The Story of The Barracudas: My Mom is from a large Ukrainian family of 8 kids, and all the women have such strong personalities that they have been jokingly nicknamed "the Barracudas" for some time. They are masters of their households, amazing cooks, and organized down to the littlest detail. They won't take shit from anyone and have high expectations for everyone they encounter, especially their own husbands and family members. There's one right way to do everything, and they know it, and aren't afraid to tell you (or each other) when you stray!
My Aunt Nancy was the oldest sister and so definitely took the lead in setting and teaching the standard to which all barracudas must adhere. She was a fantastic cook, making everything from scratch and also doing tons of preserving for herself and her family. She ran a successful greenhouse for a number of years, and also grew a large market garden of vegetables, which inspired my Mom to get into that business, and now I am too: So, I can actually credit my career choice to Aunty Nancy-- But, I also know Aunty Nancy would have scoffed at calling market gardening a "career", and would have encouraged me to do something less laborious where I could have an easier life. I'm proud to be following in her footsteps a bit, as she was always a role model for me. I even worked in her greenhouse a few times and learned how to do everything right from the master! They call me baby barracuda.
It's been a year now since Aunty Nancy passed away, and we still miss her and think of her often. Her indomitable spirit lives on and we will forever benefit from the things she has taught us, the high standards she held for us, and the ways in which she encouraged us to do better.
(Nancy on the far left)