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Sandy Lake Dance Club’s Cookbook Features Ukrainian Fare

The Shevchenko Dance Ensemble’s cookbook was a 30th anniversary project for this dance club for children and youth

In 1977, parents in the small village of Sandy Lake were looking for ways to keep awareness of Ukrainian culture strong in their kids. They organized a dance club, which today is known as the Shevchenko Dance Ensemble.

Rural children and youth around here haven’t stopped dancing since.

Lots of kids have learned to dance here, says Darcy Rystephanuk, a Sandy Lake mom of two dancing daughters. At the height of the club’s days, they’ve had as many as 40.

Today about 15 children and youth drawn from Sandy Lake as well as several surrounding communities continue to dance with the ensemble, learning the intricate steps of this stylized, energetic and fast-paced cultural dance. Currently, an instructor drives out from Brandon once a week.

It’s no small feat to form such a club, keep running successfully and entertaining the crowds year after year. So when they neared their 30th anniversary three years ago, the Shevchenko Dance Ensemble decided to create a cookbook as another contribution to their community.

The Shevchenko Dance Ensemble Cookbook – Celebrating 30 Years contains all the family favourites that have kept young folk fuelled for dancing over the years. The 140-page coil-bound cookbook is a treasure for another reason too. Several of the recipes in it also reflect the unique diet and foodways of Ukraine.

This is a cookbook you can turn to help you make an Easter bread, or perogy dough, a traditional dish out of buckwheat, or Perishke, says Darcy. She has.

“I’m not Ukrainian myself,” she says. “But I married into a Ukrainian family so I’ve learned to cook things like the Christmas dishes.”

Here’s a few recipes you’ll find in the cookbook. Happy eating! And happy dancing too!


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1-1/2 c. buckwheat grits

1 tsp. salt

1/2 lb. bacon or garlic

sausage, chopped

4 c. boiling water

1 medium onion, chopped

2 c. sauerkraut

Add salt to boiling water. Pour water over buckwheat until it is absorbed. Fry bacon until brown, then add chopped onion and set aside. Scald sauerkraut, and drain off water. Add sausage or bacon and onion mixture to the sauerkraut. Salt and pepper to taste, then place over the buckwheat in a roaster. Pour 1/2 c. water over all and bake for 30 minutes in 350F oven.


3 tbsp. butter

1/2 c. white sugar

1 c. honey

2 eggs

1/2 c. milk

4 c. flour

3 tsp. baking soda

Cream butter, sugar and honey. Add eggs and beat well. Add milk, sifted flour and baking soda. Mix. Refrigerate for one hour. Drop by teaspoon on greased cookie sheet and bake in 350F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

2 c. wheat

3 qt. water

1 c. poppy seed

2/3 c. sugar


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1/3 c. honey, dissolved in

3/4 c. hot water

1/2 c. chopped walnuts,

almonds or pecans

Dry wheat in 250F oven for one hour, stir occasionally. Wash, soak in cold water overnight. Next morning, bring wheat to boiling point, simmer three to four hours, until kernels burst open. Scald poppy seed, simmer three to five minutes. Drain, grind twice using the finest blade of a food chopper. Set aside. Combine honey and sugar in hot water. Set aside. Before serving, add sweetened mixture, poppy seed and nuts to cooled, boiled wheat.

2 pkg. yeast

3 c. warm water

1 tbsp. sugar

4 eggs

1/4 c. sugar

2/3 c. oil

1 tsp. salt


1 c. finely chopped dill

1 medium onion,

finely shredded

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

8 c. flour or more to

make a soft dough

Dissolve yeast in 1 cup of water and 1 tbsp. of sugar. Let rise 10 minutes. Beat eggs; add sugar, oil, salt, dill, onion and garlic. Add 2 cups water. Add yeast mixture and mix well. Add 3 cups flour, mix well. Add remaining flour. Knead well. Let rise until double in size. Punch down. Make buns and place in muffin tins. Let rise to double in size. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. When baked brush with melted butter.



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