Chicken Dill Soup: A Taste of Ukraine

I love recipes that have a memory attached to them. The kind of memories that are made, not only from the taste of the food, but from the experience you had the first time you enjoyed that food. 

This recipe was made for me last year by a dear friend of mine, Irene Lopushinsky. As I walked into her home in Fort Saskatchewan, I could smell the aroma of the chicken broth and dill in the air. Immediately my mind brought me back to the little apartment I stayed at in Ukraine and the Russian family I lived with 8 years ago while I was volunteering in Kiev. I couldn't believe how quickly my thoughts brought me back to a morning so long ago, in a small quaint kitchen, eating breakfast.

The memory that came back was of Natalie (the young mother of the family I lived with) preparing a big pot of chicken soup with carrots, potatoes and dill for me, before she left for work. This trip to Ukraine was my first trip away from home by myself and Natalie's family had taken me in as one of their own. Within a few moments, all the wonderful memories I had of living in Ukraine, the people I met, the experiences I had and things I saw came rushing back. All because my good friend had invited me over for a bowl of soup 8 years later! 

I'm sure you have experienced this same sort of thing before and wondered how it happened?

Memories linked to food or smell are incredibly powerful because of "the way your brain processes odours and memories. Smells get routed through your olfactory bulb, which is the smell-analysing region in your brain. It’s closely connected to your amygdala and hippo-campus; brain regions that handle memory and emotion." - Dr. Mercola

This can be both positive and negative depending on what type of food your memories are linked to. 

For example, if you ate something as a child that you liked, or that involved a positive experience, when you are older and smell or taste that same kind of food again, that positive memory you experienced would come rushing back, leaving you with more of a desire to eat that food. The opposite happens with negative experiences. If when you were younger you ate something you did not like (such as green beans) and were then forced to finish them, that negative experience would most likely come back to you next time you were given the choice to eat them, and you most likely would avoid the green beans. 

What I have found to be a key factor in developing a healthy relationship with food is to make a point to eat healthy nutritious foods, rather than sweets and treats, during positive experiences. Over time you will start to crave healthy foods because they are linked to positive experiences and feelings. 

Just like how every time I eat this nutrient dense, chicken broth, dill soup I am reminded of wonderful memories and experiences of my time in Ukraine. :) 

Chicken Broth Dill Soup

  • 3 Liters homemade chicken bone broth or organic chicken broth

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 large onion (diced)

  • 3 chicken breasts (cubed)

  • 1 sweet potato (diced)

  • 3 white potatoes (diced)

  • 5 stalks celery (diced)

  • 4 large carrots (diced)

  • 1 bunch of fresh dill (chopped)

  • salt & pepper to taste


1. In a large sauce pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent. 

2. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Add the bone broth, potatoes, celery and carrots.

3. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Add the chopped dill 5 minutes before serving and enjoy! 

What healthy recipes do you love that are linked to positive experiences? Comment below! 

X.O. - Viktoria Jones 


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