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Showing posts from August, 2011

Foods that Make me Glad I'm Czech

It would be unthinkable to be fascinated with the foodways of your own culture, but not like the food. I genuinely love a lot of Texas-Czech foods and there aren't many that I come across normally that I would turn down. There is something elemental about sausage and sauerkraut... the tang of the cabbage and the richness of the pork. It's truly one of my favorite things to eat, if done right. Add noodles to it and it's the perfect comfort food. And have you ever bought an apricot kolach from Weikel's early in the morning fresh out of the oven? Who would not want to eat one every day for breakfast?

And the list goes on to include chicken noodle soup at our extended family Christmas gathering... a rich broth with homemade noodles from Mrs. Bujnoch in Hallettsville served with chicken salad sandwiches on white bread. I have to take a styrofoam, Saran Wrap-covered plate full to eat in the car on the way back to Austin. I love cold salmon and potato salad on Christmas Eve, …

Picnic by the Lake

I love picnics. Once you get all the work out of the way, it's once of the most enjoyable ways to share a meal. We live near Lake Austin with the entrance to a neighborhood lakeside park 50 yards from our back door. It's a shady, friendly, breezy spot to spend an afternoon, watching the kids play in the lake and sitting at a picnic table having a cold beer. Because our house is so close, we can run up for supplies we forgot or carry down hot food we made on the stove. For one Sunday afternoon meal, we tested a couple of family recipes to accompany a link of sausage my Dad gave me... my great aunt Louise's green beans with a dill sauce and my grandmother Irene Orsak's cole slaw. 

My experience with green beans in Texas-Czech cuisine has been limited to them being pickled or the ubiquitous side dish - canned green beans dressed up with a little chopped onion and bacon. This dish is found at church picnics (like the one in Moravia), weddings and funerals. A look through 10…

Taking It On the Road

Just got photographs from my friend Lori Najvar taken during the Texas-Czech culinary tour that my Dad and I lead on June 1st for the annual conference of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, which happened in Austin this year. It makes me feel exhausted and satisfied thinking about the day. An enthusiastic, curious, and patient group of attendees proved that Texas-Czech culture has sex appeal, sort of. I'm still amazed 23 people had enough interest to not just go on the tour, but PAY to go on the tour. And I wonder how many more people there are like that out in the world. Almost all of the attendees were from out of state, but we had a Texas Czech, a Texas German, and a relocated Nebraska Czech, too. 

My goal for the tour was to relay as much as I could about Texas-Czech foodways on the bus ride punctuated with edible examples at the best places I could find on the easiest/quickest route through Fayette and Lavaca Counties. I wanted people to know that Czech f…