By Isa Covo

Every time I watch the news about the war in Ukraine on television and the destruction, chaos and carnage, I always wonder why did it start, and why it doesn’t end. I do have an idea, although I could be wrong: Vladimir Putin imagined he would bring back the old Russia, and he would be her ruler. How long did he ruminate on this idea?

Putin is sixty-nine years old; his next birthday will be his seventieth, and perhaps he sees himself becoming an old man and he wants to be legendary. Ukraine, a peaceful neighbor seemed an easy beginning for his planned conquests.

In his latest close-ups, his eyes no longer look hard and glacial, they have a haunted look. Is it possible that he has a serious illness that makes him relentless?

The Ukrainians proved to be courageous and resilient despite the tragic circumstances they live in, and which is not of their making. The population, against all odds, is solidly united behind a president who showed exceptional strength, more than anyone expected of him, or anyone else for that matter. What is remarkable as well is his image of a common and ordinary man, without fanfare, and his discourse is simple, but to the point.

Ukraine could set an example for several nations. It deserves our admiration and our support to end this unjust war, and beyond, to help with its reconstruction.

KISSEL. Photo by Isa Covo.


This is a cold soup, which, depending on its ingredients, is served as a first course, or a dessert. It originated in Kyiv and was made with oats, but is more commonly made with sweet fruits, and is usually served as a dessert. The most common ones are made with red summer fruits, but it can also be made with apricots and peaches, apples and pears. The combinations and the “family favorites” are endless. I made this one with red cherries.


  • 3 cups washed and pitted red cherries
  • Water to cover
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons potato starch or corn starch
  • 1 lemon, juice and grated zest
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla (optional)


  • Place the prepared cherries in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for five minutes. Lower the heat to low and, with a spoon, break up the cherries as they simmer. Cook for another five minutes or so.
  • Stir in the sugar and cook an additional two minutes.
  • Stir in the starch making sure it dissolves completely and cook an additional minute, stirring, in order to bring the mixture to a creamy consistency.
  • Take the pan off the heat, add the juice and zest, and carefully pour the kissel in the container of a blender.
  • Blend at medium speed until the mixture is homogenized.
  • Divide into four or six glasses or bowls and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Note: For a thicker consistency, add an additional 1 to 3 spoonfuls of starch.

Tags :

Leave a Reply