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Showing posts from March, 2012

Tradition vs. Innovation

Recently, a Texas-Czech friend emailed to me the photograph below. The subject of the email was just "Nooooooo." It's a picture of one of the cases at a Central Texas bakery displaying cream cheese kolaches, each with a Hershey's mini chocolate bar literally stuck in the middle to sort of soften and ooze while baking.  My friend's comment together with the photo illustrate two types of kolach eaters... traditionalists and those who are willing to try kolach dough wrapped around any food that, on its own, could be deemed yummy. I generally fall into the first camp.

Not because I don't think a kolach filled with "delicious marinated chicken, cheddar cheese, tomatoes and fresh spices"  might not taste good. (That is Kolache Factory's "Kolache of the Month" in March... Ranchero Chicken.) Rather, I think that the institution of Texas-Czech kolaches has enough to battle (time consuming to make, associated with special occasion foods, knowled…

Turnip Pickles and the Winter Pantry

In case you're wondering, pickling turnips is not a Czech thing (as far as I know.) But my Dad did it last Sunday morning and it offered a chance to talk to my parents about their winter canning pantry and what they remember from their childhood.

The reason for pickling the turnips was necessity which is the reason for canning in general. My mother's brother A.J. (Alois Joseph) and his wife Alice have a marvelous garden outside of Hallettsville. On their way to Houston last Friday, they left a cooler full of vegetables on my parents' doorstep in Katy. Their little garden spot is a mass producer and, rather than feed the excess to the cattle which my Uncle A.J. had been resorting to, they shared with my parents.

In the cooler were broccoli, turnips, beets, and carrots. Right away my parents pickled the beets and ate steamed broccoli for dinner. There were too many turnips to just eat creamed (the most likely dish since both my parents remember eating it that way as kids), s…