The list of ingredients in my grandmother’s Kozunak, the sweet bread she baked on Holy Saturday before Orthodox Easter, was as follows:
First, civil disobedience. (I will explain this one later.)
Second, raisins that had arrived in a package from my uncle, an enemy of the Bulgarian communist state, who lived in West Germany.
Third, my grandmother’s legendary skill in the kitchen. The kneading, done in a particular way to produce the light, thread-like texture of the buttery dough, took hours on end. My grandmother braced herself weeks in advance for this exacting baking task, like a wrestler in anticipation of a rigorous match that would consume all her stamina and will. My mother would not even dare attempt to make Kozunak.
Finally, white flour, eggs, butter, yeast and milk. These ingredients tested my grandmother’s ability to secure foodstuffs during the hungry years of Communism.