A Dinner in Honor of Longtime Food52-er Kukla

December  1, 2015

Over the holiday weekend, we received some sad news in our editors' inbox: The grandson of one of our longtime community members, Kukla, wrote to tell us that she passed away at the end of October.

Photo by Kukla

"Food52 brought joy to my grandmother every day since she began there," her grandson wrote us. "From what I understand, her recipes were well received, and she even won a few site-wide contests."

That's an understatement: In the more than 4 1/2 years that Kukla was a member of the Food52 community, she won 4 contests, and her recipes were recognized as Community Picks 25 times. She uploaded a whopping 282 recipes to the site (psst: That's more than Amanda Hesser or Merrill Stubbs).

Kukla's Georgian Khachapuri Photo by James Ransom

Kukla's recipes were hugely well received with the rest of the Food52 community, too: Enthusiastic notes from other cooks fill the comment sections of her recipes—and Kukla would answer nearly all of them, wishing them the best, thanking them for cooking from her recipes, and often offering helpful tips. (Just look at the exchanges on her recipe for Lemon-Ricotta Bars.)

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She wrote often in her contest winner Q&As about finding culinary inspiration in the cooking of her mother and aunt, and reflectively, her recipes often celebrated her Eastern European heritage. She introduced us to the herb-stuffed Azerbaijani pancakes called Kutabi; the garlicky hand-formed sausages Mititei; and to Shalotta, a pickled lettuce condiment that quickly won us all over (and taught us that you can pickle lettuce!).

To celebrate Kukla, who, wrote her grandson, found great happiness in the Food52 community, here's a feast of some of her recipes. So that we may be continued to be inspired by her:

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • Madhuja
  • Judy
  • Panfusine
  • anotherfoodieblogger
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


LeBec F. February 29, 2016
Usually I accept someone's death in the course of expected daily events, but when I learned yesterday of ana's death, i was overcome with internal misery. She and I had emailed a number of times and I learned about her homeland, her past and her professional piano virtuosity. Her family meant everything to her and her grandkids' love of her traditional and new dishes- gave her great joy. ' Kukla' means "~little doll' as an endearment that one would call a female in their family. She was, as lovely a person as she was accomplished, and I wish every day that grace such as hers would grow in the world.
Madhuja December 8, 2015
I am so sad to hear this! Kukla was always so nice and supportive. She had the kindest comments. She is going to be missed by this entire community.
Judy December 7, 2015
Dear Food52,
Thank you for this lovely tribute to Kukla, who clearly valued the community you created for her. Your generous response to this loss by acknowledging her in this very authentic way says so much about all of you. It is commendable and exemplary.
Panfusine December 7, 2015
Sad sad news, it's like losing a friend. Kukla has been such an integral part of our food52 lives. Thank you for your generosity in sharing such wonderful dishes with all of us. Rest in peace
anotherfoodieblogger December 5, 2015
Oh no! I recognize her name completely, what a sad loss to the food community. Thank you for sharing her recipes, she will be missed.
Nozlee S. December 3, 2015
I'm so sad to hear this -- I was just home for Thanksgiving and my mother (Food52 user cookingProf!) and I were talking about one of Kukla's recipes.
amadievsky December 2, 2015
Thank you all for your kind wishes and support. This is the grandson who contacted the editors of Food52. I want to thank them so much for this beautiful and truly moving blog post. When my mother (Kukla's daughter) comes home, I will absolutely show this to her.
BoulderGalinTokyo December 9, 2015
Dear Grandson,
Thank you for your post. Kukla was one of the most inspiring cooks-she opened up new tastes and recipes to many of us, so very sad.
susan G. December 10, 2015
Your grandmother had a strong sense of family, food, and how closely woven the two are. I am another who will miss her, and appreciate her recipes all the more.
nannydeb December 2, 2015
So sad to hear and thank you for such a nice tribute to Kukla!
drbabs December 2, 2015
I am so sad to read this. Kukla exemplified everything that is great about the Food52 community. I feel like I lost a friend. Thank you for letting us know, and for this sweet tribute to her. I hope her family knows how much we loved and admired her.
luvcookbooks December 2, 2015
I just browsed kukla's recipes in memory of her. What a trove of history, good food and distinctive photographs. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.
mcs3000 December 2, 2015
Beautiful tribute. My fav recipe of hers is those lemon-ricotta bars. My best to her family.
Megan December 1, 2015
I was so sad to read this. She exemplified so much of what I have always loved about Food52. I will miss seeing her warm and encouraging comments on recipes! My condolences to her family. And thank you F52 for this lovely tribute.
Droplet December 1, 2015
She was indeed such a kind lady. R.I.P. Kukla.
healthierkitchen December 1, 2015
What a lovely tribute to Kukla and her contribution to food52 and us all. I hope her family will see these comments and know what an impact she had on her online food family here. What a wonderful woman she must have been.
boulangere December 1, 2015
What sad, sad. news. I will miss her wonderful stories behind her recipes. And what a lovely tribute to a kind, generous, and lovely person. Deep condolences to Kukla's family; the part of herself that she shared with us must pale in comparison to the privilege of being part of her family. How fortunate we have been to know even a small part of her.
creamtea December 1, 2015
Oh my, oh my, so sad to read this. Kukla will be missed. Condolences to the family.
ChefJune December 1, 2015
How terribly sad. I felt like she was a good friend.
Think we'll start dinner tonight with those Smoked Salmon Toasts. And a toast to Kukla.
Yazoolulu December 1, 2015
She will indeed be missed. My children fell in love with her Khachapuri - a recipe I doubt I ever would have known about were it not for Kukla and Food52. I am so glad her wonderful recipes are here. I will try a new Kukla recipe in her memory.
Donna December 1, 2015
This is very sad news; she will be missed.
monkeymom December 1, 2015
Thank you for honoring this amazing person and cook. We are so lucky that her recipes are kept here for us to enjoy.