes of the world on the region, back in the early days of the pandemic, chefs Jessica and Trina Quinn launched a pop-up called Dacha 46 from their Brooklyn apartment. Their kapusta piroshki (fried yeast dough filled with caramelized onion, cabbage and carrot) and gravity-defying hazelnut kievsky cakes were drawn from Jessica’s Latvian-Ukrainian-Jewish heritage.