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Meeting Your Ukraine Girl And Your Future In-Laws: How To Conduct Yourself During The Dinner

November 28, 2016 at 8.13pm by
Ukrainian Family

Meeting your Ukrainian bride’s family is practically an exercise of your stomach: Slavic cultures are all about food, and they’re pretty “notorious” for “force-feeding” visitors and guests, including potential in-laws. And so, if there’s anything you must brace for when you go meet your Ukraine girl’s family, it would be the fact that you just might get “force fed.”

The “force feeding” shouldn’t be a problem: If you’re like most people who love food as a rule, then you should be able to enjoy the activity of meeting your Ukraine girl’s family. Who wouldn’t love being able to sample cuisine from a country listed as one of “The Top 20 Best Countries In The World For Food”?

So here’s how to brace for the “force feeding” that you’re about to face when you go met your Ukraine bride’s family:

  • Start being open to “strange” cuisine. Eat more Asian, European, Jewish, and Slavic cuisine before you head over to Ukraine. While Asian is vastly different, and European, Jewish, and Slavic food are close to Ukrainian food, just the act of changing what you usually eat will get you used to eating food from Ukraine. Ukrainian cuisine is savory, flavorful, and rich, so if you like Creole food and casserole dishes, you’ll survive.
  • Get familiar with Borscht. Borscht is common among Slavic countries, and it’s usually a staple in Ukrainian families’ menus. If you find the concept of a red-colored sour soup a little gross, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! Borscht is a staple in Slavic and Jewish cuisine for a reason. Who knows, it may even grow on you.
  • If you love bacon you may like Salo. “Salo” is salted pork fat, and bacon is essentially close to the dish. Even if the concept sounds odd to some, if you think about “Salo” as just a Slavic version of bacon, you’ll most likely survive.
  • Learn to love dumplings and ravioli. Another Ukrainian staple is “Varenyky,” which is essentially ravioli or a type of dumpling dish with cabbage, cherry, cottage cheese, or potato fillings. If you already like Chinese dumplings or Ravioli, you’re all set!
  • Now learn to love all that in HUGE quantities. After you’ve trained yourself to like these dishes, now’s the time to love these foods in multiple servings. Since Ukrainian families are all about dumping huge portions on their guests, it’s time you learn how to consume bigger portions compared to what you’re used to.

Food that tastes really good will go down easy, so the “Olympic-style food contest-type binge” that you may start to feel on a Ukrainian family’s dinner table isn’t so bad it may sound. However, there’s really a point when you may feel full, though you may think it impolite to decline more portions heaped on your plate. Well, there’s a way to signal that you don’t want more portions, without being impolite.

Etiquette Tips When Having Dinner With Your Ukrainian Future In-Laws

  • Bring flowers, wine, or any other gifts or tokens. Bringing gifts to a dinner you’ve been invited to is expected, so make sure you have something prepared. If you choose to bring flowers, make sure that you bring an odd number, because Slavic cultures tend to be superstitious.
  • Wait for the host to signal when it’s time for dinner, and to let you know when you should leave the table. Wait for the host to invite you to sit at the dinner table. Also, it is considered very impolite to leave the dinner table before the host gives the go-signal, although the guest of honor (you) is usually given the chance to leave the dinner table first. So when your host suggests that you leave the table, accept the chance, and take the conversations where the host leads.
  • If you no longer want to be given second or third helpings, keep your plate half full. A good way to signal to your host that you aren’t interested in more helpings is to keep your plate half-full. This way, they won’t automatically refill your plate.

Ukrainians have a whole set of customs and etiquette practices that may seem strange to you, so in order to avoid social faux pas, here are some helpful articles:

While there is no “right” or “wrong” way to live and conduct oneself, Ukraine is still a very traditional country. Thus, it would help you make a great impression on your Ukrainian future in-laws if you respected, and even followed how they do things in their country.

So just be familiar with the local etiquette, enlist your Ukraine girl’s help in perfectly executing “kosher” behavior around Ukrainians, as well as reading her family’s nonverbal cues, and have fun! The most important thing is that you have fun. Enjoy meeting your future Ukrainian family!

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