"These dishes have magical properties, little mouse. They were once served on the longest night of the year," Baba said, while peeling potatoes for the varenyky. "Each one has a story, and when you make them, you should remember the story like a prayer for your family."
"A prayer, Baba?" Like the 'Our Father'?" I asked, while playing with the hay we were going to spread under the table for dinner.
"A little bit. But these prayers are older than that. They are like the prayers of a pine tree when a bird makes a nest in her branches, or the prayers of a river when she is full of fish. These are prayers of the spirit, blessings that the mistress of the house prepares for her entire family. You must make each dish with intention. It is a special job, to be taken seriously--" Baba stooped down to tickle me "--but also with much joy. That's why it's good to cook in a house filled with laughter. Some of that joy will get passed into the food and will help the meal be happy."
- The Silence of Trees, Valya Dudycz Lupescu