Ashley Burroughs

Stories from Ashley Burroughs

The best memories from my childhood often include the warm summer afternoons that I spent baking with my grandmother. All the way from Ukraine, she brought recipes passed down to her from her grandmother. I’ve never been to the city where she and my mom grew up, but being able to assemble creations that are native to her memories of Donetsk brings me closer to my culture.

The aroma that fills the air while baking a simple coffee cake allows me to imagine what it might have been like for my mother growing up when my grandma used to concoct the same cake in their quaint apartment on the fourth floor of an old red brick building, two blocks away from the school that my mother attended. The whiskey, chocolate and walnut cake that my Grandma Baba bakes for my mother’s birthday is a tradition in my family; a tradition I have happily taken over in recent years. The combination of chewy and creamy nutty textures melting on the surface of my tongue is the nearest connection that I have to the memories kept by my mom of celebrating in the vegetable garden that blossomed behind the aged apartment building, a building which she and my grandparents used to call home.