Opinion: In every Ukrainian kitchen, a secret weapon against Putin

Editor’s Note: Oleksandra Gaidai is Head of Academic Programs at the Ukrainian Institute. She is also a history lecturer at Ukraine’s National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Kristina Hook is a Ukraine-Russia specialist and Assistant Professor of Conflict Management at Kennesaw State University’s School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development. She is a former Fulbright scholar to Ukraine. The views expressed in this commentary are their own. Read more opinions on CNN.


After long days working in offices dotting Kyiv’s downtown, a small group of women head to their kitchens. Their evening job is just beginning.

Co-authors Oleksandra Gaidai and Kristina Hook.

Before the night is over, platters of meatballs, fish, traditional salads, cabbage rolls, homemade apple cakes and poppy seed pastries will overflow from the countertops.

As Christmas approaches, seasonal treats like “kutia,” a sweet wheat-based porridge, will appear – one of the 12 dishes traditionally found on every Ukrainian table.

But these nightly banquets are part of a special mission. They are being lovingly prepared for wounded soldiers in Kyiv’s military hospital.

As Russia’s continued bombardment of Ukrainian cities prevents relatives from visiting wounded loved ones, homemade meals from strangers are weaving new surrogate family ties.

This will be Ukraine’s first Christmas since Russia’s full-on invasion in February. And in those intervening months, Moscow has weaponized food against Ukrainians, reviving a dark historical tradition that goes back at least a century.

The targets, across Ukraine, have been many. Citizens have been shot while waiting in breadlines in Chernihiv. A water truck was struck

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California Michelin Guide 2022: What is a Michelin star?

From left, sous chef Gio Sarmiento, sous chef Eddie Torres, and chef de partie Tim Katz prepare for dinner service at The Kitchen on June 5, 2019. The restaurant is one of two Michelin Star-rated restaurants in Sacramento.

From left, sous chef Gio Sarmiento, sous chef Eddie Torres, and chef de partie Tim Katz prepare for dinner service at The Kitchen on June 5, 2019. The restaurant is one of two Michelin Star-rated restaurants in Sacramento.

The annual Michelin Guide was released for California’s 2022 selection on Monday night, highlighting the top restaurants in the state “offering outstanding cooking.”

This year, the travel guide recognizes 599 California restaurants. Of those, 89 were given the coveted award: a star. Only seven of these restaurants received three stars, 12 two stars and 70 one star. There were 18 new additions to the star list in 2022. An additional 141 were recognized as Bib Gourmands for their “good food at a moderate price.”

There is no limit on the number of stars that are awarded annually.

Michelin also recommends an additional 369 restaurants across the state.

Restaurants are criticized by a collective of anonymous Michelin inspectors who dine at a restaurant until they meet a consensus to award an establishment of a star or not, according to the Michelin website.

Inspectors consider the following criteria: product quality; mastery of flavors and cooking techniques; the personality of the chef represented in the dining experience; harmony of flavors; consistency between inspectors’ visits.

A restaurant’s reputation in the culinary world can change drastically after receiving a star — or three. Here is a break down of what each star means and additional symbols you might see on this year’s Michelin guide:


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Pepsi Taps Into ‘Dirty Soda’ TikTok Trend With Lindsay Lohan Drinking Pepsi Milk


Pepsi tapped into a TikTok trend with a new campaign featuring actor Lindsay Lohan promoting “pilk,” or “dirty milk” an uncommon combination of soda and milk that’s been baffling consumers on TikTok in recent months — though its roots go back decades.

Key Facts

Pepsi launched the Christmas-themed campaign on Thursday with the hashtag #PilkandCookies.

The ad features Lohan, who is working on a Hollywood comeback with her Netflix rom-com Falling for Christmas, in which the former child actor is making her first lead performance in nearly 10 years following legal trouble around multiple DUIs.

In a statement Thursday morning, Pepsi Chief Marketing Officer Todd Kaplan said the idea behind the ad campaign comes as a response to the “dirty soda” TikTok trend—a mix of milk and Pepsi repopularized last year by GenZ singer Olivia Rodrigo, who posted herself drinking the concoction.

The drink, however, is far from new—with Laverne on Laverne & Shirley drinking milk Coke as a comfort drink during the show’s run in the 1980s, and some restaurants and ice cream stands referring to the mix of Coke and vanilla ice cream as a “brown cow.”

Kaplan called the combination a longtime “secret hack among Pepsi fans,” saying the campaign is “a great way to unapologetically celebrate the holidays with a new and delicious way to enjoy Pepsi.”

Surprising Fact

In addition to

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