A Holiday Gift From Ukraine
areniki (from the Russian verb, varit, “to boil”) came to Russia from Ukraine. Nikolai Gogol, also from Ukraine, is said to have mused that life without his beloved vareniki would be inconceivable. Many contemporary Russians (and Ukrainians) would surely agree. So it is not surprising that Russians have adopted vareniki (and Gogol, for that matter) as their own. As if to stake their claim, Russian cookbooks often offer a recipe for vareniki starorusskiye (Old Russian Vareniki). In fact, it is common in both Russian and Ukrainian cookbooks for dumpling directions to begin: “Make dough as for vareniki,” as if any self-respecting cook should know how to make a good vareniki dough without a recipe.
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