The first thing I learned is that there is no "the" before our country.
I thank Cristyn Elder for this helpful piece of advice, that I have since read in many locations. It is poignant coming from a fellow English teacher. =)
It's interesting to me that my mouth keeps wanting to call it "the Ukraine," even though I'm trying not to do so. It's not like I've ever talked much about this country in my daily life, yet something in me thinks it needs a "the." I found a good explanation here: http://www.infoukes.com/faq/the_ukraine/.
We've checked out some library books now. I'm a little panicked that one of the main dishes involves a beet-vegetable soup. And lots of cabbage. But at least there will be a lot of bread, cheese and meat. So I think I'll be ok.