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The Veselka Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Landmark Restaurant in New York's East Village Hardcover – October 27, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1 edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312385684
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312385682
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #836,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What started as a modest candy shop/newsstand in 1954 grew into a humble lunch counter and is now a bustling 24-hour restaurant in New York's East Village. Ukrainian fare mixed with American favorites fill the pages of this gift-sized restaurant cookbook, interspersed with the history and stories of the people behind the business as well as an introduction to and celebration of Ukrainian culture. Broken down by course (with additional chapters including Breakfast Anytime), recipes for popular dishes such as borscht, pierogi and banana chocolate chip cupcakes are accessibly written. Diner food, including tuna melts, hamburgers, buttermilk pancakes and apple pie, have more than their fare share of space, but are offset with Ukrainian gems such as kutya, a wheat berry dish; uzvar, dried fruit compote; and bigos, a pork stew with sauerkraut and onions. The spirit of community that grew from this beloved neighborhood spot (veselka means rainbow) informs the pages of this unique cookbook, which brings readers everywhere a little piece of a New York institution. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Praise for Veselka

“It’s one thing to have delicious food, it’s another thing to have it available twenty-four hours a day. Veselka has always been there when I’ve had a three a.m. pierogi emergency.”
- Jon Stewart

“Veselka excels at comfort food. . . . Even better are the Ukrainian specials. Whatever your mood, something on Veselka’s menu will appeal to you.”
- TimeOut New York

“Borscht, whether hot or cold, is hot these days, as a culinary glasnost. The best borscht happens to be found at an old standby, the twenty-four-hour Ukrainian cafe, [Veselka].”
- New York Magazine, The Best of New York

“Whenever the craving hits for hearty Eastern European fare, Veselka fits the bill with fluffy and light pierogi, stuffed cabbage, grilled Polish kielbasa, freshly made potato pancakes, and classic soups, such as a sublime borscht. Breakfast is special here. If all you want is a burger, don’t worry---it’s a classic, too.”
- Frommer’s


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I am ordering several more of these, even without having tried the recipes just yet.
S. Dow
So many memories and so much great home style food, a disappearing commodity in the NYC chi chi restaurant scene back then.
Mattie
If you love Ukranian food, American food, and good food in general, treat yourself and buy this book.
Gloria Sosnoski

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Gloria Sosnoski on October 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you live in New York City, Veselka'a is probably your best friend already; and if you don't, it's worth a trip to New York. The Borscht is the best, as are the pierogis, the soups, and also the tastiest burger. All the best recipes are in the cookbook. The ingredients are accessible and the recipes easy to follow. And if you read the stories as you go along, it's the next best thing to being there. If you love Ukranian food, American food, and good food in general, treat yourself and buy this book. Then buy another copy to give to your best friend who also loves good food. Now I'm waiting for the sequel...
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jean E. Hawrylo on January 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The comfort foods of my childhood were pierogi, filled cabbage, kasha, varnishkas, and cabbage soup. My mother cooked without recipes and over the years some of my attempts to duplicate these foods have been successful, some not. Then my sister told me about Veselka and its cookbook. This tome is my call home to check on a recipe. It brings back memories of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings gathered around long tables on Christmas or Easter, or around the kitchen table in my grandmother's kitchen. This food tastes like it does in my memory. A visit to Veselka is on the itinerary during a trip to New York City.

This cookbook definitely needs to be in the kitchen of anyone interested in Eastern European cooking.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Dow on April 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just purchased this book as a gift for my mother, an avid cookbook collector. We are of Ukranian ancestry. Both my mother and I have been to this restaurant before and the food is exceptional. I peeked through the book and couldn't put it down. The recipes look fool-proof and true to the "real thing." I also love that the author includes pictures and history of the restaurant. I appreciate the author's honesty and down-to-earth writing style. He also includes cooking tips for many of the recipes. I am ordering several more of these, even without having tried the recipes just yet. I have faith they will be exceptional! This book is very gift-worthy. :-)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Forester203 on May 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this as a birthday present for a fabulous cook with Ukranian roots -- she loves it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. Larrabee on February 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
My husband introduced me to Veselka shortly after we started dating. We took a trip to New York so he could show me all of his old haunts from his undergraduate days. This restaurant was on the list of places. He recommended the raspberry blintzes, and he was right. They were delicious. I was so sorry we only got to go there once during our trip. This cookbook was a present for Valentine's Day. Growing up in an Eastern European family pierogies, halupki (stuffed cabbage), and kielbasa were staples of every family gathering. With some of these recipes to add to our ethnic arsenal we're thinking of having a Ukrainian Independence Day party. Bring on the borscht and the polkas!
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Format: Hardcover
Second Avenue and 9th Street in New York City's East Village is where it all began back in 1954 when a Ukrainian immigrant named Wolodymyr Darmochwal opened Veselka Candy Shoppe, a newsstand and candy shop. Originally drawing patrons from the local area, the reputation of Veselka grew as the candy shop grew into a cafe and was rebuilt from the bottom up and renovated in 1996 by Tom Birchard (who started working part-time at Veselka in 1967, while a sophomore in college, as the only non-Ukrainian employee) and assumed ownership from his father-in-law, Wolodymyr Darmochwal, in 1975. When Wolodymyr Darmochwal passed away in 1975, the neighborhood was known for its heroin addicts; by the time The Veselka Cookbook was published in 2009, apartments on the same block where Veselka stood sold routinely for over a million dollars and now constituted some of the most sought-after real estate in the city.

This is the story of Veselka verbally and via color and black-and-white archival images; and, this is the sharing of some of Veselka's scrumptious recipes. For, whatever your preference--be it take out, sit in, or do-it-yourself fare at home, The Veselka Cookbook not only provides splendid recipes, but also shares its secrets and stories about celebrity customers, the restaurant's other lesser-known longtime fans, local artists who've adopted it as a second home, its own 'artist-in-residence,' and offers a behind-the-scenes look at how Veselka serves 5,000 gallons of borscht a year and hand makes 3,000 varenyky/pyrohy (pierogi) daily--all this in addition to the easy-to-follow recipes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Varano, Michelle on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was very pleased when I received this cookbook. Being of Ukrainian heritage it was nice to see Baba's recipes written down in English and with measurements so that I can make some of the foods I grew up enjoying.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Christine Greene on February 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was a wonderful and evocative trip back to the days when I went to school at St George's in the East Village. The recipes are reminiscent of my own Ukrainian family traditions. Just reviewing them brought back memories of my father cooking in our kitchen at major holidays, recreating the dishes from his childhood for us to savor. This book gets as close as it's possible to living with these traditions through food. Loved it!
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