After 3 failed attempts at teaching a class called Recipes for Family History through UT Informal Classes (hardly anyone signed up) and one of those conversations where the universe works through someone unexpected to kick your butt out of feeling-sorry-for-yourself lethargy, I’m going to put my class syllabus to the test with my own family background and blog about it. (Thanks Addie! See Addie's post about our discussion.)
With laptop, camera, notepad, years of stuff collected about my family and Czech food in Texas, and probably an active toddler with a strangle hold on my pants leg and a super-smart tween keeping me straight, I’m going to basically do what I’ve told myself for years I want to do. And that's to interview relatives and other Texas-Czech community members about food memories, test recipes in Texas-Czech cookbooks, “apprentice” with my parents to learn how to do everything from can beets to barbecue a brisket, attend kolache festivals, and record anything and everything I can find about Czech-influenced food in Texas.
I have multiple (multifold) reasons for wanting to do this…
- Food is one of the easiest and most natural (though loaded) ways to connect with your family, your background, who you ARE. Everyone could use more grounding, in my opinion.
- Maybe I can inspire other people to start their own journey. Embrace your own family's food traditions and get closer to the people you love at the same time!
- It's a way to honor my parents and grandparents and every kind, gray-haired lady at a family reunion who ever shared a recipe with me. Everyone should do more "honoring" of their elders, also in my opinion.
- Decent information available about Czech food in Texas is almost nonexistent with the exception of the odd traditional recipe slipped into community cookbooks amongst the jello and marshmallows.
- Once Virginia Wood called me "Texas Czech foodways expert" in the Austin Chronicle - I want to live up to that.
- Whatever I dig up is a legacy for my two sons (age 11 and 1.)
- I love to eat.
- Most food blogs bore me.
So let the interviewing, recipe-testing, cookbook reading, and self-exploration begin!