What is Dacha 2 Table?
Dacha 2 Table is an effort to spread the word about Eastern European cooking and honor its long-standing traditions. Often (and incorrectly) referred to as “Russian food,” each cuisine of the former Soviet countries shines on its own merits and deserves special attention. In addition to recording some very old and traditional recipes here, I will also do my best to share cultural and historic references and memories.
Recently, I’ve noticed increased curiosity in the United States about Eastern European food – Belarusian chef’s recipes featured in Wall Street Journal, Russian restaurants reviewed in New York Times, pelmeni from a food truck in NYC becoming a popular item of New York City street food… And I like it. So let Dacha 2 Table be a dialogue, not a monologue – let me know what you think of Eastern European food, ask any questions whatsoever, share your own recipes and memories with me. Let’s keep this trend and curiosity going, together.
The word “Dacha” refers to a cottage house with a backyard farm that, at one time, almost every Soviet family used to own. A dacha is not just a place – it is a lifestyle, a hobby, and inspiration for many people of my and my parents’ generations. Initially, having a Dacha was a necessity to be able to feed a family throughout the year. However, in time, Dacha has become a weekend getaway, a place for family gatherings and rewarding physical labor, and for being in harmony with nature and yourself. For me and many other kids born in the USSR, long before the farm to table concept became trendy, bringing food to a table straight from the farm, your own farm, used to be an integral part of our lives.
Where are the recipes coming from?
I am collecting recipes from all sources imaginable, from my grandma’s and mom’s handwritten recipe notebooks to old cookbooks, some of which have generously been presented to me by my grandma and others which I have discovered at used cookbook stores. From time to time, I like to add a twist to traditional Eastern European dishes or adapt them for practicality (to save you, for example, from adding a half pound of caviar to your Olivier or hunting for wild pheasant). Nonetheless, my goal is always to preserve the authenticity of these recipes. If you have a favorite recipe that you would like to feature in Dacha 2 Table, please let me know and we will make it happen.