Last night’s dinner was really wonderful for a few reasons:
1) The food: A lot of commenters have asked about the taste of the food. I wish I could post that. My favorite taste last night was the cherry varenyky dessert. They are like dumplings filled with cherries — not too sweet, but you can dip them in honey. Yum! One of the weirdest things I’ve tried is salo — which is basically lard. It looks like folded meat or bacon, but it’s a white color. You can see it in the video above. It’s not actually that bad! It tastes smokey, sort of like bacon.
2) The people: We dined with Lydia and several of her co-workers. Everyone is really sweet. One of the most fun things about traditional meals here is the toasts. People usually do many toasts! It’s traditional that the first toast is to health, and then the second one is to friendship. Usually after that, the third one is to women, or love, and then sometimes there are many more. Last night, there were lots of toasts to our new friendship, and the friendship between the U.S. and Ukraine.
3) The music: We got a surprise treat and were serenaded by a wonderful guitar player, Alex Starykowsky. He makes his own musical instruments and has different ones he created from all over the world. His music was really spectacular and livened up the evening, as you can see in the video. There was a lot of singing along and merriment.